People travel for different reasons, chief among them – meeting new people and experiencing new cultures in different countries. Travelling on vacations or business trips can leave you with some of the most rewarding experiences and even lead to the establishment of life-long friendships with the people you meet on your trips. However, in every country you go to, there are also people who just look for how to prey on innocent travelers with vicious scams.
Some of these scammers and thieves target travelers for money and others just for the fun of it – would you believe that. But the fact is you are bound to experience some of these scammers on your travel trips. The best way for you to avoid them is by knowing how some of them work. So after asking around carefully, I put together the top 4 common ways travelers get robbed. Check them out
- What time is it?
This is the number one way thieves and scammers use to get to people. Just because of how innocent the question seems, most travelers would be inclined to stop and reply. However, the thieves could then use the opportunity to engage you in a friendly conversation or claim to know where you might be going or something. And before you know it, you’d be robbed blind of your belongings. Although not everyone that asks you this question is a thief but just be aware of yourself and don’t allow yourself get coerced against your better judgment.
- Friendship Sign
It is not uncommon to have someone walk up to you and try to get you to wear a ‘friendship bracelet’ or something, especially in top tourist destinations. This may seem heartwarming but I assure you, it’s one of the most common ways scammers use to rob unsuspecting travelers. There have also been reports of this kind of friendly gestures turning ugly – the apparently welcoming scammer starts demanding for payment after putting whatever they’re peddling on you. The best was to avoid this is to prevent anybody from touching you without consent. A polite and firm “No, thank you” should do it.
- The Souvenir Exchange
Another very common scam played on tourists is the souvenir switch/exchange. This happens when you buy a particular souvenir then the shop/stall keeper takes your money and the purchased item to package it properly for you. Then you get home and find that your preferred souvenir has been exchanged for a cheaper or broken one. It can be quite annoying but it happens, frequently too. So watch out for it.
- The Picture Takers
Another classic one here. A really nice looking person asks if you’d like him to take your picture in front of a beautiful attraction. You say yes and hand him your phone and boom! He runs off with it. Alternatively, the person might give you his camera to take a picture of him. When you hand the camera back, he starts trouble claiming you broke the camera and demanding payment. The only way to avoid this is to use your instincts and if the latter scenario is the case, insist on involving the authorities or just gently drop the camera and walk away.
These are just a few ways people try to scam/rob travelers, there are many more out there. The best way to avoid them is by staying alert, using your common sense and trusting your instincts. Don’t be sloppy and make it easy for them, they can absolutely ruin your trip.
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