Anyone that travels will have to encounter this some day, getting scammed abroad.
There are, unfortunately, people that live of scamming tourists. They have turned that into their daily income and are very good and sneakily in getting your money or to get you take certain services of them that they won’t deliver. They can work alone but also in groups and are very skilled in their business. When you get scammed a bit that is not such a big problem. You’ll learn from the experience and have that in your pocket. Next time this won’t happen to you!
There are unfortunately also situations where things go further as to kidnapping for money/pintransactions. I am glad to say that you don’t hear about those that often but I’ll give you an example of such a situation. (Jaipur – India)
Being Scammed Abroad….or Worse?
If you get scammed and that’ll cost you a couple of euro’s, you’ll have that as an experience and that’s not too bad. I have been in a couple of situations from which I think, looking back, I could’ve done that different or this could’ve gone bad.. But still, I haven’t encountered really strange or bad things. I am cautious and won’t go along with every story. Maybe I’ll miss out on some experiences that could have gone good, but on the other hand…I have never had a real bad thing happening to me. That’s worth a lot more than one bad experience that’ll give you fear and/or costs a lot of money!
At Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception, Ho Chi Minh City
Paying to much money on a taxi, HCMC – Vietnam
Everybody will recognize this.It happens everywhere and every tourist takes a taxi so most of the drivers are prepared for us and know how to act.
In Vietnam I paid way to much for a short drive. The driver even went for an extra round so the drive was a bit longer than it was. I got out of a sleeperbus in HCMNC and sat down to check my citymap. I thought I was in the neighbourhood of my hotel and a guy came to help me. He couldn’t find it that quick either but then said, I know where it is. It is too far to walk and I will take you. I do know that if they tell you it is too far to walk you can probably just walk…. But I didn’t recognize anything on the map from hotel I saw in the street we were. So I got on the back of his scooter. After driving a couple of streets we were at the hotel, the driver tried to convince me to even pay some more because it was a long drive after all. It wasn’t at all so I didn’t pay him more then we agreed to in the beginning.
Later that evening I decided to go for a walk, explore the area. When I went into a small side alley and came on the other side I saw the busstop! It was just a 2 minute walk from my hotel!!
The streets of Jaipur, India
When I was in India for the first time (2009), with a friend, we were in Jaipur and went with Lucky to a shop. Lucky was our tuktukdriver and a nice and friendly guy. The shop was in a suburb, far from the tourist area, and it was a jewerly shop. It was more like a house and the first area we entered was a room with couches near the walls. There were a couple of men there and we sat down and got some chai.
We both are not the kind to wear a lot of jewerly and so were not impressed and didn’t want to buy some. I can remember that I went into a room and my friend stayed in that first room. They read the future…They talked flattering about me and wanted to give me a good feeling. They used gemstones to read the future. At some point we had enough and just went. The of course tried to keep us there but we wanted to go. We both work as police officers, maybe that helped. We just went outside and Lucky came with us and brought us back to our hotel. Later, when I was back home, I saw a documentary about some British girls that were kidnapped in such a shop. They couldnt get out and were forced to give money and forced to go to the ATM and get the money and give that to those men.
Thinking back, we shouldn’t had gone in the first place to such an remote area. But still, I felt safe the entire time, didn’t had the feeling of something being wrong. I still ask myself if we were in a situation that could’ve gone wrong? I don’t know. I only know that looking back, the situation has similarities with those of the British girls. They were much younger and….were no police officers. Maybe that was the difference?
I can’t find the situation where I am telling you about. I do find jewerly scams all over India.
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Do you want to take a pack of coffee for me? Guatemala City
I visited Guatemala with my mom, aunt and cousin in 2008. My cousin got asked if we could take some coffee back with us to Holland. Yes, coffee was really good in Guatemala and the owner of the hotel, who was Dutch too, wanted to give that to a familiymember of his. I never forget seeing my cousin running through the hotel, he was scared because he knew what I knew! He ran to us for advice. He told us what the owner had just asked him.
Being Scammed Abroad….or Worse?
Well if something neatralises a scent real good it has to be coffee. I was very causious immediatly, of course we are not going to do that! There can be drugs in there and we are not giong to ship that in to Holland. My mother and aunt didn’t had that feeling…at all! Of course we could do that, why not? It was a nice guy, what is the problem? And yes, it was a nice guy. But being abroad you quickly have a click with people from your background, that is obvious. But after a short discussion we decided not to take it with us. And you never know what was in there.. But it didn’t felt good!!
