If you are planning on going on vacation in Europe sometime soon you should know- some locals are going to be hassling you. The fact is, that every country has it’s own way on how to scoop extra cash from tourists… In a lot of places the prices will mercilessly increase by 150% when you’ll address locals in English and give in the fact that you are here on vacation, other places you could just end up in a taxi that would take the longest way possible to get you to your destination… But these are things that we all know to expect, here are 8 things you might not have known:
The Flat Tire – Italy
Road-bandits in Italy have a “safe” way to make sure you will have to pull-over. While your car is parked these bandits will puncture one of your wheels and ride along after you when you leave the parking lot. Once you notice the flat and decide to stop the car, they will drive by and offer their help. While “helping” they will rob you and flee the scene.
This type of fraud is most common around Napoli, so try to see who’s offering you a hand, and prefer calling the rental company once this thing happens, instead of letting strangers pitch in and help.
Fake Charity – France
In France, like in many other countries, you will encounter baggers on the streets. But unlike most baggers and charity donation collectors, a group of local kids are pretending to be crippled while collecting money for a charity fund that is meant to support sick children. They would also ask you to sign a petition to help their cause.
The French government see these acts in a really bad eye, and the penalty for those who pretend to be asking for charity money is a Million Euros!!
Pay To Pass – Spain
Around the Gibraltar area, locals create fake check-up points that require a payment to pass. There is no entrance fee to Gibraltar, so if you run in to these villeins- don’t pay up, do not leave your car and keep your valuables in plain sight.
Fake Cops – Czech Republic
This type of fraud is done in groups. Robbers wearing police uniform will be asking you to pull over and once spotting that you are tourists, take advantage of the fact you are not aware of the local law and blame you for a bogus traffic violation. The way to spot these frauds from real cops blaming you for things you didn’t know was illegal is very simple:
These robbers will ask you for your passport and wallet, which is illegal for a cop to do in the Czech Republic. Once encountering these villeins simply ask to be taken to the local police station- they will normally let you go or flee the scene.
Fake Money – Hungary
In Hungary you need to be aware of taxi drivers offering to convert or change money for you. They will be using fake bills, some even not similar to the real ones, knowing you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Make sure to always change money at change stations or at the airport.
Restaurant Scandals – Holland
In Holland you need to watch your things if someone walks into the restaurant you are sitting in and start looking for his friend- very loud. These people, who work in pairs of groups, will be creating a distraction on purpose in order to lift your iPhones or bags from your table while you are looking at the very loud person.
When sitting in restaurants in Holland make sure to have your jacket close by and your phone and cash on you if possible. If you have your bag and jacket on the sit next to you and someone goes in the place starts making a scene- grab your things and stay alert.
Billing Extra – Croatia
In Croatia you might find yourself looking at a restaurant bill containing items you never ordered and don’t even understand what they are. In a lot of cases, even if you don’t have money to pay for the “Extra” service- the restaurant’s staff will escort you to the ATM in order for you to get the money you “owe” them.
There’s not much to be done in these cases other than to check restaurant reviews on social media before you go out.
That’s Not Even A Taxi Driver – Poland
Around tourist attractions and the airport you could find a lot of taxi drivers. Before getting into a taxi make sure that the meter works! There are fake taxi drivers there who claim that their meter “broke” and will drive you but charge you an obscene amount of money knowing you have no idea how much travel costs in Poland. Make sure to always have a meter in your taxi and check the name of the company in the logo to make sure it’s a real taxi company.
Got any warnings of your own? Add them here to the comment section!
And most important- stay safe!
These conclusions were drawn by the Israeli AIG insurance company, after studying numerous cases of tourists insurance claims in Europe. See original article in Hebrew.