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Common Tourism Scams

Common Tourism Scams

Old Apr 4, 12, 2:50 am
  #391  
 
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Originally Posted by planemechanic View Post
Then what does Airplane Mode do? Or going to Network, then turning off 3G and Carrier Data? Sounds to me like that would work.
Going to Network and turning off Cellular Data would seem to work, assuming that it leaves the IPhone still capable of processing GPS signals. Is that the case?
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Old Apr 4, 12, 3:16 am
  #392  
 
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Another option to disable cellular data would be to use something like FakeAPN app which changes the cellular data server settings on the iPhone so that it won't go through:

FakeAPN for iPhone: http://www.unlockit.co.nz/unlockit/
How to video: http://youtu.be/na-3qc36R7s

A similar app for the Android would be APN Switch:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...roid.apnswitch

What they do is just a simple toggle on/off switch that adds some jargon at the end of the APN server settings so that cellular data can't go through.

For example, for T-Mobile USA, the APN server settings is something like "xxx.tmobile.com." When the APN Switch app is toggled on, it changes the APN server settings to "xxx.tmobile.comapndroid." Since the server settings are wrong, no data gets through. If you want to use data again, just toggle back off the APN Switch app.

Originally Posted by Mountain Trader View Post
Going to Network and turning off Cellular Data would seem to work, assuming that it leaves the IPhone still capable of processing GPS signals. Is that the case?
If you want to test if the GPS still works with the cell data off, just download a run of the mill free GPS compass app like Free GPS

If it shows you your current location in longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates, then you know you're just receiving GPS signals without cell data.

Last edited by kebosabi; Apr 4, 12 at 3:22 am
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Old Apr 4, 12, 3:39 am
  #393  
 
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I considered myself scammed for nearly our entire trip to the Seychelles. Restaurants, dive centers, taxis, entrance charges, bike rentals etc etc all require tourists to pay in EUROS and won't except the local currency for payment. They then go out and change the currency on the black market for 5-10x the official rate. We hadn't brought many euros with us and the banks only distribute the local currency so we had a real problem. In the end I think we ate better because we ate like the locals for less than the equivalent of an Euro vs the restaurants for 25 EUR. I would never go back to the Seychelles. Pick the Maldives sans enfants (much more beautiful) or Mauritius with kids.
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Old Apr 4, 12, 9:48 am
  #394  
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Originally Posted by Mountain Trader View Post
I think you're right-you can not just have an IPhone stop using cell service for a while.
On my AT&T iPhone 4, I just do: Settings - General - Network - Cellular Data Off

You still have voice, WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS. I tried that just now and I can still get my location in Google Maps.
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Old Apr 4, 12, 9:55 am
  #395  
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Originally Posted by planemechanic View Post
Then what does Airplane Mode do?
Airplane Mode also turns the GPS receiver off.

Originally Posted by planemechanic View Post
Or going to Network, then turning off 3G and Carrier Data? Sounds to me like that would work.
I had forgotten that this function was added relatively recently (iOS 5?). That should work, too.

Last edited by jackal; Apr 4, 12 at 10:07 am
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Old Apr 12, 12, 7:28 am
  #396  
 
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Originally Posted by BOShappyflyer View Post
I've been scammed before (petty scams, like being charged more for something that locals pay, etc), so I tend to have my guard up even though I travel quite a bit.

When I visited my brother in London a couple of years ago, we decided to make a side trip to Belgium. I had taken French and know the basics, and my brother, even less ) but I can read better than I can speak French.

We spent all our Euros by our last day on food and chocolates. We packed our stuff and checked out of the hotel and decided to walk around town and walk back to the train station for the afternoon return. I guess we stood out as tourists because we each had a backpack on (and cameras, though I only take it out when I see interesting stuff). We are also of Asian descent, and we didn't notice a huge Asian tourist population there.

In any case, I was fumbling something in my pocket while my brother walked ahead. In the few split seconds, a bunch of school-age girls came and surrounded my brother and kept thrusting some papers at him. My brother kept saying "no, thank you." and "no, I don't speak french"). My brother is (athletic, almost 6 feet tall) and while I am much smaller, I tend to be more firm on things.

I had my guard up and walked over and asked what's going on. They tried to explain in French, and I didn't get it. When I looked at their piece of paper, there were some words on it and I read it to understand that they were asking for our autographs. It was no harm done, so we autographed it and they were happy and went away. Further down, another older group of teenagers ask if they could take a picture with us. I get the impression that they are doing something for school, so we entertained it. My brother is loving the attention, so we grinned and took a picture with them, they thanked us and we went along our merry way.

