We all agree that Europe is one of the best destinations to travel and explore. The continent provides a great variety of different cultures, traditions and landmarks to discover. Although Europe is one of the safest places in the world where you can travel, petty crimes like scamming and pickpocketing is pretty common practice in European cities. Especially in the ones that are very famous touristy places. While you might be enjoying the scenic views and masterful architecture of Rome, Paris or Berlin, you should be aware of the most common travel scams in Europe and the ways how you can prevent yourself from falling for them.
Here is the list of the most Common Travel Scams in Europe and the ways to avoid them:
The Gold Ring Scam
This is one of the oldest tricks of con-artists. Imagine, you are walking in the street and enjoying the views of the city. Suddenly you come across the ring that looks like a wedding or engagement ring in the street. What you do? – It’s normal human reaction to take it, so you can ask around if anyone has lost it or take it to the police station. Once the ring is in your hands, some people will approach you and ask whether it’s your ring or not. Once you refuse, these con-artists will start making demands to give them money in exchange of the ring, because technically it’s in your hands.
One way to avoid paying any amount of money is to put the ring back in the street and get out of the scene as fast as possible. While some people say that it’s almost impossible to end up without paying anything, faster you ditch the ring and keep going, more chances you have to avoid getting scammed.
Fake Police Scam
In some cities of Italy, you might be stopped by people who are dressed in Police Uniforms. Although there are significant differences between their and real police’s uniforms, it’s hard to identify as a tourist. Once they stop you, they will ask the permission to search your pockets and wallet with an excuse that they are looking for the drugs. In reality, they are stealing your information and money from your wallet.
The best way to avoid getting scammed is to ask them for some documentation, that they really are police officers. Another way is to tell them that you will show them your documents only at the police station. Once they know that you aren’t going to pay, they will leave you behind and move on to the next target.
No Prices in the Menu
This is yet another old trick from the books of con-artists. Imagine you walked all morning around the city, took some cool pictures and now you are stopping by at one of the restaurants for well-deserved lunch. The staff will give you the menu which doesn’t have prices in it. And this is where the scamming begins. If you don’t question the lack of the prices in the menu, you will order food and get charged 10 times more than normally. Their excuse will be that these are the prices at this restaurant. And since you have already eaten your food, you have to pay, like it or not.
Most effective way to avoid this scam is to ask right away why there are no prices in the menu. If they don’t provide the menu with the actual prices, just leave. Be sure that there will be plenty of other restaurants around.
Taxi Drivers Scam
This is the scam that has been going on all around the world. It’s your first time in a certain city. Obviously, you don’t know the streets. So, you tell the driver to take you to the exact location. Once the driver knows that you are just another tourist, he turns on the counter and takes you with longer route. Sometimes, they drive on circles until the counter says some good chunk of money. Once you are there, you have practically no chance to leave without paying.
Best way to avoid this scam is to use taxi apps, like Bolt, Uber, Freenow etc. They provide the fixed price for the ride. Besides, in case something goes wrong within the ride, you can be sure that you get your money back after contacting the support team.
Snap the Scammer
Well, this is more like a robbery rather than scamming. The situation is the following: You are visiting some historic or beautiful landmark in the city. And you want to take the best picture possible. Out of nowhere someone might approach you and offer help. Once you hand over your phone to them and start posing, they run. And while you need some seconds to realize what happened, they are already gone.
The only way to avoid getting robbed in such a manner is to keep your camera/phone for yourself always. It might be awkward to turn their offer down, but hey, it’s better than finding yourself without a phone.
Here we presented some of the most common travel scams that you might encounter in Europe. The best way to avoid getting scammed is to know how different scams work and what are your options to refuse elaboration. However, scams like this might happen everywhere around the world and this might not stop you from traveling and exploring. If you are planning to visit Europe next year, make sure that you check out the ETIAS website for all-EU travel related information.