Beware of Tourists Scams Before Making Your Travel Plans

Planning a vacation to an exotic country can be exciting. You can forget all your worries and travel carefree. But often, this carefree attitude becomes dangerous for us.

During travel, the chances of falling for scams are high because the tourists tend to relax and explore their surroundings. Additionally, some adventurers might not be aware of how foreigners can fall into the traps of locals. Most of the time, you will meet friendly people ready to greet and help you.

However, there is a chance of stumbling upon vicious people trying to take advantage of tourists. For instance, some scams might be somewhat region-specific, like when scammers from Spain tried to trick visitors into paying 60 euros for filling out the passenger locator form. Sadly, similar incidents can happen anywhere.

So, we should prepare ourselves to tackle such situations. And to help you out, we have listed some of the most popular scams that can occur.

 Tourists Scams

The taxi fraud

Foreigners are seen as the target by the taxi drivers from whom they can demand high fares. Taxi drivers often ally and the tourists pay the higher price due to a lack of options or knowledge.

You can travel using well-known cab services like Uber or travel by taxi with a working meter to avoid such incidences.

Fake police

Sometimes criminals dress up as cops to extort money out of innocent travelers. They may show you fake unpaid bills in your name or charge a ticket for breaking namesake rules. They will then offer you an out by demanding a bribe lower than the cost of the tickets. And to avoid any issues with the law keepers, you may pay them money.

In such situations, ask for proper identification of the police personnel and try to solve the issue in the nearby police station.

The friendly local

A local may present as an over-enthusiastic person willing to show you around the city. This person may take you to an expensive restaurant and disappear at the time of payment. Moreover, they might slip something into your drink, resulting in something very dangerous.

Although many good people genuinely want to give you a great experience, it is best to be cautious. Keep an eye on the costs of things you are ordering, and never leave your drink unattended.

The spilling the drink trick

You may be walking down the street admiring a monument when suddenly a person splashes into you with a drink in his hand. This person will look mortified and try to clean the drink off your clothes. You will think it is a silly mistake and feel sympathy for the person. In the meantime, he will steal your wallet or watch while patting down your clothes.

Do not let the person enter your personal space if this happens to you. Go to the nearest public restroom and clean it yourself.

Is this your ring?

This trick could begin with a person approaching you with a ring asking you if you dropped it. When you say no, they will examine the ring and try to convince you that it is a valuable item. In exchange for the ring, they will ask you for money. You may consider this a win-win deal for both and pay the price. Butlesser you know that the ring is fake in almost all situations.

So, never buy a piece of jewelry from such a person. If anything is valuable, check its authenticity from an honest jeweler and get a quality certification.

Juice jacking

As a traveler, you rely on your phone for almost everything, from making secure online payments to clicking pictures. It results in frequent draining of your phone battery. If you do not have any battery back up, using a public charging port seems a great option. However, thieves often tamper with the charging point or the cable, which can transfer your entire data into their system.

It is best to carry your USB cable and charge using an AC plug-in rather than these public ports. Carrying a power bank can also be a good solution. For instance, you can charge your power bank at the hotel and take it with you. Many power banks are highly portable and can fit into a small bag.

Careful while using a public Wi-Fi

Free public Wi-Fi can be tempting while sitting in a cafe and uploading your travel pictures. But this Wi-Fi may pose a threat to your personal information. It can help criminals access your credit card information or install malware on your phone. After all, many free Wi-Fi networks lack even the basic security mechanisms. The results of losing your data while traveling can be highly devastating.

To avoid such security breaches, you can use a Virtual Private Network. A VPN can hide your IP address and keep your data encrypted. Thus, it will prevent criminals from intercepting and capturing your data on unsafe networks. Even if they do, it will be encrypted and useless to them.

Furthermore, changing your IP address can allow you to access services unavailable in the country you are visiting. Thus, connect to a VPN for PC and check what is your IP. It should reflect a different location than you are.

Rental vehicle scam

Your passport may be the first thing a shopkeeper may ask to keep as collateral when renting any vehicle. At the end of your rental period, the shopkeeper will point out several damages and ask for compensation. In fear of losing their passport in a foreign country, tourists often pay for the damages.

Note all the damages already present on the vehicle before renting it to avoid such a situation. Take pictures of the car for evidence if renters suggest that you have done some harm to it.

ATM skimmers

Many tourist-busy streets have ATMs in which an ATM skimmer is installed. This device either has a camera that can record your PIN or has a PIN pad overlay. While you perform the transaction process, the scammers note down your card details. Further, these details can be used to make transactions that won’t be in your knowledge.

It is best to examine an ATM thoroughly before inserting your card. These devices are usually distinguishable from the rest of the machine. Always cover the PIN pad with your free hand to avoid camera recording if you are unsure.


The scams mentioned above can happen to the best of us. Do not be afraid to contact the local police in case of theft or wrongful allegations by a scammer. In case of fraudulent transactions, immediately block your card. Keep an eye out for such scammers, and always click pictures as evidence. A little bit of alertness can help you enjoy your trip without problems.


South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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