Travel is generally as safe as staying at home, however there are always travel scams, travel cons and other nasty ways that criminals can take advantage of those unfamiliar with local ways.
1. Distraction scams
This is when someone distracts you while another person robs you. This is the most common game we’ve seen here in South America. It can be as simple as asking for a light, or a carefully planned attack with several criminals working together.
* oil or mayonnaise on bag.
* also in La Paz, scarf idol.
* ask for time, ask for light.
* ask for change, with a waiting car.
2. Con artists
This is normally a long game, taking from several minutes to a few days. The game is to have you trust the criminal, and find yourself in a place where you are obligated to pay up. Some we’ve found …
* my sister is moving to …
* the card game
* murder in your hostel
* it’s my wife’s birthday (taxi)
When we talk about border scams, we’re not meaning those who insist on a bribe before you get your passport back (that happened to us while leaving Laos), but the transport companies and the border controls with their own little games.
* Thai/Cambodia border
* Mongol rally story
* No passport stamp in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.
4. Virtual kidnapping
You’ve all heard of kidnapping, but virtual kidnapping is a problem too. Basically, you aren’t harmed in any way but your family, friends or colleagues are informed that you’ve been kidnapped and asked for money. By the time you get in touch, the money’s already been sent.