15 EUROPE SCAMS You need to know before Your trip
here are 15 of the most prevalent scams in Europe and what you can do to avoid them. note that this article does not intend to paint Europe as an unsafe or dangerous place. We only aim to make our readers aware of these cons before their trip.
A trip to Europe is the trip of a lifetime, especially for budget travelers coming from Southeast Asia. We work hard for it. We save hard for it. and for Philippine passport holders like me, we go through the eye of the needle — a rigorous visa application process — for it. The last thing we want is for our dream Euro trip to be ruined by something we could have avoided.
Europe is a destination like no other. It’s culturally diverse, architecturally magnificent, and generally tourism-ready. but if there’s one thing a tourist needs to know before the trip, it’s that Europe is full of scams. Yes, these dishonest schemes can also be found in many other destinations around the world, but they surely exist in Europe, especially in big cities like Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid, Athens, Rome, Milan, Florence, Prague, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Istanbul.
We know this because we have visited 28 European countries over the past few years and we have witnessed and even fallen victim to many of them! We lost our phone in Athens, got taken for a costly cab ride in Istanbul, and lost a lot in bad exchange rates. It never feels good and puts a damper on the trip. We charge them to experience, but we’re writing this so you won’t have to go through them. here are 15 of the scams to watch out for in many touristy cities in Europe and how to avoid them!
מה מכוסה במדריך זה?
2. Taxi Scams
3. Misleading money Changers
4. ATM with bad exchange Rates
5. Petition Scam
6. friendly tourist Scam
7. Bar or Club Scam
8. fake Police
9. The Table Trick
10. The shell Game
11. money Switching
12. Overcharging Restaurants
13. friendship bracelet Scam or flower Scam
14. photo Scam
15. The helpful local Scam
טיפים נוספים ב- YouTube ⬇️⬇️⬇️ פוסטים:
I have a lot of friends who have toured Europe and I can count in one hand those who didn’t lose something to a pickpocket! In fact, on one of our trips, a thieving gang stole Vins’s phone while on the metro!
Their goal: To fish your phone, wallet or cards from your pocket or bag with incredible speed and precision.
Their usual spots: Onboard the metro or bus, at metro stations, at key tourist spots.
Their MO: Pickpocketing is a common problem in most touristy destinations around the world. but pickpockets in Europe are remarkable for one thing — creativity. They usually operate in groups. אחד
is the actual pickpocket, another serves as a lookout or hides the item, while the rest block your view, rattle you, or keep your attention away from your valuables. The distractions can be any of the following:
Someone passes out in front of you and while your attention is on them or you get caught in the commotion, someone else is stealing your valuables.
Someone squirts ketchup, mustard or bird poop on your shirt or jacket, and while you’re cleaning it up, someone is busy cleaning out your purse or pocket.
Two people fight loudly and while you watch them bicker, someone else is trying to rob you.
Someone, usually pretending to be deaf-mute, asks you to sign a petition. While you’re busy writing your name, an accomplice gets your wallet/phone.
Someone pretends to be another tourist and asks for direction.
A sexy lady starts being cozy with you. While you’re busy getting too close, she and another person are busy emptying your wallet without you knowing it.
The door of the train malfunctions and the passenger closest to it helps you open the door so you could exit. What you don’t know is, while you’re trying to hold the door, an accomplice is fishing your phone/wallet from your bag or pocket.
For more information about the tricks that pickpockets commonly use to distract victims, READ: 7 PICKPOCKET tricks IN EUROPE!
How to avoid: Don’t let your belongings out of sight. Don’t put your wallet or phone in your pockets, especially the back pocket. always place your bag in front of you and put your hand on the opening. If something unusual happens, don’t remove your hand on your bag and keep your bag in front of you. If possible, purchase one of those hidden money bags/belts where you can keep some of your cash/cards under your shirt.
In many cities in Europe, the metro is a favorite place of operation for these thieves. They usually target tourists who have just arrived in the city because they have a lot to keep an eye on and they are unfamiliar with the city. They also get confused easily. If you have luggage in tow, you’re a moving target so be extra vigilant.
