Notorious travel scams

When you travel to foreign countries, or new places, for the first time your unfamiliarity with local customs, language and location can make you an easy target for scammers to rip you off. The online magazine International Business Times recently featured an article outlining some of the most notorious scams. Here are a few of them:

Orlando, Florida – Here’s a scam so bad even Mickey Mouse took a stand. Guests in hotels around Disney World have been finding pizza delivery menus conveniently slipped under their doors, but place an order-and make the mistake of giving your credit card number-and you’ll really pay. The phone number isn’t connected to a pizza parlour but to identity thieves. Disney World supported a law designed to crack down on the people handing out the fliers, but Orlando police say the problem persists. The solution to this is simple: If you’re craving a slice, get a recommendation from the hotel.

New York City – New Yorkers are famously pushy, but Times Square’s so-called CD Bullies take the stereotype to new lows. A guy on the corner barks, “Check out my music!” and hands you what seems to be a free copy of his CD. He’s so nice, he’ll even offer to autograph it. But once the disc is in your hands, the aspiring rapper-suddenly surrounded by friends-refuses to take it back. You need to pay $10 or so to stop them from menacing you. The best way to extricate yourself is if the rapper won’t accept the CD back, just place it on the ground and walk away.

Las Vegas, Nevada – You go to Vegas to gamble, but you don’t want to risk your luggage, too. Sin City’s cabdrivers are notoriously sketchy; one common scam involves a cabbie who insists on unloading your bags at your hotel or the airport. He says he’s in a rush, slams the trunk, and speeds away. Only later do you notice that one of your bags is missing. To ensure this doesn’t happen Note the driver’s name, cab number, and company when you get in; that way, if anything should happen, you have recourse.

Rome, Italy – While some pickpockets make their living on not being noticed, others do it by getting aggressive and in your face-then ripping you off while you’re distracted. Rome is home to the infamous “fake baby” ruse, which sees a woman trip and throw a bundled doll into your arms, or just drop it on the ground, in an attempt to draw your attention away from pickpockets, often children, nicking your wallet or making away with your camera bag. The solution is simple, mothers don’t randomly throw their babies at people, so just don’t react.

Ubud, Bali – Bali has an altogether unexpected kind of crook-the monkeys who are so beloved that they have their own sacred forest and temple in Ubud, where they’re allowed to roam free. These monkeys can have sticky fingers, going after food if it piques their interest-and, worse, valuables. Some enterprising locals are usually on-hand to coax the monkey to give back its plunder, though they’ll ask for a small tip of up to $3.50. My tip is to avoid the Monkey Forest at all costs as the monkeys there are horrible because they are used to taking things from tourists. If you really want to see monkeys Uluwatu Temple has much better behaved ones.

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1 comment to Notorious travel scams

  • Great post, thank you. We have to let all other tourists know about these scams. I got so frustrated that decided to set up a website aimed specifically at tourist fraud. It’s If you have been scammed and you don’t want other people to suffer, forward the link to your friends, Facebook book it, Twitter it. Let as many people know about it, as possible. The aim of our website is to become the largest online resource detailing all the tourist scams around the world. The more people know about it, the less they will fall prey of these scam artists. Hopefully, once we become large and popular – airlines and tourist agencies will take note of our recommendations and mention our advice to their clients and then there is no hiding for those scam rats!

    Let’s help others not fall victim of the same crime we did! – tourists beware!

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