How to avoid tourist scams in Santiago , Chile in 2022

How to avoid these 6 tourist scams in Santiago , Chile

Tourist scams are the only negative side of travelling (along with the expenses). It´s unfortunate that these amazing destinations we visit have a small minority who thrive to take advantage of innocent tourists that come to provide income for their local economy. Santiago , Chile is no different and has it´s typical scams as well. Here is how to avoid tourist scams in Santiago , Chile in 2022. While this article will highlight the main tourist scams that tend to occur in Santiago , I highly suggest you watch a documentary on Netflix about tourist scams called “Scam City” .

Picture Scam

One popular scam in Santiago , Chile is when a local asks you to take their picture. They hand you their camera and ask that you take their picture. Upon returning the camera, they purposely drop it and blame you for breaking their camera, demanding you pay them. Kindly refuse to take anyone´s picture (or unless you are 100% sure they are not locals).

Taxis Overcharging

When Uber and its alternatives are not available in a destination, we must use taxis. Santiago , Chile is no different. Whenever you hop into a taxi in Santiago , make sure to ask them to turn on the meter. It´s also recommended to map out your journey prior to entering the taxi, so you have an idea as to how long the trip should take. This way, you can ask your taxi drive prior to entering approximately how long the trip will take and cross reference it with what Google Maps or Waze shows you on your phone.

Friendly ATM Helper

Someone approaches you at an ATM cash machine in Santiago to help you avoid local bank fees. Their true intention is to scan your debit or credit card with the card skimmer in their pocket and watch you enter your pin number so they can drain your account later. Another version of this popular scam is when your card has trouble at an ATM machine and they approach and want to help you sort it out. Make sure to always cover the number pad with your other hand while entering your pin code. While it´s best to refuse any help when at an ATM machine, it´s even better if you can travel with credit cards that have no foreign currency fees and cash that can be exchanged in a local bank in Santiago , Chile.

“Friendly” Bar Friends

If hooking up is part of your plans while visiting Santiago , Chile, beware of the following scam. Two friendly girls (or guys) will make small talk and lead you to believe that there is mutual interest. They will then suggest to go for a drink and will invite you to join them to a bar nearby (which they are partners with). After a couple shots you will end up paying 5-10 times more. They will offer to chip in a small amount but if you don´t pay up, you will be escorted by the bar bodyguards to an ATM to withdraw enough cash to pay the bill. In order to avoid falling to this tourist scam in Santiago , there are a few things you can do. First, you can suggest the bar. Second, make sure to ask for the bar menu once you arrive so you can see the prices.

Bird Poop Scam

While walking in the streets of Santiago , someone throws a bit of white paste on your shoulder, so your natural intention is to look up thinking it was bird poop. Suddenly, a “friendly” local offers to help clean up, all this while cussing at the birds for creating such a mess. While they help clean you, they also pick pocket you.
Unless an emergency, kindly refuse any “help” from locals who rush over to assist you. Keep all your possessions hidden away, ideally money/cards in an internal pocket

Guessing Game Scam

While walking the streets of Santiago , Chile, you see a man with three boxes and he has a group of people around him trying to guess in which box the ball is placed. One of the people in the group guesses the correct answer, and the man hands him a money as a prize. They do this again with another member of the group, with the same reaction. The commotion attracts more and more people to come and see this generous street performer. Then, an innocent bystander from the crowd is asked to guess. While concentrated in focusing on where the ball is, the members in the group quickly pick pocket them for any valuables.

It´s best to stay away from public commotion and keep all valuables hidden from the public.

We know you will enjoy your trip to Santiago , Chile, but just make sure to be aware of these common tourist scams that can dent your amazing experience.

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