5 common holiday scams and how to avoid them

When you go on holiday, it should be a time for rest, recuperation and relaxation. However, it's not always that straightforward. Unfortunately in some holiday areas there are a few unscrupulous people looking to take advantage of tourists. As a result of this sad inevitability, there are several things you should keep an eye out for when you go on holiday.

Here we have put together a list of some of the cons, tricks and crimes that you should be aware of when travelling to certain destinations.

Unofficial tour guides:

Sometimes there will be people nearby your resort who will claim to be official tour guides for the region. In reality, you need to have specific training and licenses to be able to give official tours and unfortunately there are some people willing to create false identities in order to convince you of their authenticity. The unofficial tour guides often have hidden agendas such as taking you to specific venues to earn a commission from unscrupulous businesses who are aware of the scam taking place. Make sure to ask your holiday rep or resort manager where you can find official tour guides for your region.


Unfortunately this is a problem in any built up area. It is worse around tourist destinations as criminals are aware that people are more likely to be carrying cash around. The best thing you can do is try to ensure that you never have large amounts of cash on you and if you do, ensure that you have a suitable way of containing and protecting it. You can get wallets that you can attach to your belt to decrease the likelihood of you being pickpocketed.


Sometimes you can have other more intrusive problems with theft. Simply keeping your money and valuables locked in your room might seem like a good idea but there have been plenty of examples of people finding that their things have gone missing because they haven't kept them in a safe. Most destinations will have safe facilities where you can lock away your money and precious items when you are not using them.

Betting scams:

Sometimes you will find people along busy tourist thoroughfares doing betting displays like the ‘cup scam'. This is where they hide a round object underneath one of three cups, then you have to try and keep an eye on which cup the object is underneath as they quickly move them around. It looks easy enough and they often have collaborators with them who appear to be winning money, when in reality they rig it so that you lose any time significant money hits the table. Steer clear of anything that looks too good to be true.

False merchandise:

One of the other ways you can end up losing money is to retailers selling false or counterfeit goods. You can find that shops seem to be selling the latest fashion items, equipment and technology but you should always make sure to take a close look to verify that they are the real deal otherwise you can end up spending money on non-genuine products that don't function correctly or last.

If you do become the victim of theft or pickpocketing whilst you are away on holiday you may be able to make a claim on your travel insurance.

Our Gold and Platinum travel insurance policies include cover for the loss, theft or damage to your personal effects; you may also have cover on your household insurance.

See our guide for more information on how to make a claim for loss or theft of personal possessions.