Common Tourist Scams to Avoid in Turkey: or how to not get ripped off on holiday (2022)

In every country, scams exist, and the common tourist scams in Turkey are no exception. This unfortunate fact is more prominent because scammers rely on tourists' lack of local knowledge. We can all be the target of potential frauds, and spotting who is honest and who isn’t is challenging because of various tactics used. But we firmly believe in paying attention to gut instinct.

If something seems suspicious, too good to be true, or has red flags, these are warning signs, so avoid get-rich-quick schemes, back off to protect your hard-earned cash. Also remember, 99.9% of hard-working and friendly locals are eager to help tourists, so do not let a malicious 0.01% ruin a trip. Arming yourself with knowledge, before travelling, though, is the best way to prevent an unwanted and upsetting incident. So, let’s look at what travellers need to know.

Common Tourist Scams in Turkey

1: Shoe Shine Scam

Most often occurring in major cities like Istanbul, the shoe shiner drops his box or brushes, and if you pick the items up for him, he offers a free shoeshine. So, you take a seat, and as he shines your shoes, chats innocently and casually mention extras included. Finally, they give an over-priced bill, and if you refuse to pay, his street colleagues join in and demand cash. Do not accept free shoe shines.

Common Tourist Scams to Avoid in Turkey: or how to not get ripped off on holiday (1)

(Video) Tourist Scams in Turkey & How to Avoid Them

2: Fake Coins and Artefacts

Typically occurring at the entrance to archaeological and historical sites, Saint John’s basilica in Aegean Selcuk was a common site where this happened. Scammers show antique coins dating from the Byzantine or Roman periods and insist on a bargain price of only 500 USD. Sadly, the metal coins with low-grade engravings are no older than a few months and crafted in a workshop. Also remember, any artefact over 100 years old belongs to the Republic of Turkey. Officials have arrested foreigners at airports with artefacts later confirmed as fake. Politely decline and walk away.

Common Tourist Scams to Avoid in Turkey: or how to not get ripped off on holiday (2)

3: Solo Male Traveller

The scammer approaches the solo male traveller to strike up a conversation. That person fakes an interest in shared hobbies such as football and suggests heading into a bar for drinks. Usually, women join them, and when the solo foreigner asks for his bill, it amounts to an outrageous amount like 1500 euros for four glasses and a bowl of peanuts. If you refuse to pay, heavy-hander bouncers suddenly appear to gain money forcibly and walk you to nearby bank machines. So be careful who you drink with, and who pretends to be a friend. Be aware they will still target travellers on the 4th or 5th occasion of meeting them.

Common Tourist Scams to Avoid in Turkey: or how to not get ripped off on holiday (3)


4: Turkish Rug Scams and Fake Carpets

The handmade Turkish carpet is a national symbol and a popular holiday souvenir. Sometimes, they sell for thousands of pounds, depending on their size, age, and where they are from. Unfortunately, though, phoney scammers flood the Turkish market with Chinese fakes from machine factories. The most common version is the silk carpet sold as a Herke original. Some travellers paid thousands of dollars more than what the Chinese rug is worth. Even if a vendor produces a certificate, most of the time, it is means nothing. For a genuine Turkish carpet, research the internet to find licensed and experienced dealers with an excellent reputation—more about buying Turkish rugs and kilims.

Common Tourist Scams to Avoid in Turkey: or how to not get ripped off on holiday (4)

5: The Common Currency Exchange

This often happens when buying items worth a lot of money, like jewellery, or leather, and is deliberately aimed to steal money. For example, you find something you want to buy, bargain about the price and finally, agree at 2000 Turkish lira. You hand over your credit card and the amount deducted is 2000 Euros. Always bargain and buy in the same currency, otherwise, know the current exchange rate. Also check the amount charged when entering PINs. Be wary when spending vast amounts of money and have your wits about you.

