UPDATED – JANUARY 2021!
It’s still the summer, and The British Berliner was doing what she does best.
If you recall, I went on a media trip to Explore Hansa – a partner project consisting of nine (9) small and enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia!
My job was to eat all day!
Ho! Ho! Ho!
Seriously, I went on a culinary trip that passed through Viljandi (Estonia) – Valmiera (Latvia) – Cēsis (Latvia) – Koknese (Latvia) and Visby (Sweden), to explore one’s taste buds of seasonal local produce and create an inspiring gastronomical experience.
It was a lot of fun.
And I’ll be writing about it all by the end of the month!
So back to the important stuff of the moment.
My last post was about the disturbing moment when I got scammed for the first time.
I told you that I used to live the iconic Berlin artistic lifestyle.
Think David Bowie!
Think Iggy Pop!
Because I lived in arty, grungy, student, alternative Kreuzberg in West Berlin.
My boyfriend and I lived in a huge rent-controlled apartment near the river.
It didn’t have a bathroom.
It didn’t have any heating.
And I had to haul up steel-buckets of coal every week!
It was worth it though ‘cos we were living in a 19th century building, and my share of the rent in those days, was a mere €17.00 per week!
It took me just six (6) weeks to get a well-paid teaching job, and six (6) months later, I was the Head of not one Corporate Language School, but two (2)!
One day, I went to the bank to pick up some money for a summer-BBQ party that I was organising for all our schools in Berlin at the time, and on that day, I got scammed!
What an idiot and an utter fool I was!
When you travel as much as I do, scams and weird situations are bound to happen from time to time.
But certainly, I was never so foolish ever again.
And when I did get scammed, it was no fault of my own.
And in many cases, I caught the scammers.
Just in time!
But before we go any further, let me reiterate:
I am an affiliate partner of booking.com. In fact, if you use any of my hotel / apartment links, you’ll see the verified partner symbol of the British Berliner logo, along with each affiliated link.
This means that every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at absolutely no extra cost to yourself!
Thanks a million!
p.s If you’re booking hotels, houses and apartments, use this link to save 20% or more, between 5th January and 31st March 2021!
Here are some more scams!
The following scams are tricks that anybody could have fallen for:
1. THE BANGKOK TUK-TUK SCAM:
I’ve been to Bangkok many times, but the first time I visited was an eye-opener!
I ordered a tuk-tuk to take me to a dinner and dance show in Bangkok.
Thankfully, I had been there earlier to buy my ticket, and knew what the place looked like.
The tuk-tuk driver didn’t take me to my nice classy dinner.
Oh dear me no.
He took me to a go-go bar!
My suspicions were aroused when the venue looked pretty dark.
There was an iron-clad door with a man selling “tickets” at a table.
And nearby were a few drunk Thai guys who were getting quite upset!
The man at the door wanted me to buy a ticket.
I was confused ‘cos I had already bought a ticket, and paid a hefty price for it too.
I insisted that they allow me to take a peek through the iron doors.
And saw that the only woman who had any clothes on was me.
I legged it out of there!
The tuk-tuk driver wanted his “fee.”
I refused to pay him.
I ran to the main road, hopped into a taxi, who then took me to the real tourist-friendly dinner and dance!
Read more tuk-tuk stories here:
HOW TO AVOID THE BANGKOK TUK-TUK:
2. THE HOTEL BOOKING SCAM:
You take a taxi.
You do a little chit-chat with the driver.
He then tells you that your hotel is closed, over-booked, or burnt to the ground!
However, he can help you.
He’ll take you to another hotel.
It’ll be significantly more expensive, of far lower quality, and in the wrong part of town.
You check your original hotel the next day, and your hotel is perfectly fine.
As is your hotel reservation.
Meanwhile, your driver gets a hefty commission from the hotel, and a generous tip from you!
Now, you wouldn’t usually fall for such a crap story but you’re in a new country, you’re probably quite tired and confused. Could it be true?
I was nervous about my first solo visit to India.
Back in 2005.
And I paid them the handsome price of €17.00 or $15.00 per night.
Complete with hotel voucher!
I double-checked with the Delhi hotel via telephone, fax, and Email.
All seemed to be well.
They even sent a car to collect me from the airport.
But when I got to the hotel, they told me that they had never heard of me!
Even though I had spoken to them on the telephone just a few hours prior.
They knew nothing about it!
However, if I went to the luxury hotel down the road…
Perhaps they might have a spare room…!
It was 2a.m.
I was scared to leave the hotel.
So I refused.
Two hours later, they “found” my room!
Read more hotel stories here:
HOW TO AVOID THE HOTEL SCAM:
3. THE TAXI SCAM:
No matter how experienced you are, a taxi scam will happen to you, at least once!
And the drivers are good at cheating innocent tourists.
You take a taxi.
You do a little chit-chat with the driver.
He asks you where you’re from, and if this is your first visit?
You’re excited to be at this new destination, and in your innocence, tell the driver more than you should.
He tells you that the meter is broken, and then charges you an exorbitant rate.
Or the taxi driver takes you the long way around.
Or worse, just goes around in a circle while they aim for the part of town notorious for traffic lights or traffic jams.
Yep! It’s a thing!
Too many to mention.
However, one taxi scam comes to mind.
I knew a Czech / American restaurant that served a four-course New Year’s Eve meal, and a bit of a dance.
I invited some girls to join me.
Then I went to the Opera!
The performance was fantastic, but I was running late and needed to get to my hostel as quickly as possible so that I could have a quick shower, and change into my glad-rags.
I took a taxi.
And anyway, the Czech Republic is cheap.
