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10 Most Common Tourist Scams

It's bad enough feeling like a tourist, let alone feeling like a stupid, naive tourist, so be aware of ways people try to take advantage of tourists. Some of these seem too ridiculous to ever fall for, but scammers specialize in being very convincing.

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  • 1. The "friendship" bracelet

    If you've ever been to Sacré Coeur in Paris, you'll have seen these guys at work. They'll approach you and ask if you can help them make a "friendship" bracelet. If you don't instantly walk away, you'll end up with a cheap bracelet tied around your wrist. Since you can't easily take it off, you'll feel obliged to pay up.

  • 2. The baby throw

    This is an especially cruel scam. Locals will place a baby in your arms and, while you're helplessly trying to deal with the baby, they can easily take your wallet or purse. Dropping the baby isn't really an option.

  • 3. The Stripper

    An attractive woman begins arguing with a street vendor, who is accusing her of shop-lifting. She begins to strip, showing that she hasn't stolen anything. Only when the street vendor apologizes and the woman leaves will the men watching the spectacle notice that their wallets are missing.

  • 4. The "helpful" local

    The "concerned" local is a common disguise for thieves and pick-pockets. Obviously, never let a stranger help you buy a subway ticket or get cash out of an ATM. Refuse help from official looking "attendants" at the Rome train station. They'll help you find a seat and then demand a tip.

  • 5. The Slow Count

    Cashiers will count you change slowly, pausing often with the intention that rushed and impatient tourists will quickly gather the incorrect change.

  • 6. The Flirt

    For male travelers, a gorgeous woman who invites you for a drink could be in on a scam with the bar. After a few drinks, a check that is several hundred dollars higher than you expected, and two bouncers guarding the door, you could end up a broke traveler.

  • 7. The Broken Camera

    Someone asks you to take a picture of them. As they hand you the camera, they deliberately fumble it, breaking it on the ground. They will either demand you pay for it, or pick-pocket you as you pick the camera up.

  • 8. The Beijing "Tea" Party

    A common scam in China is to invite tourists to a "special tea ceremony" and the ridiculously overcharge them. One guy was charged £360.00 for tea!

  • 9. The Bogus Police

    Two police will approach you, demanding to search you for counterfeit and "drug" money. Once they have returned your wallet and left, you will notice you have considerably less bills than you had before.

  • 10. The Ring

    Someone picks up a ring in front of you and asks if you dropped it. Saying no, the person shows you a mark "proving" its high value. They will then offer a price much higher than what they paid before they dropped it.