Vins and I realized that these thugs pick their victims on the platform, before you even board the train. once you hop into the train, they go to their respective positions — two will stand next to the doors, the others near you. So what we usually do now is, we don’t board or alight the train through the same door. When it’s time to alight, we will exit through another door.
Also, don’t put all your cash and cards in one place. keep them in multiple, separate spots so if one gets stolen, you don’t lose everything. We also now keep a decoy wallet, which is empty.
2. Taxi Scams
Sadly, we also fell victim to this. We seldom take a taxi, but in one of those rare moments, we got hit by a three-punch combo scam.
Their goal: get more money from you by taking advantage of you not being familiar with the city
Their usual spots: Airport, train stations, and touristy areas
Their MO: The scams can be any or a combination of the following:
Not using the meter. In cities where using the meter is mandatory, some would still insist on not using it. Don’t let them.
Using tampered meter. Some drivers use a meter that moves much more quickly that normal.
Taking unnecessary detours. because you’re not familiar with the roads, some drivers will take the long way just so their faulty meter would rack in more money.
Switching money. Some drivers would switch your bills when it’s time to pay. We’ll explain this further in the money switching section below.
Always insist on using the meter in cities where not using it is against the law. If they won’t budge, find another cab.
Seek assistance from hotel staff. If you stay at a hotel or hostel, ask the reception to call a cab for you.
Pretend you’ve been in the city for a long time. Although it doesn’t hold true all the time, one of a good sign that your driver is up to no good is asking you if it’s your first time in the city. It’s usually their signal if they would try to screw you or not. First-time visitors are the most gullible. If you’re asked, tell them you’ve been in town for quite a while now. Don’t tell them it’s your first time.
Insist on dropping you off right in front of the hotel. Some drivers who are planning to con you would find an excuse to not drop you off at the hotel. Don’t buy this. They know that a scammed tourist’s first defense is seek help from hotel staff.
Be familiar with the right taxi fare. research first especially if you’re coming from the airport. It’s always good practice to know what the usual fare is.
Use more reliable ride services. We’ve tried Uber multiple times in many cities in Europe and it never disappointed us. Some countries have their own ride-hailing apps like beat in Greece or Cabify in Spain.
3. Misleading money Changers
Money changers are everywhere in Europe. many of them do honest business, but some of them will try to screw you over.
Their goal: get you to exchange money at an awful rate.
Their usual spots: most of us already know that airport rates are terrible, but some thieving currency exchange establishments can be found around touristy sites in major cities.
Their MO: You know how money changers usually have the exchange rates displayed in front of their shops? Well, take a second, closer look at these displays because:
חלק מהחנויות מציגות את המטבע שלך ואת קצב המכירה, ולא את שיעור הקנייה. אם אתה רוצה להשיג מטבע מקומי, אתה אמור להסתכל על קצב הקנייה. לדוגמה, אם אתה בפולין אבל אתה סוחב את יורו ואתה רוצה להחליף אותו ל- Zloty, אתה בטח תבחין במחלפי כסף עם תצוגות שקראו “אנחנו מוכרים: Euro = 4.50.”
מחליפי כסף אלה במקומות תיירותיים בפולין מציגים שיעורי מכירה במקום לרכוש שיעורי.
Looks like a great deal! העניין הוא שאתה מסתכל על התעריף הלא נכון כי מה שזה אומר הוא שהם ימכרו לך את האירו שלהם תמורת 4.50 Zloty. מה שאתה צריך זה שיעור הקנייה מכיוון שהם יקנו את האירו שלך. I know it sounds confusing. Thankfully, I found this really informative video by honest guide that explains this better.
How to Avoid: If I haven’t said it enough, when you’re already in Europe, look at the buying rate instead of the selling rate. If you find that the exchange rate is bad, go look for another place. There usually are honest money changers around. They’re just not as prominent as the bad ones.
