Travel Picks: Top 10 scams to watch out for

Fri Mar 1, 2013 7:55am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Travel is one of life's great pleasures, so it is little wonder travelers are more interested in researching which sites to see and which restaurants to visit than finding out what scams they have to watch out for.

In a foreign country or city, people let their guard down, relax and often behave in a way they never would back home, leaving them open to highly organized tourist scams.

That's why online travel consultants ( have put together a list of the top 10 travel scams to watch out for around the world. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Fake Police

If, as a traveler, you find yourself being accused of a crime you didn't commit, chances are you're dealing with a counterfeit cop. For example, fake police might charge an over-the-top, on-the-spot fine for putting out a cigarette in public. Always check the officer's ID and contact the real police if you have any doubts.

2. Faux Gems

En route to their official destination, dodgy tuk-tuk or taxi drivers take travelers to stores where they are offered deals that are literally too good to be true. The so-called ‘Gem Scam' can actually involve any high-priced or desirable item such as leather goods or "authentic" carpets. Victims soon discover their "jewels" may be nothing more than polished glass and those larger items, well, they never make it back home.

3. Distraction

This can be anything from a child waving a newspaper in your face to an old woman needing assistance or a local helping you wipe a mess off your shirt. While you are distracted, a second crook comes in and swipes your stuff. The key to making it out with all your valuables intact is to pay careful attention to your belongings and others around you.   Continued...

Tourists ask a "tuk tuk" taxi driver for directions along Khao San Road in Bangkok July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang