Over 20 million Americans travel overseas every year and that is just a huge volume of potential victims for the scam artists and con men and women out there. They just wait for you and, before you know it, you are scammed, robbed or worse. The one thing you need to remember is to always be aware of your surroundings. Put your phone away once in a while and actually pay attention to where you are.
Also, it’s good to know what might be lurking out there just waiting to take advantage of you while you are lost in your little self absorbed bubble world:
- The fake cop swindle works just about every time. The reason it works is because you are in a strange country and not only don’t know the laws but you would be hard pressed to identify a police officer’s uniform in a strange country. You are approached by an official looking man who identifies himself as a local cop and proceeds to tell you he has to check your money as there had been a bit of a counterfeit problem lately. He just wants to look out for you, just wants to protect you. As he goes through your wallet and hands it back to you, it will be some time before you notice that you wallet is actually empty.
- Next, we have the legendary pickpockets. Remember that pickpockets nearly always work in teams. The diversion is always the key to your taking your attention away from your wallet or bag and looking somewhere else. The diversion can be anything from a woman arguing with a street vendor until a crowd gathers, an old woman falling down in front of you, someone spilling something on your shirt or blouse, or children will just surround you and babble at you asking for money. All the while these diversions are happening, your valuables are being lifted by the unseen, and not felt, partner.
- Finally, the cab drivers are to be paid attention to. They will run scams with the hotels where they will drive you to one but you are forced to pay a ridiculous price because they only have one room left, which they don’t. The cabbie, of course, gets a nice commission. Also cabbies are famous for dropping the bill you handed to them and then come up with a smaller donation bill that they had previously placed on the floor and tell you that you owe them more money.
Just remember to stay awake and keep your wits about you. Not everyone will try and rob you but if your guard goes up immediately, the chances will remain slim that you will be taken advantage of. Listen to your intuition. If it doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pixabay