In a foreign country and sticking out like a sore thumb? Avoid becoming a big, flashing sign for scam artists by avoiding a few well-known games…
1. JET SKI STING
Common in Phuket, this scam involves jet-ski operators claiming you’ve damaged their machine, and forcing you to cough up ridiculous amounts of money with threats to call the police if you don’t. Enter the friendly law-enforcement officer who’s been conveniently lurking nearby, ready to slip on the handcuffs if you don’t comply. These can apply to car/scooter rentals too. Tip: Take photos of the ride before you get on it.
2. BRAZEN BARFLY
One of the oldest tricks in the book. A “helpful” taxi driver (working on commission) lures male tourists to a drinking establishment where they buy drinks for overly friendly females and are then faced with an exorbitant bill. Refusal to pay can lead to violence courtesy of very large security guards. Tip: Check prices before ordering drinks.
3. METER MANOEUVRE
If you look like a tourist and dress like a tourist and you don’t know anything about the country you’re in, make sure that when you get into a taxi, the driver turns on the meter – especially if you’re in Paris. Do we really have to tell you this?
4. TEAHOUSE TRICK
Travelling to China? According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, “An increasing number of tourists are being invited for a drink at a teahouse nearby for any number of reasons, including ‘to practice English’. Afterwards, the tourist is presented with a vastly inflated bill and is not permitted to leave until they pay. Physical violence, including serious assault, and credit card skimming or duplication has occurred.” ‘Nuff said!