3 Ways Travelers and Expats Get Screwed by Scams

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Traveling is one of life’s great joys. But it can put you in some sticky situations if you’re not careful. The same is extra true if you plan on moving overseas permanently. There are lots of financial transactions which have to occur in order to create your new life. Below, we’ve got three general categories of ways in which travelers/expats commonly get screwed. You’ll be able to see a lot more specifics in each class, but there’s not room here to enumerate all of them. For now, just think about your upcoming travel plans in light of these.

Nation-Specific Scams


If you live in the United States or….really anywhere you live….there are scams that are geared toward your demographic. You’ve probably heard about them on the news. You might even know some people who lost money this way. You think you’re prepared. Once you leave the United States, this all changes.

There are new scams and you don’t know what they are. Preparing for these scams is almost like getting immunized before traveling. For instance, if you were going to become a resident of the UK and you wanted to buy a home, you might not know that many other British homebuyers were sold PPI (payment protection insurance) without their knowledge or consent, during the mortgage process. PPI claims are still working their way through the courts. Unless you prepare yourself with knowledge of the local financial climate, your could be in trouble.

Tourist Scams


If you’re going to travel, please don’t be taken in by these tourist scams. They are many, but most fall along certain lines. In most cases, a stranger will approach you in a crowded area, either to ask for directions or request money or to offer to carry your bags. Something along those lines.

It’s important to avoid these encounters, as slowing down to hear them out may put you at risk for getting taken advantage of. This is not to say that you should not be generous or kind to strangers. But know that if you’re being approached by someone you don’t know in a foreign area lousy with tourists, that person is probably trying to take your money.

Traps You Lay Yourself


One of the worst things you can do for yourself, financially speaking, is to assume that things in a new country work just like they do back home. This naive attitude is a recipe for disaster. While many important financial concepts cross over (credit scores, APR), many others don’t.

Don’t take it for granted that your new mortgage loan will be structured like one back home. Don’t do your taxes hastily, assuming it’ll all work out the right way in the end. It pays to cross your t’s and dot your i’s when learning the financial ropes of a new country.

There are plenty of ways to lose money or fall for scams while traveling or transferring citizenship. It really pays, in these moments, to research. You’ve got to understand the new financial paths and pitfalls that lie before you. Don’t rely on your present knowledge. It won’t be sufficient. Talk to people who have been in your shoes before and have a plan before you need to act.

Photo courtesy of: Westi2605

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Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at or follow her on Twitter @shoeaholicnomor.

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