3 Card Monte, Common Travel Scams to Avoid

11 Common Travel scams to avoid don`t be a victim

Well, I have been a victim of some of these common travel scams to avoid and am here to highlight them and how you can avoid them.

Whether you`re a local or international tourist you can easily be a victim to some of these traps. No matter how smart you may think you`re. You can be the next victim in the least expected situations and locations.

I will highlight the Common Travel scams to avoid around the world but the scammers keep getting smarter as time and cybersecurity and technology keep advancing and so should you to be always safe.

Without much ado, here are the common travel scams to avoid when travelling or even in your today in and out business. Pay attention!

Booster Bag Scam!

This one happens in Airports and Restaurants, as shown in the video above. This is a large bag with a bottom Opening.

When you`re the victim identified, the scammer will prowl on you until they get a chance to place the booster Bag on your bag.

Pause and pretend to be looking at the phone for a second then proceeds walking and the job is done just like that.

The booster Bag is usually bigger than your bag. It is such a smooth and easy scam trick. I hope no scammers here to copy the same though.

How to avoid this scam!

Always keep your eyes on your bag, okay that can be challenging, well as for me since am always carrying my laptop.

I keep it on the table where I can easily see it by default. Or rather keep your bag on your laps when in the restaurant. That way you will be 90% safe from being a victim.

Hotel Check out Scam.

The video above illustrates this and several other scams!

This one should never happen to you; it is painful I can promise you. Now, imagine all your packed stuff for a period of one week goes with someone else? Huh, this would crush me.

It mostly happens in high-end hotels and one of the common Travel scams to avoid at all cost.

This is how they do it.

Some lady will come to the hotel reception and claim she is waiting for someone. She will be privy to use the internal call system.

Some hotels have room calls from the reception lounge. She will make random calls (“Hi this is reception, you`re checking out today we would like to send a porter to assist you with bags?”

Obviously, if you`re checking out you will say yes and if you`re not, you`re probably going to mention your check out dates by default) everybody know the check out time is 10 AM. So, when she identifies her victim.

She will signal her partner who is already in the hotel compound. She has already given him the room number.

The “porter” will dress like a porter with even a fake tag name just to make it official and convincing.

Once on the room door, he will knock and explain he has come to assist with the bags. “You will find your belongings at the reception”. You`re most likely to even tip him for the kind gesture.

Once in the lobby, the waiting lady will join her “guest” and hurriedly exit the hotel with a waiting taxi.

How to avoid this Travel scam.

Always Accompany your porter, as much as you may trust the hotel. Just follow the porter and if you were not ready to check out. Tell them to wait for you to walk down together.

Credit Card Number.

You`re in your hotel room and receive a call-in at odd hour mostly early in the morning. “Hi, this is the reception we would like to verify your credit card number”. They are calculative.

This is the time you`re half asleep and not thinking straight. Chances are you will give out the number so you continue with your sweet sleep. Before you even wake up, your money is long gone.

How to Avoid.

Never give your credit card number over the phone, just never. Tell them to wait until morning you will come in person. After all, you need to swipe and don`t need my card number.

Wi-Fi Scam

Talking of credit card number, it reminds me of a WIFI scam even though I doubt if this happens anymore. However, it is better to be safe than sorry.

When you walk into a mostly fancy restaurant, they have Wi-Fi. Hackers can hack the restaurant internet system and create their own login details which will need your credit card number.

The dumbest part is, filling in your credit card number. As much as this may look obvious. Some people can confidently log in with their card number.

The hackers will access your number and shooks, that is how you got scammed.

How to avoid this Scamming.

Never fill in your card number to untrustworthy sites, furthermore you should enquire the restaurant supervisor why the heck do they need your card number to access the wifi?

Bartender Scam

This one of the common travel scam to avoid especially when they notice you`re new in town.

It is hard to notice unless you`re too keen or simply a former bartender. Okay, not all bartenders can scam you but some will, just watch out.

How they do it.

There are many ways a bartender can scam you, the first one is when you`re taking your shots.

For example, if you`re doing Gin. Your glass brim will be dipped in a plate or sponge-like with Gin and your glass will have a heavy smell of your drink. Then if you had ordered for double you will be lucky to get one full shot.

