With an increase in the number of tourists worldwide, travel scams are just getting more creative so even experienced travelers could be ripped off and scammed. If you are traveling to an unknown place for the first time here a couple of things to bear in mind.

Touts, touts and more touts

In some countries once you get off a plane, train or a bus you get surrounded by people who want to help you find a taxi or a hotel. In most cases these people have connections with the transport department and if you tell them that you already have a booking or that you know where your hotel is, the rebuttal would be that the accommodation is booked to capacity. You would be surprised but many tourists fall for this. Touts then offer to take you to a different hotel or even their own place where they overcharge you for your stay and food. The same thing can happen with the sightseeing. Touts would say that a certain tourist attraction is closed and then they’d offer to give you a cheap sightseeing tour when in fact you’ll get involved in their “get rich quick” scheme.

Food and drink

While traveling, we often encounter a loving co-passenger, willing to share their food and a cola maybe. At first glance, the innocent act of hospitality may seem so nice, but let’s not generalize the same for each gesture and by others around. Take caution and be careful when you accept drink from a stranger as it could be spiked and your precious belongings gone!

Fellow tourists

Quite often and especially at places of tourist interest- the beach, a famous park, a well-known monument or landmark, you would find people clicking away and capturing images using their DSLRs or their phones. Should someone ask you to click a picture of them, the first instinct would be to oblige. However, when you notice the camera isn’t working well chances are that the device is faulty or broken. While handing the device back to the owner, ensure it is done safe and in the presence of many around. A scammer is known to  drop the camera and ask you to pay for repairs or steal your belongings while you bend to pick up the broken object.

Hiring vehicles

Before doing so, never ever hand over your passport as collateral to the hiring of a vehicle. Most agencies run a scam, where they keep your passport and falsely blame you for damaging their vehicle. Unless you cough up a large sum, they wouldn’t hand over your passport to you, which means you are stuck! Check with reputable travel agencies that can help you with a hired vehicle, and also inspect the vehicle by taking videos and pictures of the bike or car, before you hire for personal use.

Don’t touch!

If someone walks up to you in Spain and tells you there is a fake pigeon poo somewhere on your shirt collar or the sleeves ignore them! In most cases, they would have tissues embellished with sleeping drugs and a water bottle with them. While they would want to help you clean the dribble and poo off your clothing, the same hand that cleans would steal and drug you off to sleep- you’d be left with none of your belongings when you wake up!

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