Be vigilant again!
In a previous article we touched on three of the many scams that you may encounter on your travels, from taking a ride in a cab to using your gadgets on public wifi. Below, there are three further scams to watch out for and how to avoid them:
- A closed attraction
This travel scam is common among major tourist locations. A random “friendly” local (who probably also speaks very good English) approaches you, informing you that the attraction you were looking to visit is actually closed, for any possible reasons (e.g. religious, national holiday). They will then happily guide or bring you to a different shop or attraction where you will be pressured into buying something or pay over the top for entry.
Visit the ticket office or shop front and find out for yourself if it is closed! Alternatively, you could ask a local who is willing to help.
- The group photo offer
At a busy tourist attraction or landmark, a local will offer you to take a big group photo with your friends. As soon as you start getting ready for the shot, you look up to discover that your new photographer friend has completely vanished, along with the expensive smart phone or camera.
This is a tricky one to judge, you really need to analyse the situation well. Busy attractions in cities are typically the most risky of places for this scam. If you really need to, ask a fellow tourist to take the photo and exchange the favour.
- Motorbike/scooter rental damage
You rent out a scooter or motorbike. It seems to get damaged overnight, or worse again it gets stolen!
The owner demands additional payment or tells you that repairing it will be expensive and wants compensation. But what you didn’t realise is that it the owner or his associates was the bike thief.
Get out your phone and take some photos of the motorbike first to document any previously visible damage. Buy your own lock to use, don’t use one provided by that rental person (who may really have the spare keys for it!). If possible, don’t tell the rental company where you’re staying and please also inspect that there is a secure place for parking the motorbike overnight.
More to come
As with my previous three scams and how to avoid them, it really is down to being vigilant and aware of the pitfalls of being goods and services in foreign places. Having your wits about you is key, so try to be of sound mind when you do go to buy something or ask for advice on something. Being under the influence gives scam artists the upper hand to take advantage of you, especially if it is night time and where running off could be a very easy option for them. If you haven’t already done so, check out my other article on 3 Travel Scams (And How To Avoid Them)