I didn't know what was going on at the time, but my scam radar did go off and I checked to see if anything was amiss. I had read that in some places kids can surround you and steal stuff from you while you're distracted. We just checked to make sure we still had our passport and cameras (the rest is just travel stuff, whatever) and all was good.

While we were somewhat confused at the time, I think they are doing some sort of school assignments (probably requiring them to meet tourists or get proof that they met with some tourists), and we apparently stood out like sore thumbs.
When I was in high school (well, the Belgian equivalent), we had to do something similar while on a field trip to Lille in France, so I'm pretty sure it was a harmless school task.
Out of personal interest, where in Belgium was this? since you came in from London, I assume it was in Brussels.
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Old Apr 12, 12, 9:33 am
  #397  
 
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Originally Posted by Catusa View Post
I considered myself scammed for nearly our entire trip to the Seychelles. Restaurants, dive centers, taxis, entrance charges, bike rentals etc etc all require tourists to pay in EUROS and won't except the local currency for payment. They then go out and change the currency on the black market for 5-10x the official rate. We hadn't brought many euros with us and the banks only distribute the local currency so we had a real problem. In the end I think we ate better because we ate like the locals for less than the equivalent of an Euro vs the restaurants for 25 EUR. I would never go back to the Seychelles. Pick the Maldives sans enfants (much more beautiful) or Mauritius with kids.
Thanks for the tip. Guess I can scratch Seychelles off the bucket list.
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Old Apr 12, 12, 8:26 pm
  #398  
 
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Originally Posted by WC_EEND View Post
When I was in high school (well, the Belgian equivalent), we had to do something similar while on a field trip to Lille in France, so I'm pretty sure it was a harmless school task.
Out of personal interest, where in Belgium was this? since you came in from London, I assume it was in Brussels.
Indeed, it was Brussels! We were on our way to Grand Place. Beautiful area, I'd say.
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Old Jan 13, 14, 8:13 am
  #399  
 
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latest scam from Tbilisi/Georgia
If you walk out from one of the foreigners expensive hotels even at afternoon be carefuly how you are crossing the street.
even there are no so many pedestrians crossings ,so almost all peoples are crossing carefuly the streets.
but Police is watching foreigner peoples to stop them and ask for documents.
1. Dont handle out your passport tell them it is at the hotels reception and what you have done to be asked and stopped for crossing the street as all peoples does.
they tell you you have to come with them to inspection becsuse they filmed you that you crossed the street incorrectly, the next pedestrian was 200meteres away.
I just explained with my arms and hands that this is my first stay in beautiful tbilisi and their nice country and I'm very sorry for not having looked around.
he wanted still take me away but after 20 minutes of talking each other which no one understood the other he let me go.
not a very nice first impression in a country where the corrupt police want to cheet scam you.
be careful in this ex-soviet countries
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Old Jun 9, 15, 1:06 pm
  #400  
 
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We recently traveled around Egypt and were scammed, pickpocketed, robbed and generally cheated in large and small ways by everyone we encountered. But the best scam of all, which took me for several hundred dollars, was at an "Alabaster" shop in Luxor.

I had mentioned to my guide the day before that I was interested in obtaining a souvenir... having seen the beautiful basalt vases and other stone works in the Egyptian museum, I wanted a copy of one. We were taken to a souvenir shop on the way back from seeing the Valley of the Kings (which is absolutely superb, one of the wonders of the world in my opinion).

At the entrance to the shop, three men were demonstrating how they worked the alabaster stone with steel tools ... I think I have a picture with them holding some rocks.

Inside, there was a large room full of all sorts of carved stone objects. Most of them were clearly mass produced as the features and engravings were all identical on each piece. No real "craftsman" can produce completely identical parts. Other items were imported from Pakistan, or made from glued-together onyx pieces. They served us tea and soft drinks (this is the first sign you are being overcharged).

The salesman, "Ali," who spoke excellent English, started out by showing us the "quality" of his merchandise. He showed us a piece "made from cement, with black paint" and scraped off some paint to demonstrate. Next he showed us a "real basalt" item, where the black color couldn't be scraped off. Interesting, I thought.

