Going to school in New York City, you
probably think you know everything there is to know about avoiding
scams. You also probably know how to spot a tourist from 5 blocks
away. With that in mind, it's time to accept that, soon, YOU
will be the tourist!
The Most Common
- Train Stations
Train stations tend to attract some shady
characters, so always stay alert whenever you are in or near one.
One of the most important things to remember is that if someone
approaches you for a favor or proposes a nice gesture, there is
probably something fishy about the situation.
- Ticket Exchanges
As stated above, there is no such thing as a
"favor" from a stranger in a train station. If you are purchasing a
ticket at a machine and someone approaches you claiming that they
bought too many tickets or have an extra one, do not agree to
exchange the ticket for money. In fact, even if they are willing to
give it to you free of charge, do not take it! Simple scams like
these occur constantly! In addition, if someone approaches you
trying to help you buy your train ticket by pressing a ton of
buttons on the screen, kindly thank them for their help but let
them know that it's not necessary. The English option is there for
a reason! If you ever need help purchasing a ticket, always ask a
uniformed employee or head to the customer service desk!
- “The Ring Trick”
In this situation, someone will walk towards you
and bend down to “pick up” a gold ring. He/she will ask you if the
ring is yours (or insist that it is) and if you take it, he/she
will let you walk away for a few seconds before he/she chases after
you and demand some kind of reward for “finding” your lost
Similar to the ring trick. In this situation,
someone will approach you and offer to make you a bracelet. He/she
will then tie strings to your finger and use it to make a campy
friendship bracelet. After the person is finished, he/she will
demand payment for the bracelet, putting you in an awkward
situation because you will be literally tied to him/her by your
- Ticket "Fines"
As you should already know from our "Train Travel"
section, validating your ticket is mandatory! However, if you
happen to forget to validate your ticket you will be fined.
Recently, there has been a new scam occurring mainly in Eastern
Europe where people will dress in similar attire to the train
operators and will approach tourists asking for their tickets.
These individuals will either claim that you didn't validate
your ticket correctly, or if you did actually forget to validate
your ticket, they will say that you are being fined and you must
pay them a certain amount of money. If you are ever put in this
situation, make sure that you're sure they are an actual employee
of the train company. You can do this by observing their uniform
and looking for their official ID.
NEVER accept a taxi ride from someone that
approaches you. You should always head to a taxi stand or
hail one from the street. Before you get in
the car, make sure that the side of the car displays
the designated logo for cabs in that city. Cab drivers
that approach you are usually not licensed and will charge
you €50 for what is normally a €15 cab ride.
- Pick-Pocketing and
Gentlemen, hopefully you already know that keeping
your wallet in your back pocket is a big no no! Instead, you should
be keeping it in either a front pocket or tucked into the inner
pocket of your jacket. Ladies, we all know how much we love purses.
That being said, now is the perfect excuse for you to go buy more!
This time, opt for purchasing cross over bags with a zipper to
prevent being a victim of purse-pocketing
- Keep Your Camera to
By looking at any college student's Facebook, it's
pretty easy to determine that we love taking pictures of ourselves.
So staying smart about who you give your camera to is something you
should seriously consider before handing it over. A good rule of
thumb to follow is to only ask other tourists to take your picture
rather than random locals on the street. In addition, if a random
person approaches you asking if you want your picture taken, 50% of
the time it will be an honest question, while the other 50% of the
time you will find yourself running after the person who just stole
- Bank Card
Realizing that your wallet was stolen with all of your bank
cards can put a serious damper on your day. However, realizing that
the number to your bank was on the back of the card, in your stolen
wallet, will only make you feel worse. Make sure that you
write down the information on the back of your card and store it in
a safe place.
Recovering from a
Make photocopies of EVERYTHING! Your passport,
visa, health insurance card, etc. Remember to keep the copies
separate from the originals. This will make things easier if you
have to replace your passport if it is stolen. As soon as you
realize that something has been stolen, begin calling your banks
and notify the on-site staff if your passport has been taken.