Tourist Scams for the Unwary Business TravelerFebruary 1st, 2011 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on Tourist Scams for the Unwary Business Traveler
Business travelers and tourists alike are all to often easy marks for the sneaky tourist scammer, especially in Europe, where scamming the idiot Americans has become something of a continental pastime. And while the business traveler likes to think of himself as not naive or trusting enough to fall for any of these shenanigans, people far from home lose money and valuables every day to these amoral pranksters.
Here are some specific scenarios to watch out for.
The slow counter: Cashiers all over Europe have been known to indulge in what we’ll call the slow count. They painstakingly count back change at a pace that would give a tortoise delusions of grandeur. Eventually, the frustrated traveler, believing he’s in the presence of an imbecile employee, grabs the stack of cash and leaves – likely short a ten or twenty. This is a good reason not to use big bills.
The jostle: Someone in a crowd near you drops something, or spills something on you and begins to feverishly dab it away, apologizing all the while. You didn’t imagine it. Their hands are all over, and not in search of a cheap thrill. More likely they’re looking for a wallet, money, and credit cards. A variation on the theme is when a waiter or cabbie “accidentally” drops the large bill you just handed
them and comes up with a smaller one, denying you ever gave them the higher denomination.
Helpful locals: Many times, the “helpful” local is anything but. Keep a wary eye on people who want to help you use an ATM, subway ticket machines, storage lockers, or, especially in Rome, official looking attendants who want to help you find your seat, then demand a tip. Another scam involves the con man putting out tacks to deflate a car tire that runs over it, then serendipitously being in the vicinity to help you change it. Likewise, beware the local who warns you about pickpockets, only to observe where you put your wallet for safekeeping so he can help himself to it.
Attractive, flirty women who allow you to buy them drinks, leather jacket salesmen, fake police, room inspectors, found rings, crooked cabbies…the list goes on. Makes you wonder why a business traveler would ever even venture from the hotel room. The secret is to keep your valuable well-protected and trust no one.
The Jetsetter Team
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