The Most Popular Street Scams To Watch Out For

By David S 11 months ago

1. The “No-Change” or “Wrong Change” Trick

Image Source - reddit.com
Be careful when paying for items with large bills! A common street scam is the seller will claim that they have no change to give you and will offer some low-quality item as an exchange, or they will give you the incorrect amount of change leaving you short.

2. The “You Didn’t Pay The Full Amount” Scam

Image Source - reddit.com
This scam involves you purchasing a product and handing over the funds to pay. Before you can blink the cash is in the seller's pocket and they're claiming you've not paid the full amount and requesting that you hand over more coins or bills to settle your debt.

3. Distraction Scams

Image Source - ricksteves.com
Are you easily distracted? If yes, this scam is definitely one you'll need to watch out for. Thieves will work in groups and attempt to rob you by using distraction tactics, including minor assaults, busking, or having a child talk to you. So beware!

4. Insistent Help

Image Source - ofhsoupkitchen.org
If someone is being overly friendly, there may be a more sinister reason why this is happening. A scammer may offer to look after your bike whilst you go to a shop or help with directions. After this small task has been completed, a tip will be demanded.

5. The Currency Swap Scam

Image Source - reddit.com
If you choose to purchase an item from a street seller and you're due some change, keep an eagle eye on what you get handed back. A well-known scam is that the seller will hand you back a different currency similar in appearance but have a lower value.

6. Credit Card Scams

Image Source - reddit.com
It is common to take a credit card when visiting other countries, so it's not surprising that these are targets for scammers. Whilst in a restaurant your card can be quickly swiped and cloned without you noticing, so it's always best to keep your wallet secure!

7. Passport as Security for Debt or Rental

Image Source - reddit.com
If you're ever hiring some equipment, the person who is lending this will ask for a security deposit to cover any potential damage. Do NOT hand over your passport as this deposit, as it's likely you won't get this back and it will be sold on for a profit!

8. Accommodation Recommendations

Image Source - reddit.com
It has been known for taxi drivers when you land at your destination to claim the hotel you've booked is currently closed and take you to an alternative hotel where the driver will get a commission and you'll be charged a second time for your room leaving you out of pocket!

9. Flat Tire Scams

Image Source - reddit.com
If you see someone stranded on the side of the road with a flat tyre, have a think before you stop it help. A scammer may have accomplices hiding nearby and use this situation to rob you and the contents of your car taking advantage of your good nature.

10. Gifts from Strangers/Beggars

Image Source - reddit.com
If you're walking down the street and a stranger approaches you with a gift such as flowers or some jewellery, the best option is to ignore this and walk on, as once this gift has been accepted, the stranger will then demand some cash and follow you until payment is made.

11. ATM Scams

Image Source - reddit.com
A top tip to prevent being scammed is to avoid withdrawing cash from ATM's if possible. An experienced scam artist will try and catch what your PIN is and then steal your card, some machines can even be tampered with and clone your card without you even knowing!

12. Restaurant Scams

Image Source - reddit.com
Everyone loves a good meal when on vacation, however, you still need to be vigilant! Your bill at the end of the night may be a lot higher than expected. When you question the amount, the staff will not allow you to leave the restaurant until the bill is paid!

13. Entrance Fee / Pay Toilet Scams

Image Source - reddit.com
When queuing up and ready to pay for the famous landmark or toilet you're waiting to visit, double-check that the person you're paying is a genuine employee. You may find yourself paying a scammer and having to pay again to enter, leaving less money for the rest of your trip.

14. The “Water’s Not Safe to Drink” Scam

Image Source - reddit.com
Hotels may try to squeeze every dollar out of you and claim that the local water is not fit to drink and will attempt to force you to purchase their water from the mini bar at extortionate prices. So before you travel do some checks to see if you can drink the tap water.

15. Toll Roads

Image Source - reddit.com
If visiting remote areas in foreign countries the locals may form a makeshift toll roll and demand payment before allowing you to move to your next destination. So make sure you plan any routes before traveling and be prepared to turn back if you don't want to pay the fee!

