5 Common Travel Scams Around the Globe and Tips to Avoid Them

 5 Common Travel Scams Around the Globe and Tips to Avoid Them

Father and son traveling by plane

It’s tempting to believe that as travelers, we’re wise enough to be duped by travel scams. But, the fact is, they can happen. While it is practically impossible to predict when you would be scammed, it is crucial to be aware of the types of travel scams that exist and how to ensure your safety while traveling.

1- Corrupt Cabbies

One of the popular travel scams is that the cabbie argues that the meter is faulty and charges a high fare. Another trick tried by the cab driver is that they inform you that the destination you have booked is closed or overbooked, so the cabbie takes you to their friend’s lodging to charge you an inflated fare and receives a commission. Sometimes the driver takes a circuitous path, inflating the fare.

How to Avoid

Never call for a taxi from the street. Request a cab from a trustworthy establishment, or hire a licensed cab through a recognized outpost. Know how much the ride will cost in general and make sure the meter is working. If the driver tries to take you somewhere else, simply repeat your destination or end the service. Keep the driver sincere and on track by using Google Maps. Use ride-hailing services like Uber to avoid cabbies completely.

2- Fake Accidents

A passerby sprays you with a beverage, sauce, or a phony bird dropping, and as you investigate the blotch, abettor pickpockets you. Another misdirection approach is that the squirter tries to mop up the mess. An old person collapsing, a woman throwing a baby or kitten at you, or someone losing a wallet and blaming you for stealing the money after you pick that up are all examples of tourist-distracting ploys. Similarly, someone on a motorbike or in a car deliberately knocking into your automobile and attempting to settle the matter by demanding money is also one of the popular travel frauds.

How to Avoid

Before leaving for the day, make sure you safeguard all of your belongings. Wallets, for example, should be kept in slash-resistant bags with locks or secret pouches – any approach that will keep sticky fingers at bay. Suppress your good Samaritan instincts and don’t pick up any valuable items from the ground, even people. Wait for the authorities to arrive in the case of a car collision, presuming you can believe law enforcement. If you’re in a country where the police are corrupt, seek assistance from the US Embassy to avoid such travel scams.

3- Free Gifts

A man dressed as a Buddhist monk binds your wrist with a bracelet. You are given a bunch of rosemary by an unknown person. A woman you henna or flowers. You get a packet of tissue paper from a “disabled” person. Do you think a simple thank you will be enough in such cases? Nope. The so-called presents are not free but demand money, and if you wouldn’t give them money after taking the thing, they’ll make a fuss. A person seeing a gold ring on the street and asking if it belongs to you is another scam. You decline, but the person nonetheless offers it to you and eventually begs for money.

How to Avoid

Never receive gifts from strangers. Don’t even glance at the item, or you can end up with something like a friendship bracelet around your wrist. Just return the thing and leave the room to prevent yourself from such travel scams.

4- Fraudulent Travel

Document frauds are also common in which the traveler uses another individual’s original documents and pretend like they are their own. They do this to travel to other countries and carry out nefarious activities.

How to Avoid

Document verification is necessary to eradicate frauds that could occur through counterfeit, forged or other types of fraudulent documents. 

5- Counterfeit Currency

You get fake money or outdated notes from the currency exchange. A retailer or a taxi driver switches your real money with the counterfeited and claim that you have paid fake money. Alternatively, you may be given (not-so-) amusing money as change.

How to Avoid

Know the currencies and only exchange cash from reputable outlets like banks. In case the staff swiped just a few bills, always double-check the money on the receipt. Pay in little amounts and as you pay, count out all the money and also count the change. Use ATMs or prepaid currency cards to prevent exchanging money entirely. Verify the machine for skimmers and seek the assistance of a friend to serve as a watchman during the withdrawal to avoid such travel scams.

6- Damaged Goods

You’ve rented a motorcycle, car, or a scooter, and you’ve been accused of causing damage to it and the rental company requires payment for its repair.  While you were just out of sight, an employee could have followed you and smashed the rental.

How to Avoid

To avoid these kinds of travel scams, rent a car from a trustworthy rental company. Before you exit the premises, capture photos of the automobile and keep a close eye on the rental all the time. If the conflict gets out of hand, call the embassy.

To wrap up, confused, drunken, and excessively worried first-timers are easier prey for travel scams. So, be confident and be sober, and let not the fraudsters spoil your trip. 

Lisa James


Lisa is a 24-year old, passionate writer, and a keen observer. She loves fashion and is always looking for new trends and styles. Not just that, but she’s also the boss lady who is always hustling and trying to get everything done perfectly!

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