Normally, we travel abroad for relaxing holidays, active adventures or maybe for business. We don’t travel to become a victim of crime. Unfortunately, when you’re abroad it can be easy to forget how you could be a target for opportunistic criminals. To help you avoid the stress and potential trauma of crime, we’ve gathered seven common ways criminals target you. Check them out and stay safe:
Ever had a taxi driver try and tell you your hotel or hostel is closed? Or maybe they’ve tried to suggest the hotel you’ve booked isn’t great. Either way, they’re trying to trick you into letting them take you to another, usually more expensive, hotel where they’ll earn a big commission for your trade.
Someone spills something on you
Maybe you’re walking down the street. Maybe you’re sat having a coffee. Then someone comes along and spills something down you. It’s a pain, but they’re polite and help you clean up. You don’t realise how annoying this ‘accident’ really is until you spot they’ve also taken your money. At this point, they’re long gone.
Imagine you’re on a crowded bus in Mexico when your purse is pinched from your back pocket. It’s easy to see how your personal items could be taken from you. Luckily, so long as you’ve made a report to the police and resort staff ASAP, insurance will cover you for the costs to replace all items that were stolen.
Petty theft doesn’t just happen when you’re on the streets, though. Criminals will think nothing of breaking into your hire car if you leave values on show. Tuck them away out of sight to minimise the chance of anyone breaking in.
Friendly ATM helper
Withdrawing cash abroad can be expensive. But if someone approaches you offering a solution to avoid bank charges, don’t trust them. This is what happened when Expert Vagabond was nearly fooled – one man was the helpful local, the second pretended to be a fellow customer waiting in line who agreed with what the first was saying.
Luckily, when the first guy cancelled the transaction, the blogger realised what was happening and didn’t type their PIN code in. Their trick is to watch your number and drain your account later using a card skimmer in their pocket.
Group photo offer
When you’re on holiday, it’s likely you’ll want to take a few photos. But to get everyone in, you’ll have to ask someone to take a photo. If you’re in a busy tourist location, someone might offer to take one for you. Now, this is a tricky one. Do you trust them with your expensive camera? Or do you think they’ll run off? It does happen.
The best piece of advice is to avoid people that offer out of the blue. Instead, ask fellow tourists to do a camera swap and take a photo of them too.
If you use a currency exchange, watch out for any slow counting. It’s an old trick, but it still works. Cashiers will deliberately count out your local currency slowly in the hope you’ll lose patience and accept they’ve given you the right amount. In reality, you could have been given a lower sum than you’re owed. Like many of the common tourist scams in this infographic, it seems obvious but people do still get tricked.
How do you avoid scams? Share your experiences with us.