Photo by Pedro Szkely/Flickr CC
Colombia travel can be breathtaking and inspiring, but this is an area in which a great deal of caution must be used. One of the biggest safety issues in Colombia is robbery through the use of drugs. Never accept food or drinks that are offered by people that you barely know.
Also, be warned that one of the biggest scams in Colombia is performed by people pretending to be police. They will tell you that they need to inspect your money to make sure it isn’t counterfeit. They will then tell the traveler that the money they have is counterfeit, and offer a receipt for that person to take to the police station to get genuine money to replace the counterfeit money. Of course, once the person gets to the police station, they will find out that they were scammed and that there is no replacement for their money. You would think that people would have to be naïve to give up their money, but people often feel intimidated when they think they are dealing with the police.
Also, don’t ever get your money changed on the street, as counterfeit money is very common in Colombia. Don’t let the offer of a really good rate convince you to exchange your money with that person. It is usually fake money. The best way to get the local currency is through an ATM. Also, since robbery can be common in Colombia, try to avoid using an ATM on the street where people can watch you walk away. A good practice is to use one in a store, and then shop in the store for a bit, so if anyone is watching you, they will think you spent most of the money in the store.
Pickpockets are often common in Colombia, and they will often use the scam of spilling something on you and then trying to pick your pocket while you are distracted.
Follow these tips and you should avoid these Colombia travel scams.