Wherever you travel you’ll find strangers who will help you – and others who will abuse your trust! Saga points out some of the commonplace scams confidence tricksters use, to help you spot them before they happen…

The idea of a holiday is to get away from Britain’s mundane shores and see the wider world, but it can be a real shock when something goes wrong. You may feel like you have been targeted by a scam artist because you are a tourist, so it’s important to stay vigilant. Even some of the most experienced travellers have been scammed before, so take note in the fact that you are not alone.

Simply being aware of these scams can make a world of difference. The woven-bracelet scam was made famous in Italy and France; it where someone emerges and constructs a bracelet around your wrist using colourful string which are tied so tightly that you cannot remove it. They then would accuse you of stealing if you refuse to pay for it. This is a popular scam in Paris at places like the Eiffel Tower and Montmatre’s Sacre Coeur.

Enjoy the nice views of Paris from Montmatre. And watch out for scammers whilst you’re at it! (Photo by: gigi4791).

This is avoidable enough, by simply walking straight on and ignoring people that look like they may be participating in this kind of scam. Just be wary about being offered things that you do not need or want, as it could prove a costly mistake. If this fails there is always the police, but by that point it may be too late. 

Another scam in popular city destinations is the ‘this is closed‘ lie. Here, a taxi driver will pretend that the particular restaurant or bar you are wanting to go to is closed. His intention is to take you to another restaurant or bar, from which he will receive commission from the proprietor of that venue. Again, this is easily avoidable. Simply make sure that the taxi driver takes you to where you have said you want to go and find out for yourself.

You can find out about more scams at SAGA’s website. They are a travel insurance company and as such, it is in their interests for you to remain safe when travelling abroad!

Be aware that these scams exist and that as a tourist you may well be targeted. However, they are avoidable. Being aware is one step, the second is to be vigilant when abroad so that you can enjoy any holiday to its full potential.

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