10 Most Common Tourist Scams And How To Avoid Them

Tourists are one of the most vulnerable to becoming victims of Most Common Tourist Scams as they are considered to know little about the new destinations and the scammers seem to sense it.

There are various reasons why people get scammed while traveling, tourists being new to the area, carrying large amounts of cash, and carrying expensive products, and a language barrier are common ones.

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These are the 10 Most Common Tourist Scams And How To Avoid Them

Let’s dive in.

1. Pick Pockets

Most popular in metro stations, this process is clearly called the Bump and Grab where the thieves distract you and grab the desired valuables, pickpockets happen while it’s rushed and there is a crowd everywhere. Metro doors are also one of those spots where pickpockets happen and people realize the theft later.

How to Avoid?

Never keep all your documents, and valuables in one place and spread them in different spots in your bag. Keeps the jeans and jacket pockets empty or things that are less valuable, the fewer items are seen outside, the more you’re safe! Whenever you see a crowd you can also keep your hands on the pockets where you’ve kept your things to guard them.

2. The Innocent Gunk Scam

In this process, something like mustard or ketchup will be thrown at you, while one of the scammers will pretend to be a good guy who comes up to you addressing that you’ve something on your back and while they show that they’re helping, they pickpocket. The point is that they need to make you take off the backpack or anything valuable that you’re holding to help yourself and they run with your things.

How to Avoid?

If there’s something that hit you, do not react and continue walking and doing your own thing and if any “Good Samaritans” offer you help and try to take off your bag, deny or Ignore.

3. Fake Officials

When you travel to a new place the most trustworthy person has to be the officers in uniform, yes the corps. Beware, because something these scams dressed in uniform will pretend like corps and ask you for your documents and ask for a bribe once you try to get them back.

How to Avoid?

Always ask them to take you to the police station and do the verification and you’ll be happy to show your documents. You can ask for help from other people around, or the locals and help them deal with this better.

4. Bus Scam

Buses are one of the riskiest places when it comes to traveling and bus scams are quite popular in many cities around the world. Keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings. A stranger helps you stow your bag and pickpockets, Good Samaritan pretending to stow your bag and throw s it over to another gentleman, and you wake up with all valuables gone, are some of these.

How to Avoid?

Keep an eye on your belongings. You can be friends with locals who can also help you while they’re on a journey with you, and never allow any stranger to touch/stow your belongings.

5. Wrong Class on Transportation

Again these people will be police uniforms, as they are the official we tend to trust more, they’ll try to separate you from your documents and valuables, and the reasons are quite convincing so be careful of that. One of these conversations can be that they’ll ask you to see your tickets, tell you that yore in the wrong class of transportation and to save yourself you must pay fees.

How to Avoid?

The only way to protect yourself on this is to do your research and ask ticket officials about the maximum rates and full cost of the ticket and refuse to show any documents if they ask, the real officials never ask for extra money than the rule.

6. Fake Bills

This one is the most popular scam that is found in cafes, restaurants, and taxis. At the end of the ride, they ask for a bill that’s the original one and return hand you a fake bill and ask for an extra payment. The problem is that you end up giving your original receipt and you have no proof of that so you end up paying extra.

How to Avoid?

Be used to the currency of the place you’re visiting, and try changing money from small bills at your bank or hotel, hence you will be less on the radar of such scammers.

7. The Swarm

Very similar t distraction scams, this one includes a crowded situation and people move you to find you a place, people nudge you and distract you and end up picking pockets in the crowd that you’ll realize later.

How to Avoid?

This kind of scam is hard to point out, so the only way is to be prepared, keep your eyes open and keep in touch with your valuables so that nobody steals them. Keep the valuables zipped up in an over-the-shoulder bag, and keep them safe.

8. The Ring Scam

The ring cam is popular in Paris, where places like Eiffel Tower and Colosseum witness these scams on a regular basis. The typical ring scam involves randomly throwing a ring in front of you where a lady approaches to ask whether it’s yours, if you say yes, you’re safe but if you say no, they try to sell that to you and will keep badgering you until you hand over some money.

How to Avoid?

As a tourist, try to keep a serious face as if you’re known to the place and hence don’t show any excitement. Even if they ask, you can always say yes and see how it goes which will be safer than paying money anyway.

9. Friendly Localities

Most of the time, you’ll find genuine locals willing to help and their intentions are not bad. However, not all of them. People might approach you and talk to you in the name of practicing the English language. After a few minutes of chatting, they take you to their shop and soon you’ll find yourself in a situation where you’ll have to forcefully buy something from their store.

How to Avoid?

Of course, you can chit-chat with locals, just be aware of this so next time somebody offers you to their store you can simply deny it. Also, keep your valuables zipped and safe.

10. The Bracelets

This travel scam is very popular on beaches. Women approach you and offer you a free bracelet, or a handmade crown, and they put it on you without a willingness to hear that you don’t want it. The more you say no, they start offering more services that they charge later.

How to Avoid?

In such situations, the first thing is to identify that it’s a scam and tell them that you know what they’re doing and you’ll see them turning away!

You can also check out Common Mistakes Solo Travelers make if you are aware of these tips once you leave for a new destination, it will be of great help.


The easiest targets are the travelers who are confused or overexcited or the over-anxious first-timers who are low on confidence. These people are easy to spot and hence you can scam them considering newbies.

The best way to not be one of these travelers is to research a lot on the location, culture, currency, and popular scams that can frustrate you so that you can sense the danger.

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