We travel to relax, to have fun, to experience adventure, to see the world, to spend time with family and friends and to get away from the daily grind of a life of routine. No one wants to get scammed and ended up being frustrated while traveling.
Scams are all too common these days and I even got victimized.
A few weeks back, while I was in Paris, my friend and I went to Gare Du Nord (one of the largest terminus stations in France) to buy a train ticket going to Brussels, Belgium. On the main building were the train ticket office is located, I’ve met two young ladies. One of the lady ask me if I can speak English and I said yes, she then started talking that they are conducting a survey for all the travelers around the world and that I need to sign the form which I don’t understand and I find it weird somehow because nothing is written on the paper except your name and signature but since I was being nice to them, I cooperated fully and signed it up.
After I signed the paper, she began asking for money. At the back of my mind, they are doing a charity works and for that I gave her 5euros but to my surprised, she told me that it has to be 10euros. I said “Why? When you ask someone for donation, you don’t need to actually demand for a certain amount?” but she insisted and told me that there is a minimum amount to donate when you sign-up the form. I replied and said “What? Sorry but that’s the only money I have on my pocket.” and luckily my friend called and asked me to get rid of them as soon as possible so I continued walking and didn’t mind them even if they keep on talking.
Another incident happened with my friend during his vacation also in Paris way back September 2016. Some dude approached him and put a bracelet on his wrist with almost no warning, tying and braiding it as he spoke. Then once it was secure in his wrist, he then asked for money. My friend was like, “Uh, you put this here. I didn’t ask for it.” and he walked away.
These were just two of the scams you might experience while traveling and there are a lot more that is why you need to be aware about what is going on and how to avoid it. It’s hard to prevent a scam that you don’t know about, and you won’t always have time to weigh the facts.
To help you out, here are 6 simple ways to help you avoid getting scammed.
- Before traveling, I encouraged you to do a research about the country you intend to visit. Travelers swap stories on such websites like Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor and etc. Use the search function and type in “scams” for messages that deal specifically with travel scams. Click on their “Travel Information by Country” link and select the country you will be traveling to. The site summarizes crimes and travel scams common in that country as part of the information listed. Informing yourself on some of the finer details about travel scam will pay off.
- Do not bring all your money and do not carry your passport when you go out. Just take a photocopy of your passport or just simply take a photo of it and save it on your phone. Most hotels have safes where you can store your passport in, together with any money you aren’t planning on using that day. In most parts of the world, hotel owners/managers do not want their guests to lose their valuables, so this is usually pretty safe.
- If someone asks you “Do you speak English?” majority of travelers will answer “no” but it indicates that you understood the question. Instead, think smart and respond with a blank look and a shrug of the shoulders.
- Travel scams work by diverting your attention away from your valuables and onto something else. Treat any unusual diversion, a crowd of beggars jostling you, an old woman or child falling down in front of you as a pickpocket attempt. Always check your wallet and other valuables before, during and any time you offer help.
- It doesn’t matter what the drill is, just ignore any strangers who approaches you. If it appears to be another tourist then you usually can tell but even then, if they ask for money as opposed to directions or for you to take their photo then don’t mind them and walk away.
- Most importantly, trust your instincts. If you suspect or feel that something is wrong with your surroundings, get out of it as soon as possible.
Travel can be wonderful, but we have to be on our guard. Awareness of what can happen and have a better chance of realizing that something is a scam before you are taken in by it is a big factor for you not to be able to be a victim especially the variations on travel scams are numerous and ever changing knowing that many scammers is very cunning.
Having wits about you when traveling overseas is important but it’s also important to strike a balance between caution and paranoia. Most people aren’t out there to get you so do not be overly suspicious of everyone you meet.Google+