40 common tourist scams to look out for

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/02/40-common-tourist-scams-to-loo.html


Those are very comical, I guess some folks will fall for that…


“The foreign country : you take holidays abroad, and you suddenly realize the country you are visiting is not like yours. Plus, it’s full of foreigners.”

Common in : worldwide.


Score one for Uber!


My buddy was in Thailand and went to a bar with his coworker. They ordered two bottles of Budweiser and were given two bottles that still had caps on them. His coworker said don’t open your beer until after we pay for it. They continually tried to get the bartender’s attention and pay, but she kept ignoring them. They got tired of waiting so they opened their beers and took a sip. The bartender immediately came over and said the beers were $25 each. They got up to leave but were confronted at the door by local guys with sticks and knives. They went back to the bar and paid up. Hard lesson learned.


The Korean "“tea ceremony”.

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The “Music Artist” is sadly still very common in NYC. I see those guys out all the time hassling tourists to take a copy of their demo CDs.


Someone told me of one weird trick used by street urchins in Rome I think? They’d surround their target then start spitting on him. He’d be distracted and raise his hands to defend from the onslaught, allowing for easy access to his valuables.


I’ve run into this in the central american country where I was born, and still have family. The shady cab driver was shocked beyond words, then very apologetic, when I told him he was going the wrong way. I hope he thought twice the next time he was tempted to rip off a gringo.


I received a 419 airmail letter - a real paper in an envelope letter - postmarked Nigeria several weeks after returning from London in the mid-90s. Someone probably had copied the info on my luggage tag while a man claiming to be from West Africa tried to chat me up in Victoria Station.


The chop off your hand from the back of a speeding motorcycle to get your expensive jewelry: They chop off your hand from the back of a speeding motorcyle to get your expensive jewelry.

The Douchebackpack: Get elected president of your democracy by appealing to the worst elements of it, then steal everything and spend all their time golfing ( a classic )

The Douchebag: for a share of the loot of the Douchebackpack throw your constituents under a nearby bus.

The Douchethimble: Vote for the Douchebackpack
and the Douchebag and then when they steal everything and leaves you and your family penniless say he’s doing a great job.

PigFucker for Brexit: Go full David Cameron on people until they puke.

The fake bank robbery - when you go into a bank to cash travellers checks people come in after you and they slip a gun into your pocket, then one of them yells out ‘Look out, they have a gun’, then they create a big scene getting people to hand you over all the money and valuables which they steal some of. When you get sent to the local prison they kill you, cut open your stomach and ship a lot of drugs and a small highly trained monkey back to your country for the funeral.


This ‘free cd’ scam occurs in both Venice and Santa Monica California as well.

Isn’t the term Gypsy considered derogatory?


I’ve recently started seeing the Friendship Bracelet scam here in Los Angeles, usually perpetrated by guys in fake Monk costumes. Before this holiday season, I only ever saw that scam in NYC and London.

On my third trip to Montreal (been there 4 times now), the change I got from one of the fruit or vegetable vendors at Atwater Market included a Brazilian 25-centavo piece, which resembles a $1 CAD Loonie coin if you give it only a cursory look. The Brazilian coin is worth about 4 cents.

I’ve hung onto it, actually; the story was worth well over $0.80 US.

I guess Canadians are just more polite even in their fleece-the-tourist chicanery?


It’s pretty location specific, but the Times Square mascots are a personal disfavorite of mine. Luckily, Triumph’s got us covered:


While touristing in San Francisco, my wife and I were stopped a couple of times while taking photos by people offering to take our picture together. I always declined, even though a couple of times we got a fairly pushy response. I wondered what the ploy was, because these folks did not look fast enough to run off with it. Now I know: you have to pay to get it back.

This can work by the way, if you find another couple who are taking photos as well. They’re usually happy to take turns. When the scammers figure that out, it’s time to buy a selfie stick :stuck_out_tongue:

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The fake menu scam is endemic to basically all hotels in Orlando, including the on-property ones at Walt Disney World.

I encountered the charity petition, with the kids pretending to be deaf and everything, in Berlin. The scam was slightly different, after you signed the petition (under duress, they were very pushy) they’d move their hand to show the right-most column on the petition: “donation”. All the people above you (with a remarkably similar handwriting) donated between 5 and 20€.

I refused to sign the first time I saw them, the story on the paper seemed fake, they knew no sign language (I do) and were just too pushy. The next day I saw different kids with the same paper. I took the guys picture… He was not amused :joy: Followed me around for the length of the square, at first still pretending to be deaf, later even giving that up and shouting abuse. I sent the picture to the local police, I hope he found a better way to make money by now :sweat:


I’ll admit, I got a rather nice tour from an overeager Chinese woman when I was at Tiananmen Square. I even remember some official looking vehicle stopping and quizzing the woman, but since I speak no Mandarin I have no idea what it was about. Fortunately I lost nothing and only got taken to some sort of shop selling mall-kiosk-grade wall art which I eventually just ducked out of.

The very same day I’d already fended off what I thought were requests to use my camera to take a photo of me (I at least knew better than that) but instead turned out to be some dude who wanted to take his picture with me with his camera. Possibly to get close enough to steal my stuff, but I was told it was just because he was a dude who wanted to prove he had met a real live American. Go figure.