Travel Scams

When traveling abroad you will be met by a lot of travel scams. These are all real scams used on our readers. This article is to help you out on your next travel. The list is in order after what scam you probably will meet first. Feel free to comment at the end of the article so we can update on new scams.

First off a few similarities off most scams:

  1. Someone with a much better english vocabulary than the rest of the locals approach you.
  2. When the scammers get busted they get aggressive so you will give up.

Note: Most people are just trying to be friendly. Travel with an open mind.


Travel Scams 1. Airport Luggage Scam
Scam: ´Helpful´ men at the airport pick up your luggage and `help´your through security without asking for permission first. Then after getting outside charges you for the ´help´.
What to do: Don’t let them take your luggage OR (if you are brave enough) let them take it and refuse to pay later. You don’t have to pay them so if you refuse they will eventually leave.
Where: Common in Malaysia and Indonesia. VERY common at the airport in Denpasar, Bali.

Travel Scams2. Taxi Scam 1 – The Broken Fare Meter.
Scam: The meter is ´broken´ and the taxi will drive on a fixed price. (Which is higher than the meter price.
WTD: Choose a taxi with a meter, negotiate price, check out the price before hand, check out the distance.
Where: Everywhere

Travel Scams 3. Taxi Scam 2 – The Wrong Hotel
Scam: They will ether tell that your hotel/hostel don´t exist anymore and drive you to a hotel/hostel where they get paid to deliver you. Or they ´can´t find it´after driving a while and would like to take you to a hotel/hostel they know about.
WTD: Check your hotel address before you leave. You can download a map of the location where you´re going while on WIFI before you leave. Also use the tips above, meeter, negotiate price and the distance.

Travel Scams 4. Child Beggars
Scam: Children begging for money. Often injured or blind/deaf or holding a baby. You have seen Slumdog Millionaire right ? Often an accomplice near by who checks out where you keep your wallet so they may steal it later.
WTD: Don´t give them money. Children are used as a work force since it’s obviously good for business.
Where: Almost everywhere

Travel Scams 5. Closed Attraction Scam
Scam: You will be approached by a local who tells you that an attraction, shopping mall, transportation and so on is closed. Then let you know where to go for the same experience. They may also be dressed as an officer.
WTD: Check it out before you go. Ask in the reception at your hotel/hostel before you leave. If in doubt ask people around, or go and check out yourself.
Where: Most common in big cities with many different attractions.

Travel Scams 6. Fake Palace Guides
Scam: Let you know that the palace is closed for the day. But, lucky you, they can be your private tour tomorrow.
WTD: Once again, be prepared before you go or go and check out yourself.
Where: Everywhere

Travel Scams 7. Fake Police Officers.
Scam: Comes up with a story about something that you have done. Then demands to see your wallet, credit card and passport.
WTD: Ask to see their ID before showing them anything. If in doubt, contact the real police.
Where: Big cities with a lot of tourists.

Travel Scams 8. Group Photo Scam
Scam: People asking to take a group photo of you. Often an ´expert´ on jump photos or whatever. Then what you may ask ? Yup, they run.
WTD: Ask someone who are nearby to take the photo. Then you can decide for yourself if they can be trusted or not. Or use the selfie-stick?
Where: Most common at big tourists attractions.

Travel Scams 9. Bracelet Scams
9.1) You will receive a bracelet as á gift´. Afterwards they demand you for money and shout out that you have stolen it.
9.2) They put a lot of brackets on you and won’t leave before you give them some money.
9.3) A ´monk´gives you a bracelet and say it is for free. Then starts talking about spirituality and follows you until you have supported ´their cause´
WTD: Don’t´t put yourself in that position. If someone try to put a bracelet on you – they most likely want something.
Where: Everywhere. Very common at beaches and temples.

Travel Scams 10. Scooter Rental
Scam: The bike gets stolen (by the people where you rented the scooter). Demanding high prices for a broken part on your bike.
WTD: Don’t let them know where you are staying. Put up another address when filling out the form. There are a few ways to decrease the chance to be scammed. 1. test the scooter. 1. take photos of the motorbike before leaving. This is VERY important, since most of you are not experts on scooters anyway and that test run you did on point 1 didn’t give only told you that the scooter started, right ? 3. If you have an accident, you can also check out different places to fix your bike and negotiate the price.
Where: Very common around in South East Asia where a lot of backpackers rent scooters.

Travel Scams 11. Tuk Tuk drivers
Scam: Giving you a very cheep price for a guide around the city including all the big tourists attractions. The only problem is that he will also bring you into a lot of jewelry/carpet shops on the way – where he get’s a profit of everything sold, and per tourist he brings in.
WTD: The way the Tuk Tuk driver makes his salary is to bring you into these shops, so if you refuse to go into any he will probably make an excuse that the yuk yuk suddenly gets broken or something like so you will leave. You can also just get on with his scam and take 5 minutes in every shop, since you are getting around very cheap anyway right ?
Where: In big cities. If you want this cheap tour around town, you should go in front of an expensive hotel since these scammers are looking after customers who got the money to buy something in the shops.

Travel Scams 12. Money Swappers
Scam: You are new with the currency and suddenly got a lot cash and are not sure which note is which. So you pay with a note and they will swap it quickly with a smaller note and demanding more money.
WTD: Always be sure what note you are paying with. If know that you’d played with the right amount you got no problem. (After a short argument)
Where: Taxi drivers, Markets, Attractions.

Travel Scams 13. ATM Scam
Scam: Helping you out at the ATM
WTD: You got this. You don’t need help at the ATM. Hide your code and take your money.
Where: Everywhere

Travel Scams 14. Extra item on your bill
Scam: This often at a supermarket or at a restaurant. They will add an extra item on your bill that you have not bought.
WTD: Always check the receipt.
Where: Everywhere. A lot at the small supermarkets in Bali.

Travel Scams 15. Street Scammers
Scam: The thief’s are creative, but there are a few ones that never gets old
15.1: Bump and steal: Bumps into you while losing their bag/purse. While you help out an accomplice steal from you.
15.2: Bump – Broken item and steal: Bumps into you and their glaces/phone/camera get´s broken. While you are discussing an accomplice steal from you.
15.3: Dirty clothes: Someone accidentally spills soda, ketchup or whatever on you. And…you get it. an accomplice steal from you.
15.4 Cut the purse: Cutting the strings on your purse


Keep us updated ! Comment below if we should update a point, or if you got a new one.
Check out our article about Backpacker Stereotypes.





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