But he didn’t take me there!
I was annoyed.
I was piss-off.
And I was scared.
We were beginning to leave the confines of Prague.
And I was alone.
I asked the driver to take me to the nearest train station.
The cost – €64.00!
I was fuming as I was expecting to pay between €5.00 – €7.00!
I then took a train.
The cost – 12kc or €0.46 – 46 cents!
Yeah, I didn’t do that again!
Read more taxi stories here:
HOW TO AVOID THE TAXI SCAM:
4. THE RESTAURANT / BAR BILL SCAM
I don’t like Slovakia.
I don’t like Romania either!
But that’s neither here or there.
Prices are so cheap that it’s easy for the staff to change the order around, add “extra” bits that the customer didn’t request, or just simply, serve the most expensive item on the menu, even though the customer ordered something completely different!
We went to Bratislava.
We had lunch in the Old Town.
At a restaurant called Venturska Kubovna.
The food was great.
The outdoor location was lovely.
The prices were fantastic.
But the service was utterly rubbish.
We were over-charged twice!
In this case, not only did the restaurant get our order wrong, they even had the cheek to charge the complete bill of their local Slovakian mates, from the next table!
My suspicions were raised when the bill started with the butter that I ordered, but never received…!
Read more stories here:
HOW TO AVOID THE RESTAURANT / BAR BILL SCAM:
5. THE FLIRTY ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMAN / STRIP BAR SCAM:
Either way, I’m going to write about it, but don’t expect intimate details. That’s creepy!
So here goes:
You land in a new country.
You immediately head for a local bar.
A lovely attractive girl starts to chat you up.
You feel good ‘cos she’s giving you the eye and laughing at all your jokes.
You have a couple of drinks.
She suggests moving on to a great club that she knows.
You head out to this club.
All these gorgeous girls immediately start to surround you.
Some even sit on your lap.
You order more drinks.
You’re having a great time.
You look around, and the “original” girl has disappeared, but the bill hasn’t.
You immediately start to sweat.
The”bill” is €3,000!
You wonder if you can make a run for it.
A couple of burly nasty looking chaps soon make you change your mind!
They give you the shake down.
They force you to pay up.
If you’re lucky, you might get away with paying €300!
If not, you’re smacked around.
Drugged and ultimately robbed of your dignity, all your credit cards, cash, and belongings.
I’m a girl!
Read more flirty attractive young woman / strip bar stories here:
HOW TO AVOID THE FLIRTY ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMAN / STRIP BAR SCAM:
6. MOTOR BIKE / SCOOTER / JET SKI / CAR RENTAL SCAM:
You’re in a developing country.
You need to get around without the hassle of local transportation or a chicken bus
You rent a motorbike / scooter / jetski /car.
It was at a really generous price and you had heaps of fun.
You bring it back, and then it begins.
The owner demands additional payment or charges you for expensive repairs as a means of compensation.
Because the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car, is damaged!
You didn’t do it of course, and in some cases, it’s the owner or his mates, who have knowingly caused the damage or stolen the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car.
And that’s the scam!
There’s no getting out of it either!
Luckily for me, the only time that I rented a motorbike / scooter / jetski / car, was with the driver / sailing crew included, so there was no question of who was responsible for damages.
It certainly wasn’t me!
However, this is a potential scam to lose huge amounts of money.
Read more motorbike / scooter / jetski / car rental stories here:
HOW TO AVOID THE MOTORBIKE / SCOOTER / JETSKI SCAM:
7. THE GET RICH QUICK SCAM:
I don’t know how to tell you this, but there really is no easy way to get rich.
Well there is.
But you’re not that type of person are you?
The essence of this scam is to persuade you that you can make a quick buck.
You’re on holiday, and a local person casually tells you that they own a lucrative business buying expensive items such as jewellery and antiques from the country where you just happen to be, and selling them back home in the US, UK, Germany, Japan, etc.
They offer to “introduce” you to their contact so that you too, can enjoy this great “opportunity.”
The products are fake.
Or what about that old chestnut of a “lucrative business venture” if only you’d “invest” €20,000 / €50,000 / €100,000 as soon as possible so that you can reap a 60% “guaranteed” profit “potential.”
Within a month.
And don’t even get me started on the “My Father is the ex-President..” of some random country that you have previously never heard of, but somehow you are able to picture, because “If you send me a small amount of €30,000 in order to “release” the “oil money / hidden stash in some Swiss Bank / tax haven,” AND your bank account / passport / security number details, you’ll be able to get a slice of the illegal €10 billion that was hidden away during some dictator / politically unstable / obscure regime.
A slice of €10 billion.
Not even €1,000.
Which by any account, is a huge amount to give to a stranger, not to talk of millions of €/$/£!
But somehow you believe it.
None at all!
I too get Emails claiming heaven and earth.
I put them into the spam filter, ignore them, and sleep well at night.
Read more get rich quick stories here:
HOW TO AVOID THE GET RICH QUICK SCAM:
We’ve all been taken in or scammed by tricksters at some point, but no matter how well we prepare, it happens.
And if it does, it’s horribly frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world.
Make sure you buy travel insurance for peace of mind.
This article is not sponsored, and all opinions, experience situations and words of advice, are my very own!
That’s it for now.
Watch this space!
Please note that The British Berliner is a participant in affiliate programmes designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by advertising and linking to World Nomads Travel Insurance, Uber & Booking.com.
In short, there are three affiliate link companies connected to this post!
Every time one of these services is used, booked, and paid for via my link, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
A win-win for all!
Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
So what are you waiting for?
Thanks a million!
See you in Berlin.
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