Smart travel tactics to avoid scammers

Even the most intrepid traveller has been had by a scammer. Maybe the local taxi driver took you along the “scenic route,” only to charge you double the fare, or a scalper sold you “express entry” wristbands for a free museum. 

The reward of exploring a new locale comes with the risk that you could be an easy mark for locals, so here are some common travel scams you might run into (and how to avoid them.)

  • Coffee (or tea) and conversation. If you’re overheard speaking English, you might be invited in somewhere for a drink and a discussion with the invitee asking you to help them practice English, only to be slapped with a hefty bill before you leave.
  • Kind strangers. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that applies to trinkets and random sprigs of herbs you might be enticed to take by sweet older ladies on the street, but DO NOT DO IT. Those aren’t gifts, they are products, and you’ll be expected to pay whatever price they tell you.
  • The Artful Dodger. Pickpocketing is still a thriving profession, but it’s evolved with the times—the best way to keep your cash safe is with a money belt (yes, they are nerdy, but they work!) and RFID sleeves for credit cards. Or get an RFID protection money belt

If you’ve got an upcoming trip, you can use this website to research the most popular tourist scams in your destination to stay one step ahead of the international con artists.