Baldwin is a New York City icon for many.
And yet, he says he got scammed on his very own home turf
recently, when trying to visit the Statue of Liberty with his
On Monday, Baldwin posted a picture of the offending ticket on
Instagram, explaining why it was deceitful.
After heading down to Manhattan’s South Ferry, where tickets for
Staten Island tours are typically sold, he says he paid $40 for a
“boat tour” that not only required him to take a bus, to
New Jersey, the boat didn’t even stop to drop passengers
off at Liberty Island, where the statue is located.
But if a veteran New Yorker, a breed that prides itself in its
street smarts and savvy, can get gypped like this, what’s a
regular tourist to do?
Here are the most common scams worldwide to watch out for on your
Don’t fall for fake tickets, and instead visit authorized retailers like tkts to buy them.
Fake tickets are sold at almost
any tourist attraction. While they vary from completely
useless to simply misleading, as in the case of Alec Baldwin, one
thing they have in common is
The scam Baldwin fell victim to is one that the Department of
Transportation is well aware of, and cracking down on by
regularly sending cease and desists to similar companies,
according to the New York Daily News.
Watch out for aggressive street hawkers, too-good-to-be-true
deals, and stick to buying tickets from actual ticket counters.
Beware of getting taken for a ride by cabbies.
are a few ways that intrepid cabbies may try to take you for
Sometimes, they’ll “forget” to turn on the meter or claim it’s
broken before overcharging unsuspecting tourists who don’t know
how much a ride should cost. Other times, they’ll take a
few extra spins around the block in the hopes that you don’t know
your surroundings well enough to notice. And lastly, they’ll
claim not to have any change, leaving you with no choice than to
give them a huge tip.
Get a sense of taxi rates before getting in, and try to negotiate
the fare beforehand. Also, always have small bills on you.
Don’t buy the “found ring” spiel.
The ring scam involves someones “finding” a ring right in
front of you, and asking if you dropped it. When you say no, they
pretend to examine it, showing you a symbol on it that allegedly
proves it’s real gold. They then offer to sell it to you for a
bargain price – which is still more than what they paid for it
before dropping it on the ground in the first place.
Don’t buy it.
Don’t let anyone give you anything.
In some places, you might be approached by a friendly stranger
who hands you a bracelet or medallion, or even ties it right
onto your wrist before you can protest, and then demands that you
pay for it. When you refuse, they might try making a scene,
hoping to embarrass you into forking over some cash.
Avoid this by not letting anyone give you anything, or put
anything on your body. Besides bracelets, this scam is also often
done with hats, scarves, and small trinkets or religious items.
Watch out for pickpockets.
Pickpockets come in many forms. They can be well-dressed business
people that “accidentally” bump into you, or regular-looking
locals who distract you by spilling something on you.
Also beware that
pickpocketers often work in pairs: one will distract you
while the other takes your wallet.
Don’t buy any alleged damage on your rental.
Scooter rentals are common in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, it
is also common to get
reprimanded for some sort of damage upon returning said
having it get “stolen” with a spare key.
To avoid this, take photos of your rental before using it, and
make sure to document any visible damage ahead of time. It’s also
a good idea to
get travel insurance in case there really is an issue, and to
use your own lock.
Don’t fall for fraudulent currency exchanges.
In some places, currency-exchange businesses will advertise that
they do not take commission on exchanges – but then
hyper-inflate the rate, banking on the fact that tourists don’t
know what the current exchange rate actually is.
If an exchange rate seems way off from what you’ve been seeing
elsewhere (read: too good to be true) it probably is. Try
exchanging money at banks or the airport instead.
Don’t get short-changed.
Counting on the fact that tourists can’t properly distinguish
foreign bills and coins, cashiers will often return
a pile of change that is worth less than what you should be
getting – which you probably won’t notice until much later.
Alternatively, they might also fraudulently claim that you gave
them the wrong bill, quickly exchanging it for a smaller one and
asking for more money.
Make sure to count your change carefully and familiarize yourself
with the local currency.
Beware of the souvenir bait-and-switch.
On occasion, you might come across a shopkeeper who switches
that nice souvenir you just bought with a
cheaper, or even broken, version under the guise of kindly
wrapping it for safe travels.
Make sure to keep an eye on your purchase, and to check it
before you leave.
Similarly, a shopkeeper could
claim you broke some of their items while browsing and
Don’t sign any faux petitions.
If someone approaches you to sign a petition, you might want to
This scam has two forms: the petition can either be a distraction
from a pickpocketing, or a way to demand a cash donation.
The latter can be popular in parts of Europe, with some
people pointing to something you signed allegedly requiring a
When you’re traveling, it’s better not to sign any petitions at
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