6: Restaurant Bills for Tourists

This happened to our group in a restaurant under Galata Bridge. Maybe it was an innocent mistake but something to watch out for, especially for unsuspecting large groups drinking alcohol. We asked for our bill, and two expensive fish dishes that we never ate were on there. Always check items listed on bills and ask to see the manager if there is any discrepancy. They lost out because once we discovered they were not a legitimate restaurant; we went elsewhere, and warned others.

(Video) Tourist Scams in Turkey. Watch before travelling!

Common Tourist Scams to Avoid in Turkey: or how to not get ripped off on holiday (5)

7: Tricked by Taxi Drivers

In places like Istanbul, thousands of taxi drivers earn an honest living but the odd bogus one ruins their reputation. Common complaints include distracting the passenger so they can claim you gave them 5 lira instead of 50 lira. Sometimes they have no change or neglect to use the meter or agree on a set price before setting off. So, insist on a fixed price or they switch the meter on. Monitor money and if the cab driver claims he has no change, go into a nearby shop for change. Find out about the best Taxi apps in Turkey.

Common Tourist Scams to Avoid in Turkey: or how to not get ripped off on holiday (6)

8: Romance and Online Dating Sites

Years ago, the common Turkish love rat swindle against women looking for love broke many hearts. Targeting divorced women on holiday, the Turkish man, strike up a relationship, pretends to love them and in later stages, invents fictitious stories of sick relatives and unpaid hospital bills. Hence, they would send money via Western Union or other money transfers. While these stories have decreased, the latest hoaxes focus on internet crime and fraud, and typically appear on online dating sites. Known as romance scams, women will also ask for money for plane tickets from lonely men, and once sent, they disappear. Many a duped person via text message or online dating scams, ends up heartbroken, so don’t send money to someone you haven’t met.

(Video) TRAVEL TO ISTANBUL 2021| Avoid Tourist Scams

9: Real Estate Scam

This one doesn’t happen quickly, but over many months, by people posing as friends. Many people arriving in Turkey see how cheap the property is and want to get their feet on the housing ladder. They mention it to a few friendly locals, who seem convincing and reputable, but are just after cash. Because of lack of local knowledge, you rely on them and trust their advice, but after paying the money, do not own a property. The good news is this scam is easy to avoid. Always use a licensed estate agent, a legit solicitor, use notarised contracts and always send money to business accounts, not personal. Read about how to avoid a property scam.

Common Tourist Scams to Avoid in Turkey: or how to not get ripped off on holiday (7)

Turkey Tourism Complaint Centre

Being scammed is a horrible experience that targets trust. Thankfully, thanks to the internet, avoiding scamming situations is easy. Turkish authorities also tightened up regulations and increased communication methods for tourists to report fraudsters. If a hotel carried out the fraudulent activity, report them to the Hotel Association of which they must be a member to operate. Likewise, for a travel agency. If the scam artist was a street vendor or shop, call the gendarme, Zabita or local police. Also check out the website ALO 176, mostly set up to handle with tourist swindles and where to file complaints and get advice about common tourist scams in Turkey.

About Us: We are Property Turkey, an investment and lifestyle agent for anyone looking to invest in the country. Our Blog about Turkey is full of advice for anyone who wants to travel, own a home, or live here permanently. From the shores of the Mediterranean to the rolling green plateaus of the North-east, check out our expert local knowledge in our blog, or follow us on Facebook to stay updated with news and developments from Turkey.

(Video) 5 Worst Tourist Scams in Italy 🇮🇹


How do you avoid scams in Turkey? ›

They will try to offer you an express tour and they will tell you like they can offer themselves to

How can tourists avoid scams? ›

3 Ways To Avoid Travel Scams

Don't sign or pay until you knowthe termsof the deal. Get a copy of the cancellation and refund policies before you pay. If you can't get those details, walk away. Say “no thanks” to anyone who tries to rush you without giving you time to consider the offer.

What are vacation scams? ›

In others, the "vacation" is one of several prizes in a sweepstakes. In most cases, the consumer is required to call a number for more details or to "claim" the prize. In one version of the scam, the consumer is told he will receive a package in the mail detailing the vacation offer.

