Think getting pooped on by a bird is just unlucky? It's actually part of a scam used by crafty thieves around the world.
We at GoAbroad don't want you to become a paranoid traveler, but we do want you to be aware of some common scams that could put a damper on an otherwise amazing trip. Quiz yourself and become familiarized with common scams from around the world.
1. A taxi driver approaches you at the airport and tells you there was an accident on the train line but that he could drive you to your destination at a great rate. Do you:
a. Hop in his cab and think about how lucky you are to have met such a nice cabbie
b. Say, "No thanks I already have a ride."
c. Tell him you'd prefer to check the train line for yourself
d. Smile and walk away. What did that guy just say?
Answer: Anything but A. Cab drivers don't usually approach people for rides. To be safe check out the situation for yourself. You can always hail a different cab.
2. A police officer approaches you and asks to see a form of identification. He informs you that you don't have the right form and fines you $25. Do you:
a. Ask him why you were stopped in the first place, listen to his reasoning, pay and go about your business
c. Ask to see his badge and refuse to pay unless you see more paperwork
d. Tell him his foreign laws don't apply to you
Answer: C. Always ask to see identification, never let someone bully you into paying a fine in cash and never hand your entire wallet to a police officer.
3. You're outside enjoying some street food when a fight suddenly breaks out. Do You:
a. Continue eating and pay little attention to the fight
b. Rush to the circle forming around the scuffle
c. Get out your camera and start capturing fight footage
d. Pick a side and join the brawl
Answer: A . It's common for a distraction to be created in order for thieves easily grab wallets from a large group of bystanders. Avoid the situation all together by staying away from the crowd.
4. You grab a taxi to head to a pub and notice the driver takes an odd route and even circles the block a few times. Do you:
a. Not even notice this. You're in a different country; you don't know how to get anywhere!
b. Ask the cabbie why he's taking that route and suggest the route you're familiar with
c. Assume that he's lost and politely wait for him to arrive at your destination
d. Ask the driver to stop. Get out of the cab and hail a new one
Answer: B. It's possible that this guy is driving you all over town to run up your tab. Politely say something if you think this is the case. BONUS ANSWER: Sometimes you can agree on cab fare before you reach your destination and pay upfront. This is the best option when dealing with cab drivers. Just make sure you know the rate and how far you're going so you aren't tricked into overpaying.
5. You're exchanging some money for Euro, but the woman at the service desk is counting really slowly. She stops counting. Do you:
a. Grab your Euro and get out of there. You have better things to do
b. Wait to see if she continues counting and then leave
c. Tell her to speed it up
d. Tell her to keep counting; you know you have more Euro coming your way
Answer: C or D. Whenever you exchange money, make sure you know the exchange rate and how much money you're expecting to receive. Some places may try to trick you by counting slowly or by giving a reverse exchange rate. To be safe, ask a program adviser where the best place to exchange money is.
6. You're in the park and a bird poops on you. A bystander rushes over to wipe off your clothes. Do you:
a. Stand there, bewildered, as you're patted down by a stranger
b. Thank the bystander for being so helpful
c. Kindly decline the bystander's assistance
d. Back away from the bystander and try to prevent her from touching you
Answer: D. Try to avoid being touched as soon as possible. This person could try to grab anything on you that isn't secured. Politely saying "no" won't work if they're persistent. This could happen with anything spilled on you, so be aware. Keep bags between your legs when sitting or standing in a public area.
7. You hail a cab and ask to be taken to a specific restaurant. The cab driver tells you it's closed, but he knows of a better restaurant you could try. Do you:
a. Tell him you think the restaurant is open and ask him to take you there to double check
b. Say okay, take me to your restaurant
c. Say you've suddenly lost your appetite and ask to be taken home
d. Ask him what other restaurants he would recommend.
Answer: A. If you did research and know a restaurant is open, double check before going somewhere else. Some taxi drivers are paid commission by restaurants, so it's possible your driver just wants more money.
8. Some attractive locals notice you and ask if you'll help them learn your language. Maybe you could go to a tea shop and chat? Do you:
a. Decline their offer
b. Help choose a tea shop and offer to buy the tea
c. Suggest going to a park instead
d. Find a tea shop but keep a close eye on your new friends
Answer: A or C are the best answers. If this is a scam, the con artists will take you to a specific tea shop (or bar), even if it seems like you chose it. As a group you could end up buying a lot of drinks, but you'll be ditched and left with the bill.
9. You're staying in a hostel or a hotel and receive a phone call from the front desk saying your credit card information wasn't processed correctly. Do you:
a. Give the caller your credit card information
b. Say, "That's too bad; guess I won't be charged!" and hang up
c. Tell them you'll go down to the front desk when you get the chance and sort things out
d. Spend the next 20 minutes trying to figure out if you went over your limit
Answer: C. A hotel or hostel will never call and request credit card information over the phone.
10. You're sitting at an outdoor cafe when you notice keys on the ground near you. Do you:
a. Continue eating. It's not your problem
b. Pick them up so you can find who lost them
c. Look around and shout, "Did anyone lose their keys?"
d. Secure your bag and then pick them up
Answer: A or D. The smallest distractions can give thieves enough time to snatch your bag, camera or anything near you. To be safe, leave the keys on the ground. If you feel an overwhelming need to pick them up, secure your belongings first.
Did you pass? While abroad, make sure to always be aware of your surroundings and possessions. Be confident and get out of situations if they feel wrong. Safe travels!