Avoiding scams whilst checking out popular expat destinations

Published:  18 May at 6 PM
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Would-be expats spending time off in their chosen destination before the actual move should watch out for the tourist traps they’ll encounter regularly once they’re residents in the region.

Unless you’re relocating due to your job, visiting your chosen destination several times before you leave your home country and dive into expat life is an essential part of the emigration process. It enables you to view the region as a resident rather than just a tourist as well as familiarising yourself with what to avoid as well as what to embrace. Remembering that you’ll likely be seen as a tourist rather than a potential resident will help you avoid many of the tourist traps in favourite destinations.

If your chosen county of residence includes famous historic sites or areas of natural beauty, you’ll find yourself walking into a good number of scams aimed at visitors. You’ll also be viewed as a victim by pickpockets and other low life determined to part you from your, watch, wallet and expensive camera or smartphone. Avoiding petty crime by securing all your valuables is straightforward, but dealing with tourist scams can be tricky.

Extortion scams such as being locked in a taxi whilst your driver demands more cash, getting caught in a shakedown by fake or even real police and being blamed for causing an accident are scary and happen the world over. Travelling in a group, avoiding major tourist sites, heightening your awareness levels and getting out of Dodge fast if necessary can minimise the risk, as can familiarising yourself with the most popular scams.

One of the worst scams involves deception by a fellow traveller or friendly local posing as a genuine guy. These crooks will do anything to have you believe they’re the real deal, including showing you around, buying you a small lunch or suggesting the best budget hotel in the area. However excited you are about your trip and your plans for the future, don’t be fooled as all they’re after is your money. Sadly, these types aren’t always locals, as expats down on their luck are often involved.

Another scam to watch out for involves roadside and market sellers claiming their good are genuine. Counterfeit goods are everywhere nowadays, and can be almost exact copies of the originals but usually have one or two giveaways, the most obvious of which is the price! To ensure you don’t get caught, stay away from street stalls, touristy markets and anyone selling so-called antiques. If you’d like a genuinely old momentum of your visit, either go to a reputable gallery or get a professional to advise you on your purchase. Using common sense means you’ll leave with memories rather than regrets.
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