When it comes to falling for a scam, foreigners overseas are brilliantly naive souls who make the perfect targets.
Whether it be forking out too much money for a taxi fare or being led to a restaurant you absolutely didn’t ask to be taken to, we compiled the most common scams Mamamia staff have been subjected to, and how you can absolutely avoid them.
Paying far too much for a taxi from the airport
Paying too much for a taxi or tuk tuk is particularly common for Aussie’s abroad who haven’t had time, or the inclination, to do much research.
Take yours truly for example, when I was once travelling in Laos. I had arrived at a new city at night, and hadn’t been smart enough to research exactly where our hostel was before arriving. So, with no internet in sight, we simply asked the closest tuk tuk driver to take us there. After taking us on quite the scenic route, we arrived back at the bus stop, where the hostel was nestled right behind. We payed, shook our heads and bid a very convincing well-played to our scammer.
How to avoid: Google. Your. Fares.
Also, according to Travel Talk Magazine, it’s also worth keeping an eye on the meter – if there is one.
“When you board a taxi, always be sure to pay close attention to the meter reading. If the amount displayed before you start your trip seems excessive, your driver may be using a night time or holiday fare,” the site says.
The “deaf kids” petition in Paris
Those who have traveled to Paris will be well-versed with the infamous “deaf kids” petition that does the rounds in tourist hot spots.
Tourists are targeted, asked to sign a fake “petition” and then invited to donate some money.
According to Corporate Travel safety, there’s a few ways to know if you’re being scammed.
“The petition is usually in English – which should immediately raise your suspicion as you are in a non-English speaking country.
“When it comes to the Fake Petition Scam, know that the majority of the time the petition the scammer shows you is not official. It is not even a petition.”
How to avoid: Best to steer clear of petitions.
A little more tuk-tuk trickery
More than one Mamamia staffer says they have fallen for a bit of tuk-tuk trickery when arriving in a new city.
They recall jumping into a tuk-tuk and requesting a lift to a hotel or a temple, a shop or a tourist attraction. Often, the driver would tell them it was closed down or not worth visiting, suggesting another “better” option.