I am excited to announce to everyone that I have a second website that I’ve been working on,Travel Scamming. I still have a lot of information to add, but I wanted to let everyone know about it. Many of you probably remember the scammers who tried to take me for a ride in Sri Lanka. Well, one of the comments, I got on that article was that there should be somewhere for people to go to read about the scams that can happen in certain areas when you are traveling. Well, I thought that was a perfect idea, so I took it and ran with it. I will also be adding safety tips and advice as well. My mission is to encourage others who may be afraid to travel to get out and see this beautiful world of ours. I also want those who already travel a lot to find out about the travel scams that are out there that could put a damper on their vacation. So, if you have any scams that you know about or that have happened to you, let me know. Thanks so much for following along on my travels and adventures.
I am always looking for the perfect escape, the perfect paradise, the kind of place that tosses your cares into the sea. Fortunately, I have discovered many! I created this site to show you where to go and how to get there. My goal is to show you that Paradise is only a plane ticket (or boat ride) away. I have inspired many others to travel and to create a better life. I am available for inspirational speaking, coaching, writing, travel planning, and photography.
Congrats on a brilliant idea!
Thank you, Mark!
I am not sure that you should be producing an anti-scam site as you are a little bit naive and seem to have fallen for some of the more obvious and publicised scams out there.
Not being too critical but taxi/tuk-tuk scams are rife and well reported. I guess you will have been feeling vulnerable after the first hit in Galle which made you more susceptible to the second saying “I see you as my daughter”.
I will add my own Sri Lanka scam story as it is not something I have seen elsewhere and was quite inventive.
Had a week with a driver seeing the usual golden triangle/Ella sites and got dropped off in Unawatuna. Moved up to Hikkaduwa and then arranged for a transfer to Negombo where we would stay for 1 night before flying back to the UK.
Pick-up was 30-45 minutes late (booked across the road from the hotel).
The wife of the owner accompanied us to go to the next town (and give us a business card and asked if we wanted to come back the next year as many tourists do – fair enough).
She was very nice to us but just before she got out, gave the driver a death stare (I am 5-11, nearly 16 stone and a 46 inch chest but it would have scared me!) and said something in Sinhalese to the driver.
The driver also pursued the return visit idea but I explained we usually went somewhere different each time.
We were about 3/4 in to the transfer when scam 1 happened (almost unbelievably there is a scam 2). Stopped at a petrol station and the driver asked if I could give him some money out of the transfer cost. I thought “we are nearly there” so paid in full.
At the petrol station I got out the driver was a bit shifty and seemed a bit uncomfortable that I was out of the car. He then used his mobile phone.
We left the petrol station and had gone a couple of hundred meters and started passing a rank of tuk-tuks. They all started waving and pointing, the driver stopped, checked the car and informed us we had a flat.
We went another 200 metres and there was a tyre shop/garage.
MY SCAM ALERT THEN WENT OFF JUST BEFORE WE PULLED IN
Got out of the car and the attendant was looking at the wheel and shaking his head (I was highly amused). The driver then said “when is your flight, are you in a rush” to which I replied “no it is OK, we are not flying till tomorrow”. He was too thick to have worked that out before.
The tyre was “fixed” (they actu
ally changed it rather than re-inflating it) despite the head shake from the mechanic.
After we left the tyre shop, and the first scam had failed, ( if we had been flying that day we would have been worried about making the flight, “if” the 4×4 was out of action we would have needed a new vehicle, the original driver would not have been able to refund what I had given him at the petrol station as he would have spent it on petrol, etc etc etc),
the second scam was set up.
The driver declared that he did not know Negombo, or he did but just the city but not the tourist area. I “informed” him that it was north of Negombo and on the beach road.
Someone who works as a driver for tourists not knowing the number one area for package tourists?
I did not understand why he was doing this as we had a fixed price transfer.
We got to north of Negombo and a cross-roads where the driver did some sh*t acting about which way to go. We then had him stopping and asking about 10 people which way to go, this included people obviously saying you have gone the wrong way after he started to drive off.
We eventually went back to the cross-roads and after more rubbish acting by the driver regarding which way to go, I had got my bearings and insisted on right and we made the hotel.
My curiousity around what the scam was about was then cleared, “I have used more petrol than I should have, my boss will be angry, give me an extra (12%).”
He got a 1% tip which I gave rather than 0% to highlight that he had made nothing on his scam attempts.
I booked him in Hikkaduwa and he is medium build, medium brown and has a very prominent, wide, scar from the the middle of his forehead, down his nose and onto his cheek. Obviously been involved with criminals and paid the price for trying to rip them off.
He is also deeply stupid to have not realised that he was sussed on the first attempted scam.
If you travel, you will be ripped off, all you can do is try and minimise the extent.
e.g the driver we had for the first seven days was booked for a fixed price, we booked some accomodation and he booked the rest. Higher class hotels on a touring route give drivers free accomodation and food. We had booked a guesthouse in Kandy a few days in to the seven and he tried to get us to pay for him (we didn’t and he later increased the price of a guesthouse he had booked in Ella, I reduced his tip).
Had a great meal in Ella (Ella Dream Cafe), the waiter said I had left a 50 note instead of a 100 as part of the bill (they are only a few millimetres different in dimension), unlikely but I paid it as didn’t want to spoil the memory of the excellent food.
Thanks John, for letting us know about this. And also, the scam I almost fell for has been done on my others as you can see on the Trip Advisor forum. So that doesn’t make me naive. I am glad to let others know so that it doesn’t happen to them.
great idea Val! this will be definitely be helpful to a lot of travelers!