Destinations, Experience, Explore, Travel Hacks

Here Are The Most Popular Travel Scams And How To Avoid Them

By Kelsey Marie

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As a tourist in a new city, it can be easy to fall victim to scammers no matter how well-traveled you are.

Sometimes you may find yourself paying more for cab fares, drinks, or food while abroad and charging it to the “traveling game.”

It is important to research which scams happen frequently in the city you’re visiting to avoid becoming a victim yourself.

You can use sites such as TripAdvisor and Reddit to find out which scams occur frequently per city/country.

Here is a list of common travel scams and how you can avoid them:

ATM Scams

It is super important to use ATMs in legitimate banks.


If you’re at an ATM and it sucks your card in and won’t give it back, you should go into the bank ASAP.

Scammers use ATM skimmers (a device that attaches to the card area of ATMs and records your credit and debit information) to steal your banking information.

Many scammers also put a plastic or sticky slip inside of the card slot which causes your card to get stuck.

Avoid the ATM scams by contacting the bank immediately and never giving your pin number to anyone over the phone or in person.

Taxi Scams

Taxi drivers are known for scamming tourists.

Always agree on a price before getting inside of the taxi. Do research and find out the average rates of cab rides in the city you are visiting.

Taxi drivers may also rig their meters or say it is broken — with many even posing as taxi drivers when they are not licensed nor qualified.

Only get into official taxis and research the official taxi colors in your destination city.

If you’re getting a taxi from the airport, make sure to go to the official taxi stand.

Begging Woman With Baby Scam

This scam happens frequently in India and African countries.

A young woman will approach you while holding a baby in her arms. Surprisingly, many times the baby is just a doll or if it is a real baby, they are used as props to make you feel sad — therefore sucking you into giving the woman money.

Beware of this criminal ring. If you are compelled to give money, donate to a charity in the city instead.

The Bump And Grab Scam

This form of pickpocketing occurs in big cities — often thieves will distract you by bumping into you and apologizing while discreetly stealing items from your pockets or handbag.

Avoid this cam by never putting all of your important documents and money in one place.

Also, never walk around with your wallet or valuables in the front or back pockets of your pants.

It is best to travel wearing a cross-body bag with zippers and keeping the bag in the front of your body.

The Switch-Up Scam

Often times when going to markets for personal shopping or souvenirs; scammers are lurking.

Even vendors pull scams on tourists — if, for example, you choose a rug or bag to purchase, the vendor would go into the back and give you a cheaper version of the item you just chose. So you think you’re buying what you originally saw but you’re scammed with a lesser version of it.

To avoid this scam, make sure the vendor wraps up your purchases in front of you and double check your purchases before leaving the market or vendor.

It is important to always be vigilant while traveling.

Scammers often look for tourists who appear confused, drunk or overly anxious.

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Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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