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If you are traveling to Portugal, you will be relieved to know that they have one of the lowest crime rates in the world. However, just like anywhere, scams do exist, and some of the ones here are good enough to catch you off guard. Here are the travel scams in Portugal to watch out for.
1. Fake Discounted Tickets
Many scammers will sell you discounted tickets on the streets to some of the area attractions. Usually these are fake, and when you get to the attraction, you will find that you are out the money that you paid the scammer. You then have to buy a full-price ticket on top of that. This is especially known to happen for tickets for the Torre de Belem. It’s best to never buy anything from people you meet on the street.
2. The Airport Scanner Theft
You would never dream of your items being stolen while walking through the airport scanner, but in Portugal, it has been known to happen. I know when I travel, I just blindly expect my things to be waiting for me on the other side. In Portugal, people have gone in pairs to orchestrate this scheme. One person walks through the scanner just fine. But the one in front of you, will keep things in his pockets on purpose to hold up the security line. While he is busy removing change and things from his pockets, his friend will have walked off with your laptop. The best prevention for airport scanner theft is to wait and make sure that the people in front of you have gone through the scanner before you let put your things on the conveyor belt.
3. Beware The Parking Scammers
Something else you should be aware of when traveling to Portugal are the parking scams. This is a scam that is especially known to happen in the Algarve area of Portugal since that is an area that many tourists visit. Scammers hang out in the free parking lots near the beaches. They will direct you as to which space to park in, and then tell you that you must pay to park in that spot. They can be quite convincing with their excuses as to why you should pay them. Even people who have known it was a scam have given them money because they are afraid of something happening to their car if they don’t. Don’t give in to fear. The best way to handle this situation is to go to a different spot than the one you are being directed into. If they still ask you for money, just refuse and point to the sign that says “Free Parking.”
4. Currency Exchange Rate Scam
Many currency exchange offices in Portugal are using different exchange rates than the ones presented on their front window. While these currency offices offer what appears to be favorable rates for currency exchange, when it comes to the actual exchange of money, many types of commissions and fees are applied, making changing currency into Euro extremely expensive. The best way to avoid that is to pay for as much things as possible via bank wires or specialized services to send money to Portugal upfront, and change local currency into Euro in your own home country.
As you can see the travel scams that happen in Portugal are very minor. Being aware of these most common ones can make traveling to Portugal painless and a great experience.