There’s nothing worse than going away on a vacation that’s supposed to be fun and relaxing and having that vacation go horribly wrong by getting robbed. There are, unfortunately, scammers out there who make a living by stealing from unsuspecting travelers. So the best thing that you can do before you travel anywhere is to be aware of these scams so that you can defend yourself, or better yet, avoid these situations altogether. Take a look at some excellent advice we found over at Yahoo! Travel:

The “Tie Me Up” Scam

This scam is a frequent occurrence in Paris and Rome, and I can personally attest to this. When you’re walking near the famous Spanish Steps (where I’ve been) or the Sacre Coeur, an overly friendly man will stroll up to you and tie a bracelet around your finger (with a really intricate double knot). Then he’ll demand payment for the bracelet. And when you obviously say no, he’ll scream and embarrass in public you by saying that you stole the bracelet.


To avoid this unfortunate incident, just be on your guard and be suspicious. If a stranger selling things is being too friendly and getting too close, walk away immediately.

The Diversion

This one is common in many airports and train stations. An example of this kind of scam is called the “hot dog trick” where a stranger will “accidentally” squirt mustard on you while eating ketchup. While the stranger apologizes profusely and tries to help you clean upi, an accomplish will grab your bag and slip away.

So just to be safe, make sure you always stay in contact with your bags at airports and train stations. Keep a hand on your carry-on or place it between your legs, and make sure your purse is securely fastened and attached in some way to your body.

The Security Line Switch-Up

Here’s what happens:

You’re about to walk through a metal detector when the person behind you cuts ahead of you. Annoyed, you let him go, but your frustration builds as he repeatedly sets off the alarm. He’s forgotten to remove his watch and loose change, so he is holding up the line. What you don’t know is that on the other side, his accomplice has snagged your belongings and is already in another terminal.

To avoid this terrible scam, make sure you wait until the very last minute before you put your stuff on the conveyor belt. Don’t give anyone the chance to slip in front of you before your stuff goes through to the other side. Also, just keep an eye on your stuff in general so if you see someone handling your belongings, you can speak up to a TSA agent ASAP.