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1) ”Free” Item Scam

Frequently used to trick female travelers, this scam uses a deceptively friendly person to chat you up and then attach a “free” trinket onto your person such as a bracelet or floral item.

How To Avoid It

Don’t stand idle and let someone put things onto your person. When in especially tourist-targeted areas, keep walking and don’t talk to street peddlers.

2) Closed or Overbooked Hotel

Typically a scam done by cab drivers, it takes place while on the way to where you want to stay. The driver takes you to a different location where the rate is much higher so he can get a commission.

How To Avoid It

Contact where you will stay in advance to make sure that you still have a booking or if they have any vacancies. If your cab driver persists, insist that they take you to the hotel anyway.

3) Broken Taxi Meters

This scam, commonly run again by cab drivers, will say that their meter is broken and charge you a heavy fee. Usually, this takes place at an airport or train station.

How To Avoid It

Negotiate your fee ahead of time, or otherwise use a cab service that is run by the state where the rates are listed on the outside door of the vehicle. Make sure they actually turn on their meter before driving off.

4) Fake Cops

Fake police officers are more common in larger areas; a scammer will approach a tourist and start talking about or offering illegal items. While talking, two other scammers will suddenly appear and portray themselves as cops who insist that you give them your passport and your wallet, usually flashing fake badges.

How To Avoid It

Never hand anything over; insist that they come with you to your hotel because your passport is in the safe. If they refuse, then use that as your excuse to walk away. Say that you will call the police to validate who they really are.

5) Group Photo

A person offers to take your picture, sometimes with locals. Once you are in position, the locals might distract you in some way, and the scammer is off with your expensive, techy camera.

How To Avoid It

Only give your camera to those who you directly ask, never anyone who solicits you and makes the offer. You’re better off asking fellow travelers and tourists rather than locals in high-traffic tourist spots.