16. The Red Light Robbery

Image Source - reddit.com
When renting a car whilst traveling always be careful when stopping at a red light! This is a golden opportunity for a potential thief to break into your car and take whatever they can. This is seen mostly in countries like Brazil, Malaysia and South Africa.

17. The Art School Scam

Image Source - brightside.me
This particular scam may not be well known but still can be effective. Attractive women may approach you posing to be art students and invite you to their school to show off some of their work. It's here where they will pressure you to buy some art at a high price!

18. Friendly Locals Wanting to Join You For Dinner/Drinks

Image Source - reddit.com
Sometimes it's best to drink alone when enjoying a trip away. Scammers may join you at your table and strike up a conversation pretending to be interested in making friends, however, at the end of the night, they will expect you to settle the whole bill without them paying a penny.

19. Street Fights

Image Source - reddit.com
Your first instinct when you see someone being attacked by a group may be to step in and help, however, this may be a setup, and the attackers may take a photo of you and blackmail you threatening to report you to the police as the attacker forcing you to pay money or leave the country.

20. Bus Scams

Image Source - reddit.com
If taking a bus is your chosen method of transport when abroad you'll need to be extra vigilant about where you're putting your items when making a trip. Thieves are known to snoop around your belongings and make a run for it at the next stop with your suitcase in hand!

21. Counterfeit Money

Image Source - reddit.com
Try and always stick to the credit card if possible. Another scam is when you hand over cash for payment the seller will then claim that you've handed over counterfeit money and requires further payment, they will also not hand back the cash that has already been provided.

22. The Ring Scam

Image Source - reddit.com
The ring fraud occurs mostly in Paris, but it is equally common in Rome and other major vacation spots in Europe. The Colosseum and the Eiffel Tower seem to be hotspots for ring scams. They will ask you if its your ring and if you say no, they will badger you until you give in.

23. It’s Closed Today

Image Source - pinterest.co.uk
In Southeast Asia, the "it's closed today scam" is incredibly prevalent. Frequently, when you approach a tourist spot, people will inform you that it is closed before you get a chance to visit. This will be a lie and they will take you to another spot and charge you again.

24. Prepaid Taxi Scam

Image Source - pinterest.co.uk
One of the most widespread travel scams you'll come across anywhere is this one. At the airport or train station, you have arrived. It is late at night, and you are exhausted. Taxis outside will claim that the official booths are closed and when you get in will overcharge or take you to the wrong destination,

25. I’m Your Waiter At Your Hotel Scam

Image Source - insider.com
As you're leaving the hotel, you might be approached by an individual who claims to have served you, as your waiter the previous night. They will then claim they are on the way to a market with a big sale and if you follow them you could be sold cheap items or even mugged!

26. Fake Officials

Image Source - reddit.com
You always hear stories of tourists getting pulled over by fake police officers in counties like Mexico, who will ask you to pay a fine or you will be brought back to the local station. So never hand over any money to anyone claiming to be an officer of the law.

27. The Bracelet Scam

Image Source - reddit.com
On beaches and in cities, this travel scam is popular. A woman will sometimes approach you and offer a handmade crown or bracelet. They place it on your head before you can say, "I don't want it," and will then claim they cannot re-sell and want payment.

28. The Begging Baby

Image Source - reddit.com
Young ladies may frequently approach you holding a baby in their arms in this tourism scam, which is prevalent in Southeast Asia, Central America, and South America. You are moved to donate money because you feel bad for them. Sometimes the baby might even be a doll!

29. Taxi Scams

Image Source - reddit.com
Worldwide, there are so many taxi scams. In every city, taxi drivers manipulate their metres or claim that the metre is broken. People frequently pretend to be taxi drivers when they are neither licensed nor competent and will be looking to rip you off!

30. The Swarm

Image Source - theplanetd.com
This travel scam involves a group of people surrounding you on a bus or tube, much like a distraction. It looks reasonably innocent, however, they are moving around you to find a space because it is busy. Others prod you and divert your attention as they search through your bags and steal your belongings.

What To Read Next

Load More