Home > Travel Scams > Avoiding Currency Exchange Scams

Avoiding Currency Exchange Scams

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 31 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Scam Currency Holiday Money Exchange

It looks like toy money, you’re unfamiliar with it, and what’s more you’re on holiday so you are more relaxed and less vigilant. It means that people are ripe to be scammed when they are on holiday, and one of the places to get tourists where it hurts is in the wallet.

What are The Currency Scams?

Currency scams vary from the simple and obvious short changing you in the cafe bar type scams to actually giving you counterfeit money when you change your traveller’s cheques or exchange local currency with your own.

In some cases there are blatant attempts to scam travellers – for example people may offer you ‘the best deal on the street’ for currency exchange, then when you agree to a deal, give you a completely different amount to what was agreed or in some cases even a completely different currencyYou could also be offered money at an extortionately high exchange rate if you don’t know the going rate in banks. You would expect to pay more for the privilege of changing your money in a hotel – they make money on it and at least you know that’s the case. But the unscrupulous ‘best deals’ operators claim to be your best friends and mercilessly rip you off with high fees, high exchange rates and worse. Always check the figures and be suspicious if anyone refuses you a receipt.

The Good Samaritan Scam

There are a number of scams which use visitors’ foreign currency ignorance to carry out scams all over the world. These scams victimise tourists usually in areas that attract a lot of visitors.

What happens is that a kindly local will befriend you and try to talk you into letting them exchange your money for you because they know a good place for it where they can jump the queue and get better value for their money than on the high street or the banks.Of course, they will wait until you complain that the rates being offered by genuine bureaux de change or hotels are low, and a rip off. Then they will pounce and make their suggestion. Of course they are just conmen (or women) and if you ever see them again, you will find that they’ve scammed you out of a fair amount of your cash by giving you an even lower rate.

How to Avoid Being Scammed

The number one thing to remember is that even if the rates seem high in official currency exchange outlets – at least it’s official. If you agree to let someone else change your money for you and don’t like the rate, good luck complaining about it!

Always go to an outlet that’s legitimate. Don’t be tempted into trying the ‘Best rates on the street’ outfits. They probably think you look like a soft touch and will almost certainly overcharge you, if not scam you.

Research the exchange rates before you try and change any money. That way you’ll know if you’re being ripped off or whether the rates are just not that good generally.

Familiarise yourself with foreign currency before you leave. You could get some money changed in the UK and that way you’ll know what it looks like, cutting the chances of being duped into accepting money that’s not even legal tender. Check to see if any notes or coins have been changed recently or are no longer in circulation. You could be palmed off with out of date currency if not.

Foreign currency exchange scams can range from the petty - the money changer not counting your money out properly – or be serious crime like counterfeit notes – which will put you in trouble with the law if you try to pass them as payment. The number one best way to avoid all this hassle and the upset of a potential scam is to deal with official sources.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Samh1979
    Re: Builder's Scams
    Don’t fall foul of Arren Safavi from Lancashire decking. He looks and acts all professional however once the deposit is paid that’s him doing a…
    22 April 2022
  • Dia
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    I just received a call from someone saying from Sky not sure if it was genuine. Asked me for my address. Then my bank details, then my password for my…
    2 April 2022
  • Pepper
    Re: Scams And Seniors
    Scammed out of £12500 by a builder who has been to court several times. I paid by my debit card, have I any chance of getting compensation. I am…
    9 September 2021
  • snobbs
    Re: Builder's Scams
    We have been scammed by James Hookey & Libby Hookey... advertised for a roofer on fb, Libby contacted me to say James can help... he came quoted,…
    6 July 2021
  • Villager
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    I received a call from ‘Sky’ this week saying I had overpaid and was due a refund. This seemed fairly plausible as the day before I had telephoned Sky…
    10 June 2021
  • Sam
    Re: Builder's Scams
    Don't use Martin Jacques from swift cavity clear or swift building services based in Manchester.He did a awful job of my garden and charged thousands.
    1 June 2021
  • John
    Re: Bank Identification or BIN numbers Scam
    Okay I just don’t want to euryeurueiieoeoe you talking about to sleep or sleep no sleep sleep no cap on sleep and…
    6 May 2021
  • Scallywaggle
    Re: Builder's Scams
    I have been scammed by a man called James hookey, and his wife Libby hookey, from face book, asking for recommendation, for patio, The wife sends a…
    5 April 2021
  • don’t know
    Re: Vishing Scam
    Had a text message this morning form a mobile number saying that I’ve missed a delivery and that I needed to pay 1.50 to R.M. Lucky enough my iPhone…
    17 March 2021
  • d.a.smith
    Re: Builder's Scams
    DNF Builder and Plastering, based in North East (Newcastle/Gateshead/South Shields/Sunderland), run by David (Mancunian) and Ian. ***Do not…
    28 February 2021