How to Avoid Common Tourist Scams

Tourists are big targets for scammers and thieves. Don't let stolen items ruin your trip

Knowing where your belongings are at all times can help protect you from being scammed

Unfortunately, theft and scams are all too prevalent in metropolitan cities around the world. Avoid these common tourist scams the next time you travel

Europe has earned a reputation as quite a creative place when it comes to travel scams. Big cities like Paris, Barcelona, London and Rome are said to have the highest number of scam artists looking to take advantage of naïve or distracted tourists. Here are a few common scams to watch out for.

Common Scams

Pick Pockets: Pick-pocketing is not a new technique for thieves but the way they distract you in order to do so seems to be getting more and more creative! 

The latest scams usually involve someone trying to give you something. This could be trying to put a bracelet on you or handing you something they say that you dropped.  Bottom line; don’t take anything from a stranger that you didn’t ask for. Just ignore them.

The Short Change Scam: Make sure you are getting the correct change back from cashiers and waiters in restaurants. These types of scammers bank on the fact that tourists won’t be familiar with foreign currency. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the local money before you go.

Hotel Thieves: When travelling, it might not be a good idea to leave your more expensive jewelry at home. If you really want to bring something valuable, leave it in the hotel safe along with your passport and other important documents. I also recommend making copies of any important documents. You can take a picture of them with your smartphone or scan and email them to yourself. Having copies can really save the day if they’re stolen or lost.

Finally, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.

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Claire Newell is the travel media expert for Global BC, host of the travel series Operation: Vacation, best-selling author, spokesperson, wife and mother of two. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.