Watch Out: Top holiday spots in Europe for scams
More tourists complain about scams in Paris than any other European destination, new data has revealed.
A new European Scam Index from travel insurance comparison experts at Quotezone.co.uk has named the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral as the tourist hotspots most likely to leave visitors feeling cheated.
More tourists left online reviews claiming they had been scammed after visiting these attractions than anywhere else in Europe – with many falling victim to fake ticketing scams in the streets around the attractions.
The index ranks popular European tourism destinations based on visitors going onto travel review websites claiming they have been scammed.
The Eiffel Tower had 537 scam mentions in traveller reviews making the attraction the place where tourists were most likely to fall victim to swindlers.
Tourists complained that street tours around France’s leading attraction were a rip-off and not worth the money while others felt let down when premium summit trips weren’t fulfilled.
Holidaymakers also took to review sites to express concern at the number of people at the base of the attraction engaged in pickpocketing scams.
Visitors to France’s top five tourist attractions mentioned feeling scammed in 748 reviews – over eight times more than the country with the second highest number of scam mentions, Spain.
The UK came in sixth on the list with tourists reporting feeling scammed 37 times, twenty times less than France.
Austria came bottom of the list with only 13 mentions while Portugal, one of the top European destinations for American visitors this summer, came right down the list in ninth place.
Greg Wilson, CEO of Quotezone.co.uk, said that unfortunately, this new research shows that with hundreds of tourists taking to review sites to complain about being scammed at Europe’s leading tourist attractions, many thousands more could be feeling the same.
He said: “Visitor hotspots are focal points for anyone looking to target tourist dollars, leaving many feeling they have been short-changed.
“Our research revealed some surprising results showing that visitors to France’s leading tourist attractions had taken to review sites to complain of being scammed in large numbers.
“Of the 50 major tourist hotspots we analysed across Europe, four of the top five ranking highest for scam mentions were in France.
“The iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris received nearly half as many scam mentions as the other 49 put together, with the large crowds at the base of the attraction allowing scam artists to move inconspicuously while different ticketing options and sellers appear to cause much confusion and heartache for visitors.
“Problems were reported in significantly fewer numbers outside of France although Brandenburg Gate in Germany attracted 56 scam mentions with tourists complaining about being pestered by scam artists around the attraction.
“With many companies looking to sell holidaymakers tickets to attractions, special packages or deals either before departure or while there, it’s important for people to check and make sure what they have purchased is legitimate and meets their needs.
“It’s also worth checking to make sure that what is being promised can be fulfilled so planning in advance and doing any necessary research is recommended.
“It is also important to remember to get a police report for the loss or theft of an item as this will help support an insurance claim.”
Quotezone.co.uk’s top 5 travel scams and how to avoid them;
Do your homework on local restaurants and stick to those with a large volume of positive reviews – some have cheaper menus for local people and more expensive ones for the tourists. It’s also not uncommon for restaurants to charge more money for the same food and drink if you choose to sit outside, perhaps in view of popular tourist attractions, so best to be aware and always ask for an itemised receipt.
Use a taxi rank where possible and check the cabs are licensed – there should be a list of destinations with estimated costs at the taxi rank for tourists as a guide, if not, either agree a price before you get in or check the meter is first at zero then starts to run as your journey starts. Tourists can be vulnerable and easy to spot so be aware of how to prepare for taxi rides and avoid unusually high charges.
Train and bus stations and even some larger tourist attractions have storage lockers to leave suitcases and larger belongings while you explore. This is an ideal opportunity for scammers to try to sell fake keys – make sure you always rent them from the official source and don’t be tempted into receiving help from passersby.
In highly crowded areas it’s easy to get distracted, this is where thieves thrive, beware of anyone who approaches you in these situations, they have many tricks such as offering gifts, offering to take photos or pretending to help you with say a stain on your clothing. Don’t carry cash in these situations and keep your bank cards in a zipped bag across your chest or strapped under your clothes.
Make sure when pre ordering tickets for attractions that you use official sites with a high volume of good reviews, you should also check for an ‘S’ for secure in the URL, if it’s httpS then any data you send is more secure.
This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.