Most Common Money Exchange Scams And How To Avoid Them
International travel may well be the last thing on your mind in the current climate, even as overseas economies reboot and the world’s leading tourist destinations reopen their borders. However, if you are planning a trip abroad, you may be considering exchanging your money so that you can use local currency while overseas. However, there are a number of currency exchange scams that you need to be wary of, each of which can cost you some of your hard-earned cash. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common scams, while asking how you can avoid them as a traveller.
What Are The Most Common Money Exchange Scams?
Some of the oldest money exchange scams are relatively overt, as they rely on the traditional methods of distraction and sleight of hand to steal your hard-earned travel budget. For example, the oldest form of money exchange scam relies on the tried-and-tested combination of fast talk and even faster hands, as the scammer or their accomplice distracts you while the money changer counts out small piles of notes. This enables them to shift notes around quickly and effectively double count them, leaving you with considerably less money than you’ve purchased.
This type of scam is typically run from backstreet currency exchangers or individual operators based in markets, while such individuals may also take advantage of your naivety by circulating fake currency (particularly if you’ve never visited the area before and are unfamiliar with the local tender). However, most contemporary scams are far more subtle and nuanced, with the promise of so-called “commission free” exchanges offering a relevant case in point. The reason for this is simple; as money changers tend to make their money from the spread (which is the difference between their cost price and the charged rate), rather than an overt fee. This is a common tactic, but while honest exchangers will charge a reasonable spread, rogue operators will apply a far higher fee. Some currency exchange scams also use questionable calculations (or deliberately unfavourable rates) to steal your cash. Even on a fundamental level, the use of the memory recall function on a calculator can make any amount appear on screen and encourage you to pay well above market value.
How to Avoid Falling Prey to These Scams
The good news is that you can avoid falling prey to these scams through relatively simple means, depending on the precise method used by fraudsters to separate you from your cash. For example, you can undermine efforts of double counting money exchangers simply by counting the notes out yourself, rather than relying on the word of others. We’d also recommend unbecoming familiar with the look and feel of the relevant local currency before making an exchange, so you’ll be able to detect fake notes if they’re presented to you. Of course, slightly more subtle scams can be harder to detect and counteract, so it’s important that you’re prepared as an international traveller. It’s particularly important that you familiarise yourself with the relevant exchange rate well in advance of your trip, so be sure to use online trading platforms and tools to monitor price trends over the course of several months. This should help you to calculate the amount that you’ll need to pay for a predetermined amount of capital, while alerting you to anyone who attempts to overcharge you or apply a particularly high spread.
Ranted by Guest Writer