If you are a frequent traveler like I am, travel scams are not a novel idea to you. In my younger years, I was more prone to getting robbed, but with experience, I have learned to differentiate shady from genuinely helpful. For all you newbie travel bugs, I’m listing down the four most common travel scams that you could be aimed at your next trip.
1)The “Friendship Bracelet.” In many crowded cities around the world, this is a very common practice among thugs. They look like genuinely sweet people who only wish to spread happiness in the world and will offer to tie you a friendship bracelet of some sort. However, the bracelet or any such accessory may be intoxicated, and you could end up in some serious trouble.
I have never directly experienced this, but I have witnessed many such incidents. Stay aware of such “happiness spreaders.”
2)Fake Police Officers: In some cases, big gangs come together to entrap innocent tourists. One or two people might approach you as drug lords and try to sell you substances. Not very far along will be a couple of gang members who will act as policemen. They will put you in a position to scare you and extort money from you.
Either that or they’ll threaten to take your passport in which case you must stay calm and ask for identity verification and tell them that your passport is in a safety locker in your hotel. If they wish to see it, they must accompany you there.
3)Injured or Disabled Child Beggars: Many times injured beggars, child beggars or adults accompanied by infants try to lure you into giving them some money. More often than not, the sob story is fake. Sometimes, the infant is even intoxicated or kidnapped or disabled on purpose.
In many cases, you will be approached by a weeping child who will ask you to drop them to a certain address. The place he will lead you to will be troublesome. Do not follow the child; instead, take him/her to the nearest police station.
4)The Spiller: Many times, some person will randomly act as if they accidentally spilled their drink on your shoes or shirt. Out of ‘guilt,’ they will offer help and try to clean you up. In the process, you won’t even realize that you might get pickpocketed. What you must do in this case is that you should politely refuse any help and go to a washroom to clean yourself up.
In many countries, there many other scams like the ‘street games’ one where on a table there is a game of cups going on. Surrounding the table will be a group of thugs disguised as tourists who will pickpocket you while you are immersed in the game.
All these will not necessarily happen to you every time you travel, but we wish for you to be safe and avail the best travel insurance policies. Many times, some people are genuine, but its best to prevent than to cure isn’t it?