VirtualTourist members said that Rome is a particularly bad spot for taxi scams, especially near Termini Station.
• “The Overly Sympathique Stranger” — volunteers with poor intentions — Gare du Nord Station, Paris.
When in a country with different currency or a language barrier, a common trick is for “volunteers” to offer to assist you when you’re making a transaction or using any automated machine. Kind strangers may offer to assist you in buying a week-long ticket, but in fact, they’ll get you a one-time use ticket and pocket the change.
Be wary of any stranger that “offers” help too easily, particularly in high tourism areas or transportation hubs, such as Paris’ subway and train stations, particular Gare du Nord. If possible, buy transportation tickets in advance or through a window vendor at the station; at the very least, know before you arrive how much the tickets should cost.
• “The Palace is NOT closed today” — tuk tuk scammers — Grand Palace area, Bangkok, Thailand.
Multiple VirtualTourist members stated that in certain parts of Southeast Asia, they were approached by locals claiming that a popular site was closed due to an assortment of excuses, including a religious ceremony, royal function, a Buddhist holiday, or simply for cleaning. These locals steer tourists into a nearby tuk tuk (or rickshaw), offering to take them to a gem factory or another tourist attraction that is open and then return them back to the site once it reopens.
Many members reported that the approaching locals even appeared in some sort of uniform, making their information and suggestions seem more reliable. However, the palace/site/ wat is probably NOT closed today, so before you turn around and embark on a tuk tuk ride to commissioned jewelry stores and tailors, check for yourself.
Numerous member report this scam happening at a variety of sites in Bangkok, including the Grand Palace and Wat Po.
• “The Math Genius” — cash payment scams — Istanbul, Turkey and New York City
Sadly, the “Math Genius” can be found in a variety of places, and the most common culprits are waiters or taxi drivers, since they’ve already provided you with a service and you need to pay them to exit the situation.
If the scam occurs in a taxi, it usually goes this way: you owe the driver 15 euros, and you pay with a 20 euro bill. He switches out the bill you gave him for a 5 euro bill, which looks quite similar. He holds it up and argues that you owe him 10 more euros. You apologize and give him another 10 euros, and only after exiting the car do you realize you essentially paid twice the taxi fare.
Almost every traveler has fallen for this trick at some point, just because of exhaustion or being unfamiliar with the local currency. While this can happen everywhere, it is a particularly common problem in Istanbul and New York City.