A European Getaway has become a rite of passage for young Australians leaving school ready to explore the world. But it’s not just backpackers, Europe has become a hub, for travellers of all kinds. Whether you’re travelling in a large group, solo, in your youth or later in life, the layered history, detailed architecture and culinary delights of Europe will have any traveller amazed.
The unfortunate reality is Europe is full of tourist scams. Tourists are easy to spot, with selfie sticks, expensive cameras and a lack of understanding for the local language. To scammers, tourists are walking gold mines, with pockets full of cash they are commonly taken advantage of, and those who are unaware of the premediated scams often fall victim.
It pays to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, to avoid being scammed out of your hard-earned money. If you’re heading to Europe soon read up on these common scams to know what to look out for!
Avoid these scams in Europe!
The “Found” Ring
A con-artist will pick up a gold coloured ring in front of you and ask if you dropped it. When you say no, the person demands that its real gold and offers to sell it to you for a ‘good price’. However, the ring is not gold but made of cheap metal. You will be forced to buy it at an exorbitant price.
Vendors at street markets may see susceptible targets to scam money from. If you spend time looking at a stall but don’t buy anything, the vendor may chase after you, claiming that you ‘stole’ from them. The vendor will follow and yell in the local language that you do not understand. They demand you give them money, or they will call the police. As you don’t know what is happening the scammer hopes you will hand them money to diffuse the situation. This scam is commonly targeted towards non-native speakers and solo females, who may fear confrontation.
Young attractive men will approach you with a bunch of roses and offer you one. If you accept you will be asked to pay an unreasonable price. If you decline, you will be pestered and followed until you accept and pay up.
Much like the rose scam the intentions of this scheme appear much sweeter than the sinister goal of the scammers. You’ll be approached and given a ‘friendship bracelet’. Your wrist will be snatched, and the scammer will tie a bracelet so tightly it will be impossible to remove. The scammer will demand money for the bracelet. If you try to flee, you will be followed and often pickpocketed by another accomplice while you sort the situation. While this scheme is most frequently executed with a bracelet, string tied around you and even temporary tattoos have also be noted as similar forms of this scam.
The Clipboard Petition
A women with a clipboard will approach you and ask for a signature to help a worthy cause. While she has you distracted, her accomplices will pickpocket you.
The Street Vendor
The people selling selfie sticks, landmark mementoes, and ‘genuine fake’ leather goods may look innocent but be wary. They will inflate the price of all of their items, and while you’re distracted, another scammer may pickpocket your valuables.
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