Top 10 Tourist Scams You Should Avoid in 2022
Con artists in Europe utilize clever ploys to defraud holidaymakers, from pigeon excrement to poisoned beverages.
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A State Department source told AARP that people should “be watchful when overseas” as travel restrictions loosens.
While tourist scams may occur in any nation, according to travel experts, embassies, and law enforcement, these are some of the strategies used by con artists in Europe to get their hands on your belongings.
1. The leak isn’t unintentional. Pigeon excrement, genuine or fake ketchup, ice cream, coffee, or whatever else is splattered all over you. “Someone will come up to you and offer to assist you in cleaning up. While preoccupied, another individual takes your pocket.
2. The panhandler’s plastic cup is number two. Some beggars set a transparent plastic cup in front of passersby, expecting that they would kick it over and scatter money. The idea was to elicit a guilt-tripping contribution. Rick Steves, a European travel expert and TV broadcaster, has suggested, “Assume beggars are pickpockets.”
3. The “gold” ring that isn’t real. When you examine your wallet, a terrible actor reaches down to pick up a call and says it’s yours. Alternatively, the individual may demand a finder’s fee in exchange for returning the brass trinket.
“Keep just what you’re prepared to lose in your wallet: one credit or debit card, one piece of identification, and no more than 40 or 50 euros, or around $50 and $60.”
4. The alcoholic beverage with a kick. According to the Overseas Security Advisory Council, a partnership between the State Department and the private-sector security community, a growing number of complaints have emerged from tourist destinations across Poland: victims have been lured into establishments with the promise of discounts or other enticements and financially exploited while under the influence of intoxicants. Because bars and clubs may demonstrate proof of victims’ permission, inflated credit card charges may be difficult to contest. The crime occurs in many nations, and the location might be a tea shop or restaurant, for example.
5. The designer timepiece. Alternatively, a jacket. You might carry your purse. According to hotels.com, a guy in Italy asks directions, claims to work for a luxury goods firm, and offers samples in his vehicle. He delivers a watch, jacket, or bag as a present and demands money.
The “friendship” bracelet is number six. Bad actors bind a tourist’s wrist or finger with thread and braid it into a bracelet, then demand money and threaten the tourist if they refuse.
7. The fictitious police officer. The British government cautions that some criminals act as police officers and approach visitors in Spain’s city centers and resorts, asking to see their wallets for identification reasons. If this occurs to you, make sure the cops are legitimate and, if required, present another form of identification. Genuine cops do not demand to see wallets or handbags.
8. The fake petition. Young boys and girls, some pretending to be deaf or deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafening Although it may seem that the kids are operating on behalf of organizations and foundations, this is not the case. “Their only purpose is to extort money from you, which will never be transmitted to these groups and will instead be utilized to finance illicit organizations and underground networks,” according to the authorities.
9. The subway’s crush-and-grab. Several individuals approach you, picking your pockets. Take a person’s handbag sitting near the door and go as the doors close.
The highway pirates are number ten. These robbers wave your car over for help with a flat tire or mechanical issue, but while you’re helping, an accomplice steals all of your belongings from your unlocked vehicle.
Also, rental cars in many parts of Spain have a large sticker on the back of the vehicle. The Overseas Security Advisory Council says numerous reports of thieves breaking into rentals and taking all the valuables. At the same time, they were parked at a scenic overlook or other tourist attraction.
These aren’t petty criminals.
It’s crucial to realize that fraudsters who prey on visitors might be part of more extensive criminal networks. Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement, holds periodic conferences on international pickpocketing gangs and stated in 2019 that while pickpocketing is sometimes considered a petty crime, “highly professional groups” are often to blame and can profit millions from the illegal activity.
According to Europol, ringleaders live in luxury, but many pickpockets, including youngsters, are “exploited foot soldiers” who may be victims of human trafficking.
In a report from 2021, the State Department emphasizes the topic, stating that “forced child begging” is still a problem in some areas of the globe.
Before you go on your journey,
Before you go, there are three things you should do:
- Set up fraud precautions with your credit card issuer, such as limitations on charges to your account from the same area on the same day.
- Visit travel.state.gov/destination for country information from the State Department.
- To get the most up-to-date safety information about your trip, join the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
In addition, when traveling:
- According to the State Department’s “A Safe Trip Abroad,” purses, fanny packs, and exterior pockets are common targets for thieves. A pouch or money belt worn beneath your clothes is one of the safest locations to keep valuables.
- When visiting tourist hotspots, be particularly cautious. Thieves frequent museums, monuments, restaurants, and hotels, as well as beaches, railway stations, and airports, as well as subways and trains. Some target vehicles with non-local license plates. According to the US Embassy in Madrid, pickpocketing is a problem “in major cities and roads throughout Spain.”
- Passports, cash, smartphones, and other valuables should not be kept in the exterior pockets of backpacks or handbags or on public tables. Bags hung over the backs of chairs, on hotel or shop counters, on top of your luggage or travel bag, or out of your physical control should not be left unattended.