4. ATM with bad exchange Rates
If you think you’ll not gonna run into bad exchange rates because you’re using ATMs to get cash, think again. In Europe, you’ll find a lot of non-bank ATMs or bankomat. The problem is, while they allow you to withdraw money easily, the transaction fees and exchange rates are pretty bad. scratch that, insanely BAD. We’ve tried it a few times before just to compare and swore never to use them again.
Their goal: get you to withdraw money at a very bad rate.
Their usual spots: They’re everywhere — in almost every tourist spot in almost every touristy city in Europe.
Okay, fine, these cash machines operate within the confines of the law, but they’re such a ripoff, it surely feels scammy. but it’s not just these international non-bank ATMs. Some local bank-based ATMs also try to dupe you by offering you their so-called dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). מה זה?
In a nutshell, when you’re using an international card to make a withdrawal, the machine will ask you whether or not you want to be billed in your card’s original currency (for example, PHP or USD) or in the destination’s local currency (say, Euro or kuna or zloty or crowns). sounds pretty harmless, right? לֹא. If you agree to be billed in PHP or USD, you’re basically allowing them to set their own exchange rate and you bet they will be using a terrible rate to squeeze more money out of you.
The right thing to do is to choose the destination’s local currency. לדוגמה:
If you’re in Italy or France and the machine asks, “Would you like to be billed in EURO or in your card’s home currency?” choose EURO.
In Croatia, if the machine asks, “Would you like to be billed in KUNA (HRK) or in your card’s home currency?” choose KUNA.
In Poland, if the machine asks, “Would you like to be billed in ZLOTY (PLN) or in your card’s home currency?” choose ZLOTY.
דוחה תמיד את ההמרה הדינמית.
בדוגמה זו, אם הייתי בוחר להמשיך עם המרה דינאמית, הייתי מאבד P1200 בגין משיכת 2000 קונה קרואטית. זה הרבה כסף.
How to avoid: Don’t let them convert for you. בחר תמיד להיות מחויב במטבע המקומי של היעד.
לפעמים, זה כן / לא שאלה: “האם אתה רוצה להיות מחויב בבית שלך בבית / המטבע המקומי שלך?” choose NO or DECLINE.
Sometimes, the machine words it differently. Instead, it will show you the conversion rate and then ask you to choose between “Proceed with unknown Rate” and “Proceed with the Guaranteed Rate.” choose the unknown RATE. לא לבחור את שיעור “מובטחת”. It’s guaranteed to be a bad conversion!
Sometimes, they’re pretty insistent. After you decline, it will ask you one more time: “If you don’t use our conversion, we cannot guarantee the exchange rate that will be applied. האם אתה בטוח שברצונך להמשיך ללא המרה? ” כן, אתה בטוח. לדחות את ההמרה.
5. Petition Scam
I’ve seen this in action in many European cities especially in Paris, Krakow, and Rome.
Their goal: To force you into making a donation and/or steal your wallet or phone.
Their usual spots: Airports, train stations, and other touristy areas.
Their MO: Someone, often a woman, approaches you and asks you to sign a petition. She does sign language, so you would think she’s deaf-mute. After you grace their form with a signature, they will reveal that the petition is actually a donation pledge and insist that you give her money. The thing is, they’re not really deaf-mute! They’re just pretending to guilt you into making a big donation. You’d think it would be easy to shake them off, but no. They will annoy you, follow you or embarrass you to death until you give in.
In other cases, while you’re busy signing, someone else is busy stealing your wallet or phone. Sometimes, they don’t pick pockets but they force tourists into paying them money by
How to avoid: simply ignore them when they approach you and avoid eye contact. (But always make sure you keep an eye on your valuables whenever you go out.) If they insist, tell them you know what they’re trying to do.
6. friendly tourist Scam
We almost fell for this in Istanbul. I was walking around near the blue Mosque when a man asked if I could take a photo of him. Being the kind person that I am (haha, yes, I have to insert that), I obliged. I even took a considerable amount of time waiting for the crowd behind him to clear up and made sure the light hit him right. חחחח. I returned his phone and was about to walk away but he started engaging me in a friendly small talk, asking me questions about where I was from and how I was liking Istanbul so far. then he brought up th