World’s Worst Travel Scams

Believe it or not, the planet is a fairly peaceful place. Most people – no matter their culture, income, or strange language – are friendly and will only do their utterly most to help you. But then there are those few who are trying to take advantage of vulnerable travellers. Everyone can fall victim to their tricks but being aware of the most well-known travel scams will steer you clear of the worst. Here is a list of travel scams and if you know others please share with us.

What can you do to protect yourself? For one thing, beware of strangers who approach you on the street, even at the expense of seeming rude. Keep your wits—and your valuables—about you. Use your radar; if a situation feels wrong, it probably is. Some of the tricks people will try to use on you are as old as dirt; others are as new as the latest iPhone app. But when it comes to defensive tourism, there’s one trick every traveler should have in his own toolkit: always use common sense.

The Newspaper Attack

Where: Rome

The Scam: A group of gypsy children surrounds you, waving newspapers in your face. The papers are merely to confuse you and block your view as the youths reach into your pocket and grab your bag—or anything else they can get their hands on.

Advice: Firmly brush past them and move away quickly—and shout for help if you need it.

The Hot Dog Trick

Where: Airports

The Scam: The perp “accidentally” squirts mustard on you while eating a hot dog (it’s really a tube of mustard in a bun). Full of apologies, he clumsily tries to help clean up the mess while an accomplice walks off with your carry-ons.

Advice: Always place your bags between your legs in a public setting, whether
you’re sitting or standing.

The Brass Ring

444Where: Paris

The Scam: A passerby finds a gold ring on the sidewalk near you and agrees to sell it to you for a ridiculously low sum. You soon discover that the buy of a lifetime is made of brass.

Advice: There are no lost gold rings on the streets of Paris or anywhere else. Just say non.

The Bracelet Scheme

5555Where: Rome and Paris

The Scam: Someone, usually quite charming, comes up to you offering directions or sightseeing advice. Suddenly, the person ties a woven bracelet around your wrist in a double knot, then demands payment. If you refuse, he screams that you’re stealing the bracelet. Victims are often so unnerved that they end up paying the handful of euros.

Advice: Beware of overly friendly people who approach you on the street offering courtesies you neither want nor need.

The Rip-off Joint

Where: Cities

The Scam: Two male travelers in an unfamiliar city meet two pretty young women who invite them to a private room in a bar. When the bill comes, it is hugely inflated. The bartender demands cash (no credit cards, of course), and the doormen tell the travelers to pay up and leave.

Advice: Beware complete strangers who offer to take you to a bar or

The Bus 64 Sting

Notorious pickpocket haven the 64 bus from Termini Station in Rome to the VaticanWhere: Rome

The Scam: Bus 64 passes many of Rome’s most famous historic sights, so it’s hugely popular with tourists—and pickpockets. Working in teams of three or four, the thieves go after wallets, cameras, and other small valuables, usually by causing a disturbance that takes your attention off your belongings.

Advice: Always secure your property and keep it close, especially when
traveling on crowded buses and trains.

The Taxi Driver Trick

333Where: Istanbul

The Scam: You’re paying a fare with a 50-lira note. The driver drops it on the floor and switches it to a 5-lira bill, which looks very similar. He then argues with you that you’ve shortchanged him.

Advice: If this happens to you, call the police by dialing  155 from a Turkish phone. The police know this old trick, and the driver stands to lose his license.

More tips:

  • Travel light and leave the nonessentials at home.
  • Blend in. Don’t dress like an affluent tourist.
  • Trust your instincts. If something smells fishy, it probably is.
  • Ask your hotel desk clerk or concierge if there are any neighborhoods to avoid.
  • Be cautious, not cynical. Most people aren’t out to rip you off.

Call our free concierge service on 1800 908 254 and one of our travel experts will be happy to assist you with your booking.



P: 1800 908 254


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s