Then the bartender will turn to face you pouring in tonic generously to cover their deeds. It happens so fast that you will never notice.

You may even start bragging to your friends how you never get drunk.

Shell Game.

Shell Game
Shell Game

Am a victim (It is okay to laugh) this happened when I was in college. I did not have much knowledge of the tricks and common travel scams to avoid in big cities.

I got ripped off all my pocket money in a blink of an eye. I understand this is one of the most common travel scams the world over.

They will be along busy but kind of hidden streets to avoid the authorities. It is usually 3 cards where they shuffle and tell you to place your money on the correct card and if you win. They will double or even sometimes triple the amount.

Mmh, easy money eeh? Well, the simple and accurate answer is. It is Not! Run!

The shuffler is usually not alone, he has shills, these are the people surrounding the shuffler. “They will win easy Money” to encourage you to play for a game you will never win.

Funnily the more you lose the more you will want to play more to recover your losses but this will never happen. You will keep losing until your pockets run dry.

How to avoid this common travel scam?

Simple! Don’t play, never play the shell game!

Free Bracelet.

This is a common travel scam to avoid and I think every other travel blog talks about it. When in a curio shop or even in an open market place looking for a suitable souvenir.

They will offer you a “free bracelet” and even offer to wrap it for you on your wrist. Only for them to demand money and if not, careful they may refuse to take it back and only demand to pay for it.

If you hesitate they may intentionally start drama and to avoid this, you end up paying for something you never intended to buy. They tend to target women.

Don’t accept free things, say a simple thank you and continue walking.

Passport Travel Scam to Avoid.

According to CNBC Passport data sells in three formats on the dark web, digital scans, templates for creating a finished passport and actual physical passports.

These range in price from $5-$65 for scans, $29-$89 for templates and up to $5,000 for the finished product.

When travelling you should guard your passport in all possible ways possible. Furthermore, your passport can be used to commit a crime or even terrorism and this can get you in lifetime trouble.

How they do it.

You`re in a foreign country and they can smell you from a distance. They like targeting numbers of 2 to 4 pax.

They will trail you, and one of the gangs will seat with you in a let`s say a restaurant and when the right time check-in they will strike.

The scammers will pose as policemen, then come your way and start with the gang member who joined you posing as a tourist.

“Policeman” will demand his passport and he hurriedly gives it out without asking questions to encourage the victims to do the same without questions.

So, you hand over and the fake policeman receives a radio call from the third gang member pretending there is an emergency.

The radio is loud enough and you can hear everything, so he dashes, saying he will be right back. The gang member who joined you pretends to call 911 yet he is speaking to his fellow scammers.

After the call, he assures you that he was told not to worry and the police officer will be back in 20 Minutes.

After some while, the scammer who was seating with you will excuse himself to go to “washrooms” never to return.

Before you realize you have been conned, they are long gone.

How to avoid this Travel scam?

Never give out your passport to anyone you`re not sure of. And if is police like in this case even if they are in uniform, they should show you their badge. Or at least prove to you they are indeed police.

Avoid “Daughters of Jezebel”.

One of the Common Travel Scams to avoid
One of the Common Travel Scams to avoid

So, you cross the street from your hotel to have a few drinks and experience nightlife. Before you even order your first drink.

Some beautiful lady comes your way. Introduces herself and starts vibing you all the sweet nothings you are never told back at home and she sweeps off your feet, thinking how lucky you`re to have her. How timely?

Pause, ask yourself why did she single you out? Of all the men in that club, she saw you.

They know foreigners and the end goal is to rip you off. You are most likely to be drugged and robbed of everything.

How to avoid this? Probably be faithful to your lady.


It doesn’t matter if you’re tech-savvy, a serial traveller or the smartest in the room. Remember you`re eligible and can be scammed in a snap of a figure.

The most important thing is to stay on high alert and TRUST no one, not even yourself. These scammers up their game every other day. It is their way of life and bills must be paid.

Have you ever been scammed while travelling? Let me know about your experience in the comments section below.

Also Read,

Stay Protected While Travelling!

Everybody gets worried about getting something lost, stolen, Brocken or falling for a scam? Get travel insurance coverage EVERY TIME YOU TRAVEL

3 Card Monte, Common Travel Scams to Avoid

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