Which country has the most tourist scams? ›

Let's check out some of the countries that are amazing to visit, but ones where caution should be taken.
20 Countries Where The Locals Lie To Tourists
  1. 1 North Korea.
  2. 2 Cheesy China. ...
  3. 3 Unpredictable Egypt. ...
  4. 4 Tacky Tanzania. ...
  5. 5 Little Russia. ...
  6. 6 The Philippines, Too Good To Be True? ...
20 Jan 2020

What are scams in Turkey? ›

A common scam, usually targeting lone male travellers, goes like this: A man will approach you, say hello and engage you in conversation, and then ask if you want to get a drink. He'll recommend a bar or restaurant, saying it has the best wine or the best kebab and insist on taking you there.

What should I avoid in Istanbul? ›

10 Things Not To Do In Istanbul
  • Don't Stay Close To The Sights.
  • Don't Take The Tram In Istiklal.
  • Avoid Shopping In Istiklal.
  • Don't Buy Apple Tea.
  • Don't Get Tempted By Everything That You See.
  • Don't Hesitate From Trying The Street Food.
  • Avoid Going To Burger King Or McDonald's.
  • Avoid Eating Close To Touristic Places.
26 Nov 2021

How can you tell a fake travel agent? ›

How to identify a fake Travel Agency / Agent
  • Overly cheap prices.
  • Demands for cash payments.
  • No verifiable accreditation.
  • No follow-up.
  • Does not listen or make recommendations.
  • No one has heard of them.
  • They are averse to meeting in person.
  • Reviews look too good to be true.

How do I know if a travel agent is legit? ›

Look to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for complaints filed in the company's primary area of business. Consider asking for client references, and contact those references to get the opinions of past travelers. You might also ask for comments about the provider on a travel message board.

How do you beat a con artist at his own game? ›

How To Beat Scammers At Their Own Game
  1. Search online. ...
  2. Consider how you pay. ...
  3. Don't deposit a check and wire money back. ...
  4. Don't pay upfront for a promise. ...
  5. Talk to someone. ...
  6. Spot imposters. ...
  7. Don't believe your caller ID. ...
  8. Hang up on robocalls.
29 Mar 2018

What is a vacation call? ›

A company calls you saying they will give you a free vacation to Vegas or some other fun place. Once you book your package, they inform you that you have to attend a “short” presentation. Some even add extra requirements such as bringing your spouse.

Are radio vacation giveaways real? ›

The caller claims to be with a local radio station and says you'll win a vacation, if you can answer a few music questions. The travel website they give you is real, but the contest is fake.

How do I report a pyramid scheme in Florida? ›

Call: (850) 410-7240. Email:
As a result of Florida governmental restructuring in July 1969, the Bureau became the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, or FDLE, the name the agency bears to this day. As a department of the Executive Branch of government, FDLE was headed by the Governor and Cabinet. › About-Us › General-Information
. Online: Submit a complaint via the online form: Report Fraud, Waste and Abuse within FDLE.

Where do scams come from? ›

Scams may come through phone calls from real people, robocalls, or text messages. Callers often make false promises, such as opportunities to buy products, invest your money, or receive free product trials. They may also offer you money through free grants and lotteries.

Who sold a fake airport? ›

Emmanuel Nwude

Who is the most famous con artist? ›

A closer look at 5 of the world's most infamous con artists
  1. William Thompson. ...
  2. Charles Ponzi. ...
  3. Sylvia Browne. ...
  4. Frank Abagnale. ...
  5. Bernie Madoff.
18 Jul 2022

Are there pickpockets in Istanbul? ›

As for pickpocketing, it is a huge concern on the streets of Istanbul, which is a popular tourist destination, so be careful and hold your bags tightly by your side. Places, where you should watch out for pickpockets, are Taksim Square, Sultanahmet, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul.

