Filled with a diverse culture, traditions, and landscapes, South America is an attractive and exciting continent. As a traveler, you will never run out of sights to amaze. However, like in any other very touristic destination in the world, a trip to the fantastic continent of South America has some scams, that tourists should know in advance. In order to be vigilant in each dubious situation. Of course to get travel insurance to deal with possible consequences will be a plus before departure.
According to WTO (World Tourism Organization), there are 100 million tourists that visit the content each year and enjoy a trouble stay free.
Nevertheless, the following list of the most common scams in South America will be compulsory for reading for everyone who plans to visit one of the authentic Latin countries.
A terrible phone call, cry for help and then the cold voice of the kidnapper with the threat, the warnings of consequences in case if the police will be informed.
Huge amounts of money have been paid by many people before the victim of “kidnapping” returns home from a shopping trip. Of course there never was a kidnapping, these calls are often no more than a random number dialed by somebody who call from a prison cell. This scam is particularly very known in Brazil, and in recent years it became more frequent.
Tip: better to contact your relative or friend first, before executing any actions of the kidnapper.
This is an ubiquitous scam in Argentina. A passerby stops at your table pretending that some object dropped from your table and asking a victim is it his or her. While discussing this, the scammer accomplice at the neighbored table quietly slides your backpack.
Tip: Be aware of what is going on around you. Will be good to have a leg or hand hooked though your bag, so you can feel it move.
Thieves simply slice your backpack or bag with a razor and follow you in order to collect what falls out. This was so bad years ago, however, nowadays this tactic is less popular.
Tip: Be vigilant and pay attention to your surrounding.
There is very import to be familiar with banknotes that are used in the country upon arrival. However, you cannot be completely protected from this situation in the countries, where currencies can change with surprising regularity. For instance, in Mexico Peso became the Nuevo (New) Peso, and scammers still selling the worthless old notes to unwary foreigners.
Tip: The best solution in order to avoid such trouble will be familiarizing yourself with the currency of the country before your voyage.
Going Round and Round
Big cities like Rio, Buenos-Airos, Bogota or Santiago are infamously known for unfair taxi drives, that see when you are not local and try to rip you off as much as they can. For this purpose, they have many tactics, the number one is to go around in circles or choose the longest route to your destination as possible.
Tip: pay attention and use an offline GPR to ensure that you are going to right direction.
In Colombia, taxi drivers are even dirtier and when a traveler hands over a 20,000 note to the driver, he distracts you for a moment and then tells you, showing a 2,000 note, that you only gave him 2,000.
Tip: Try to remember how many and which nominal of the banknotes you have, and notice cheating, do not hesitate to show it.
Some restaurants might charge you extra simply because there is a live music.
Tip: Check out online reviews of the place you are about to visit.
Skimming at Rio airport ATM’s
There have been reports ATM skimming in this airport. A skimmer is simply installed on the ATM records your card details, while the cameras installed above the keypad capture your PIN.
Tip: Use machines that are only installed at the backs, that almost eliminate the chances of being robbed.