Thanks for all your entries for the 80 Scams Around the World book giveaway. It seems a fair few of you have fallen victim to the odd scam whilst aboard. It was a hard choice to select the winners – but the following five people will each be receiving a copy of the book:
Strip Club Scam – Estonia
After eight of us spent a night drinking in Estonia trying to avoid the dodgy strip clubs but consuming large quantities of alcohol, we were approached by a bouncer to a strip club offering us the finest women, cheap beer and a good night.
We decided to partake and got led down a staircase in to what only can be described as a dungeon, given a beer each and asked to fork up 40 euros each before the show started. When we tried to leave, four enormous bouncers blocked the only entrance and demanded we pay up.
No one was arguing in this situation, at which point we handed over €320 in cash and made a swift exit. No one wanted to star in ‘Hostel Part 3’ – the live show!
Taxi Scam – Sofia, Bulgaria
In 2003 we spent a week in Sofia, Bulgaria. At the end of it we asked our hotel to call a taxi to the Airport. Within 10 minutes a seemingly normal looking Sofia Taxi pulled up.
After about 5 minutes I noticed the meter was whizzing around about 10 times as fast as the other taxis we had caught. I then looked at the window where the tariff sticker was and sure enough the tariff was 10 times the standard rate.
The concierge at the hotel had called his dodgy mate to come and fleece a couple of tourists, so our £10 fare ended up costing us £100. The icing on the cake was that my partner had got the dates wrong and it was actually the day before we were meant to fly out. Needless to say we caught a different cab back to a different hotel…
Gladiator Scam – Rome, Italy
I was in Rome with my girlfriend on a long weekend and we did the tour of all the famous landmarks. At the Colosseum there were guys dressed as gladiators and offered to take our photo. ‘What a great idea!’ we thought.
One of the guys took the pictures with my camera while the others posed with us. They took three photos and then asked/demanded €30.
‘You what?’ I hear you say! Well I was shocked and annoyed but also a bit scared as there were five of them, but I talked them down to €20 – still a lot but a bit better. Later on I discovered that most people were only giving them a €3 tip. I felt really ripped off and I would count myself a seasoned traveller.
Train Ticket Scam – Lisbon, Portugal
When in Lisbon, a Canadian man came up to us asking if we were English. When we said we were he said ‘Thank God!’ as he had been looking for English speakers. He told us he had been robbed of all his money and his train ticket, and was after money to get back to his hotel 20 miles outside Lisbon. His train ticket was €35 and if we gave him whatever we could afford he would reimburse us on his return home. He offered to show us the Police report on his robbery.
We didn’t think a Canadian would ever be a scammer so gave him €20 in exchange for his email address. As you can guess we never heard anything from him. We have since come across this same scam at many train stations.
You have been warned!
Fake Stewardess Scam – Urumchi, China
In Beijing Airport we were flying to Urumchi in the west of China to see our daughter. A lady dressed in what looked like a stewardess outfit came up to us and spoke in English probably as we seemed a little lost at the departures lounge.
She kindly took us to the correct departure zone and spoke in Mandarin to the staff. Then she turned around and asked for payment of approximately £50 for her assistance.
We then had to quarrel our way out – with help from the airport staff and security. The woman shrieked and bawled at her loss of any payment – but we learned a valuable lesson for the future!
_Did get lucky? Then buy a copy of 80 Scams Around the World from Amazon _