Is Antalya safe? ›

In general, Antalya

Antalya (Turkish pronunciation: [anˈtalja]) is the fifth-most populous city in Turkey as well as the capital of Antalya Province. › wiki › Antalya
is safe for travelers, as locals are very welcoming and eager to show foreigners their country. There are still some things to be aware of, however, just like when traveling anywhere else in the world.

Is Istanbul safe to walk at night? ›

It's considered the main slum in Istanbul and you definitely won't be safe walking around here, especially at night. Note that this area is close to the famous Istiklal street, so it's best to check your route before you head out.

Are taxis safe in Istanbul? ›

Istanbul taxi safety and complaints

Although Istanbul taxis are generally very well monitored and safe, sometimes you may find a driver that will be rude or try to scam you.

What is the best currency to use in Istanbul? ›

The best currency to use in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY). The second-best is Euro, and then US dollars. However, you will get more value for your money if paying in Lira rather than Euro and dollars.

How can I avoid being scammed in Istanbul? ›

Solution: Stay active while you're walking down the streets. These types of scammers sit down the streets. If someone throws a brush at you, don't pick up the brush and keep moving because if an honest shoe cleaner is there, he will negotiate for the price first.

How do dating scams work? ›

Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim's affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.

How long can you stay in Turkey without a visa? ›

The regulation of 90 days of stay within the last 180 days is binding for all foreigners that will travel to Turkey. - It is not possible for foreigners holding two passports to stay in Turkey for 90 days each with their two different passports within the last 180 days.

How do you haggle in a turkey? ›

Shopping & Bargaining in Turkey
  1. Don't show enthusiasm for the item you want.
  2. Decide what you think a piece is worth to you.
  3. Let the shopkeeper quote the first price.
  4. If you buy several items, get a discount.
  5. Don't haggle over pennies.
  6. Don't be afraid to walk away... (and perhaps come back).

Are there pickpockets in Istanbul? ›

As for pickpocketing, it is a huge concern on the streets of Istanbul, which is a popular tourist destination, so be careful and hold your bags tightly by your side. Places, where you should watch out for pickpockets, are Taksim Square, Sultanahmet, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul.

Can you use Uber in Istanbul? ›

Reserve a ride with Uber in advance in Istanbul

Request a ride up to 30 days in advance, at any time and on any day of the year. Press the down arrow key to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the escape button to close the calendar. Selected date is 2022/09/30.

Is it rude to tip in Turkey? ›

Tipping: It is customary to leave a tip in restaurants (10%), for hotel chambermaids, in reception for hotel staff . Taxi drivers do not normally expect a tip, but they do appreciate it, and it's acceptable to "round up" the fare.

What should female tourists wear in Turkey? ›

Clean, modest clothing is appreciated and often required when visiting mosques. In short, don't show thighs, shoulders or upper arms. Slacks, or knee-length skirt or dress; blouse or top with sleeves to at least the mid-upper-arm. Have a headscarf to cover your hair.

How do you tell if you're talking to a scammer? ›

Every scam we looked at has a few standout characteristics in common.
  1. Tries to gain trust. An online scam will often try to gain your trust in some way. ...
  2. Emotional. ...
  3. Asks for action. ...
  4. Unexpected contact. ...
  5. Asks for personal info. ...
  6. Overpays you. ...
  7. Promises something. ...
  8. Wire transfer request.
16 Oct 2021

What are the signs of a romance scammer? ›

  • 6 Signs You Might Be Dealing with a Romantic Scammer.
  • If they say, "It's an emergency." ...
  • Their stories and background aren't matching up. ...
  • They start blackmailing you. ...
  • They rope you into money laundering. ...
  • They steal your personal information. ...
  • You've never met or spoken to them.
31 May 2022

What can a scammer do with your phone number? ›

The Top 8 Ways Hackers Use Your Phone Number Against You
  • Rerouting your messages.
  • Stealing your personal information.
  • SIM swaps.
  • Text scams and spyware.
  • Doxxing that leads to harassment and fraud.
  • Blackmail using your sensitive data.
  • Spoofing caller ID numbers.
  • Preying on your family.


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