Tanneries – Marrakesh, Morocco
Getting a tour to the Tanneries in Marrakech, Morocco
The first day we were in Marrakech, my brother and I went to the city and wanted to explore the famous Souks. I was a bit prepared and had read about the tanneries, leather painting, and wanted to visit that too. We were just roaming the area and had the feeling of getting nowhere but seeing so much! There are so many alleys and streets, you quickly have the feeling of getting lost. At some point we were spoken to by a guy, he asked us of we wanted to see the Tanneries, Yes, we would! He was willing to show us the way, well .. that was kind! After we got there another man came in the picture, he was introduced as a worker of the tanneries and was willing to show us around the area. Well that was great! We went along and was shown everything and got some explaining. We were brought to a great viewingpoint and at some point the tour was done. Just before we wanted to leave the mood changed. They wanted money! He didn’t give the tour for free and needed to get paid.
Being Scammed Abroad….or Worse?
Finally after a lot of nagging we gave them 10 euro and thought is was good. The first man walked away with us and showed us the way back, we thought. At some point, in a lonely alley he turned around and started again. He wanted money, he needed to feed his children. He started to scream and waved his arms around. That didn’t really feel good, a bit down the alley was a man sitting on his sidewalk and looking at us. At last we gave some extra change. I was really fed up with him and said to my brother, Come! And said to the man he wasn’t going to get anymore money out of us.
The man didn’t follow us and of course we found our way back. Later that evening we were watching our taken pictures and we saw that second man walking with us from the start!! We didn’t even notice that! Later that year I saw a programm about scams in Marrakech, they were exactly the same!!
Look at it: http://www.travelscamming.com/morocco-tourism-avoid-getting-scammed/
View on beach in front of my hotel, Malapascua – Philippines
Cheap ferry from Malapascua to Cebu
On the beach of Malapascua two guys asked me of I wanted to go to Cebu the next day. It happen to be that I was planning on going to Ceby the next day after spending almost a week on Malapascua. I was still negotiating with the hotel staff about the price they offered, it was too much. So by chance they saw me walking on a dark beach at night and asked me if I wanted to go to Cebu the next day. After the ferry they would go by pick up truck to Ceby City, exactly what I had in mind.
When I came to the island I took a local boat and that costed me nearly nothing, I had read there was a local bus departing from the ferry place to Ceby City and I wanted to take those two. The problem was how to get there, the ferry departed from the another beach and walking with my backpack…well it was very hot! I didn’t turn them down yet but didn’t say yes either.. The next day at my breakfast the guy from the beach came by and asked me if I joined them on the ferry and truck. I turned it down at that point. It didn’t felt good for some kind of reason. They came from out of nowhere and didn’t seem to know any people from the hotel. It was just a strange situation.
It was even more strange when the hotel came at me and asked me to join the ferry some other guest were taking. I could join them for a small fee. All of a sudden it was possible with them. Did they know about that offer and did they know I refused them? I don’t know.
When we came at the island of Cebu I could get in the bus to Cebu City immediatly and we drove for hours back. The whole trip went very smoothly and very cheap!!
Being Scammed Abroad….or Worse?
Trust your Instinct
It is very important to trust your feelings, your instinct. When something doesn’t feel right just don’t do it. You don’t want to spend time on things and looking back and saying…I shouldn’t have done that. Even when the oppurtunity seems so great, if it doesn’t feel good, don’t! Of course there are locals that mean well and go for the experience and not the money of the tourist but I rather miss out on one good experience then to have one bad one. I can use that time on some other experience or visit. Why stay polite?
We are taught to stay polite and in most situations that is really good. But staying polite even if your feelings tells you it isn’t right? Sometimes it is good just to cut it off and walk away. A conman/scammer will take advantage of your politeness by talking and trying to convince you. They will stay in contact with you as long as they can because that enhances their chance of getting what they want. They will check your feelings on what they say and try to get the right motivation for you to go for it. So the longer you talk to them the bigger the chance gets you fall for it.
Are you a victim of a scam or do you know other methods which I should mention?
I would love to hear it from you!
Want to read more about Safe Travel?
Safe Travel in The Philippines
Safe Cycling in Sweden
Rules about Smoking Weed in The Netherlands
What to do When you get Robbed?
Or read about that time that I nearly got scammed in India!
Almost Victim of a Changing Scam – Mumbai, India
Jacomijn is a police officer from The Netherlands who loves to show you how to travel the world Safe, Healthy and Active!! Safe and Healthy Travel is a MUST!