Shocking Ways To Rob Tourists - Beware Fake Police & Throwing Babies!
There is no better feeling than going on a highly anticipated and dream holiday. Especially when it comes to visiting a brand new country. Though unless it is a trip of a lifetime and there have been some in-depth reading into the country’s culture and customs done, most people just learn as they go, discovering and learning about the place upon arrival. And while there is nothing wrong with that, it is something that thieves and scammers who want to profit financially from unsuspecting tourists have perfected. They have come up with ways to distract people while they pickpocket them or other ways to get big sums of money from them. What are some of the most used scams? Just how do they work? And where are they most commonly used? Read on to find out what to look out for during your next travels.
The Bracelet & The Rose
One of the most common scams that have been used in Europe, mainly Spain, France, and Italy, has been the sale of a bracelet. Usually taking place in one of the most popular tourist places, someone will approach an unsuspecting tourist admiring the place and offer them a friendship bracelet. Now, regardless of what they say, they will most likely try to take their wrist so they can put it on. Now, here one of two things could happen. Once they put it on they will demand payment and follow the person until they do so, or it is a distraction while their accomplice pickpockets them. A similar thing is used in Milan outside the cathedral, where someone will approach a tourist with bird feed and while pigeons swarm them, they will either demand money or once again go for the pockets. A similar yet popular thing is the sale of a rose. A vendor will usually approach couples and offer the girl a rose, when she accepts it, they will then turn to her partner and demand a payment which usually is a high price. And if they say no and try to give the rose back, they will try to make them look like a bad boyfriend, until they cave in. But these are some of the more common scams, what are some that most people don’t even think of? Read on to find out.
This is a scam that has been reported to have mostly been used in Rome, so picture this. You’re walking around the Colosseum when suddenlly a woman who is carrying what looks like a bundled up baby comes up to you and throws her child at you! Of course, the natural instinct is to catch it...it’s a baby after all! Well, not really, it’s just a scam. The bundle that looks like a baby is either a doll or just a bundle of blankets but as your standing there in shock with your arms occupied with this “baby”, the woman’s accomplices will take the moment of distraction to skillfully go through your bag or pockets.
The Drug Deal
This trick is one that is specific to Ko Pha Ngan, an island in Thailand that has become world-renowned for its monthly Full Moon Party. Given that the cost of staying on the island is quite cheap, it attracts plenty of young people for either just tourism or parties. And here some taxi and/or tuk-tuk drivers have come up with a way to get some extra cash. While taking their unsuspecting passengers to a club or a beach party, they offer them drugs for sale. If the person happens to accept them, coincidentally a ‘policeman’ will just happen to go by and see what is going on. Of course, the idea of getting arrested isn’t ideal for anyone, especially when abroad in a country where they don’t speak the language or aren’t familiar with the laws and customs. But then this fake officer will give them an offer that if they pay a large fine they won’t be arrested. But in reality, the person is not an officer and they and the driver are in on the scam.
The Street Games
Some people make their money, or just some extra cash, by performing on the streets and they always attract great crowds of people to watch what they are doing. There are also those who somewhere on the side of the street will be seen doing some magic trick, such as guessing in which cup the ball is. They will always be surrounded by a crowd of people watching them. Some of those people might be tourists stopping to look but quite a few of them will be their accomplices. While people are watching someone trying to figure out the tricks, the fake onlookers will pickpocket them while their attention is diverted. This scam while not limited to one place, has most notably been used in Paris and in London.
Being abroad, at some point, tourists will end up at some local shop looking for something to eat or some souvenirs and here scammers have also become clever. One of the scams, that has been most commonly used in Barcelona, Spain, is when the cashier is on the phone, yet still goes ahead to serve the unsuspecting. But if the person pays by credit card, the scam comes into place because the person might not really be on the phone but be taking pictures of the card details so that they can later be replicated. Another scam used across Europe is the slow change counting. After the customer pays for something with cash, the cashier will count the change out very slowly, often taking pauses. But they are not necessarily distracted but they are hoping the person will lose their patience and accept the change given without checking. And in reality, they would have given you a much lower sum than they should have.
As we mentioned before, scammers often take advantage of tourists that might not know the language, the customs, and especially the law. And because of this, scams using fake law enforcement have been on the rise. One of the most common ones has been noted in Mexico City, Bogota, Bucharest, and Bangkok. While a tourist is going about their day, enjoying their well-earned holiday, a ‘police officer’ will walk up to them, and explain that fake money has been circulating in the area and they will claim they need to check their wallets. Of course, the person will get their money back but they will find out that some money has been missing! Sometimes, the same scam might involve them asking to check the passport or a visa card and claim there are issues with it, and then demand a fine to resolve the issue. As one police officer who commented on such a trick said, something like that would most likely not take place and if someone is worried they might be telling the truth, ask to go to the police station to verify this.
The Helpful Local
One of the nice sides of going to a different country is getting to interact with locals and learning from them. And while most certainly not everyone is out there to get the tourists, scammers had also taken over the ‘friendly local’ part, especially in Europe. This is where a nice friendly local, usually a man, comes in and they speak the tourist’s language and offers them help with either the confusing currency or even a ticket machine. Of course, the person thinks oh how lovely, and while there might be people who are genuinely helping, this man in question could be a scammer that is either memorizing the tourist’s pin code for when they pickpocket them later, or they will simply run off with the cash.
The Helpful Warning
When traveling abroad, especially to common tourist destinations, many people usually are aware, or to a certain degree are aware something like that had happened. And some pickpockets had even used that knowledge to their advantage. While surely this is a scam that has been used all over the world it has most notably been seen around Europe. As you’re walking around, once again friendly local approaches you and let you know that they had just seen someone get their phone or wallet stolen and tell you to be careful. As they do this, they carefully observe you as many people usually go to check and pat themselves in the places where they have their valuables hidden. Later, knowing where you keep your things, they simply pickpocket you. Sometimes in crowded places, tour guides, or even police officers, will remind tourists about pickpockets and tell them to be careful. And the pickpockets use that to their advantage to observe people where they check for their things and then later rob them.
The Hotel Scams
Don’t think that you would be safe from getting scammed in your hotels. One of the hotel scams includes going to stay at a completely different one than you booked. This is one that some taxi drivers are in on so once you get into the car and say you want to head to X hotel, they will convince the traveler that their one is closed for refurbishment but that they know of a great one instead. Though their chosen one is most often not only overpriced, it usually is in a terrible location. For similar reasons, there are also plenty of hotels that copy the names of the more popular ones, in a bid to trick guests into thinking they arrived at the right one and that the photos online were just wrong. Another scam that takes place in hotels comes from identity thieves who will call, usually in the middle of the night, and pretend to be the front desk. They will act like there is an issue and ask the guest to confirm their credit card and thus get the details. The reason they call in the middle of the night is that the person is less likely to want to go to the front desk to sort it out and therefore do it over the phone.
Can you think of any other elaborate tourist scams like these? Let us know in the comments and if you enjoyed this article do not hesitate to share it with your friends and leave a Like on our Facebook page!
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