Thieves and con artists can make travel a frustrating experience at times.

While we can protect ourselves against pickpockets with security theft prevention products from brands PacSafe, we need to be wary when it comes to the scam artists.

These people can act like helpful locals only interested in helping you until you find you have parted with you money or expensive equipment.

Most thieves love to operate in crowded places where no one in particular is paying attention to the actions that are separating you from your belongings or cash.

One of the major ones has become known as the Paris ring scam, which because of its successes, has now been transported around the world.

Here’s how it works.

You’re walking along the street and with no warning this women, or man, (but mostly women) bend over as though to pick something up.

“Is this your ring?” she asks point at the gold piece she holds in her had. She starts talking and shows that it actually has the official gold certification stamp on it.

It’s your lucky day because she cannot wear jewelry and needs the money, so sells it to you for a nominal amount.

You pay her and soon realize as the ring turns shades of green to the point you are afraid you fingers may fall off, that you have been scammed big time.

You would never be caught in a scam like this, right?

Well they are very practiced at what they do and their innocence continues to through people off around the world.

We all fear getting scammed by taxi drivers when we first land at a foreign airport.

There are two taxi scams to look out for.

 

The first is the long journey to a destination that is really much closer. In some cities the taxi driver actually asks if it is your first time to the city.

Usually however they don’t need to ask. Your general demeanor and look of confusion can say it all.

To prevent being scammed, phone the hotel property ahead of time to ask how much the fare is likely to be. Or print out the route. Nowadays our smart phones can be used to lead us there and any major change in routing will have Siri going mad telling you to turn around and head in the opposite direction.

 

The other scam involves unlicensed or unauthorized vehicles that look like taxis. You need to take your time before saying yes to the first person offering you transportation.

Get a lay of the land, so to speak, and make sure you are comfortable with your surroundings knowing who is real and who is not.

Just another thing to watch out for is the currency bill switch, especially where each denomination looks like the others.

The cabbie quickly switches the bills and insists you gave him one of smaller denomination.

When handing him payment, articulate each bill as you hand it to the driver.

 

The friendly embrace scam is also practiced all over the world including in North America.

In order to pick your pocket thieves need to be close and if he or she sees you have a cell phone or other device not protected, they start talking with you. Reach out to brush something off your jacket or shirt, and you end up sans an expensive smart phone.

Thieves can gain your trust quickly and the singular goal is to get close. These thieves are different than the ones who take your belongings by cutting your purse straps, opening you purse zipper or cutting the bottom out of your bags.

As I said at the outset brands like PacSafe can prevent that kind of theft.