We toured the shop, and I didn't see anything I liked. He says "I also have some very nice older pieces in the back room." Naturally, I am curious. The back room was FULL of very elaborate art objects -- vases, paintings on limestone, all sorts of nice looking stuff. "This one is painted on limestone" he said ... "This is a basalt vase that is 30 years old" about another piece. A large basalt vase, weighing about 50 lbs caught my eye. I said "how much for this one." He said, "what is it worth to you?" I demurred... "I have no idea." He says "normally this would be $3,500 US, but due to the recession, I can sell it for $2,000." "I'll have to consider that. It's a lot of money."

Now here is the point at which Westerners go wrong. If you see something for $2,000 you might think, well, 50% off would be a decent price. But in Egypt, the real price is more like 95% off or even less. Offering $50 just seems insulting.

So we get back to discussing the piece. What's it made of I ask? "It is Black Basalt, a very hard stone mined in the desert." "Was it hand made?" "Yes" "Can I carry this in my suitcase" "Of course, we will pack it for you"

I inspect the piece... and it is really quite beautifully engraved. He explains the carvings, etc. etc. I scrape my finger on it, to make sure it is in fact basalt and not just cement, as he had shown us when we got to the store. Seems to pass the test -- no paint.

Finally we settle on a reasonable price of about $600. Days later, we get home, with my prized souvenir in a suitcase. It arrives intact, just as promised. I set it up on the living room coffee table, fill it with water, and put in a large bouquet of flowers. The next day, the flowers are dead. "That's odd, I think to myself"

I replace the flowers... and sure enough, a day later, the new flowers are also dead. So now I am really starting to wonder what's going on with the flowers from the grocery store! I pour out the water, and I notice a slight tinge to it. I wipe the inside with a tissue, and it comes out stained purple-black!!

The vase was in fact made of cement, stained black with ink as opposed to painted... he had set us up for this scam from the minute we walked into the store! In the end, I have to hand it to "Ali" for taking us to the cleaners like only a true professional con artist could. My hat is off to you, sir.
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Old Jun 9, 15, 1:27 pm
  #401  
 
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Originally Posted by JW76 View Post
We recently traveled around Egypt and were scammed, pickpocketed, robbed and generally cheated in large and small ways by everyone we encountered. But the best scam of all, which took me for several hundred dollars, was at an "Alabaster" shop in Luxor...
Look at it this way... at least you got a nice story out of it!
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Old Jun 9, 15, 1:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
Look at it this way... at least you got a nice story out of it!
Not only that, I also have a rather nice vase for which I only overpaid by about 5X!

I would still highly recommend Egypt to anyone, minus the detour to the souvenir shop.
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Old Jun 9, 15, 8:06 pm
  #403  
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Originally Posted by JW76 View Post
We recently traveled around Egypt and were scammed, pickpocketed, robbed and generally cheated in large and small ways by everyone we encountered. But the best scam of all, which took me for several hundred dollars, was at an "Alabaster" shop in Luxor..
On my trip to Egypt we left the country and went to Jordan and returned to Egypt a second time. I was a pro at all the goings on the second time. We were to be met at the airport the second time for a pick up from our guide we had spent 3 weeks with. He wasn't outside the airport in our pick up spot so we waited. A couple of guys approached us and asked if we were waiting for a ride. We said we were. He said "they probably won't come to get you as it is too hot". I said "they'll be here". He insisted it was too hot and people didn't travel in the heat. He asked who we were meeting and I said my friends who live in Egypt. I could sense the hesitation in their voice when they said "oh, so your friends are local". They figured their scam wasn't going to work. I saw our guide and driver walking along towards us and I told the scammers "here are my friends now". As we'd spent 3 weeks with them we were like great friends in our greeting. I said to the scammers "I told you my friend would be here" and the guys hurriedly left to find more gullible people.

I love watching Scam City where he wants to be the victim of scams. I often wonder how long it would take for me to get my purse stolen from a bag or my husband's wallet from his back pocket in some places. Of course the wallet would be empty. My husband continually says he'd know if someone stole his wallet and I say they are so clever that you would not feel a thing.
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Old Jun 10, 15, 8:34 pm
  #404  
 
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iPhone- settings, cellular, cellular data- off, data roaming- off.

Scroll down and check apps that are using cellular, they really eat it up.
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Old Jun 27, 15, 7:52 am
  #405  
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Originally Posted by Jeannietx View Post
iPhone- settings, cellular, cellular data- off, data roaming- off.

Scroll down and check apps that are using cellular, they really eat it up.
This is a common tourism scam?
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