22 Most Common Tourist Scams in Morocco

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Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen

 

Travelling to Morocco in Africa is an experience not to be missed. It is a simple, laid-back life enjoyed with excellent food and marvellous scenery.

You have the Sahara desert, interesting Mosque architecture, riads (traditional Moroccan houses), treasure hunting at Medinas, mint tea, palaces, carpets and more!

However, scamming tourists is rampant here. Warm and friendly people obviously exist, but if you are not careful, you can easily fall for a scam or tourist trap.

Read on to learn how to protect yourself and enjoy the marvellous experience Morocco has to offer!

 

 

A. TOURIST ACTIVITIES

1. The nice guy scam

Moroccan

Moroccan. Source: intrepidtravel.com

 

How it works:

Due to Morocco’s low minimum wage (100 DH or ~10 USD for 8 hours), many resort to offering unsolicited help in exchange for a tip.

For instance, if you look lost at a busy market, a nice guy will approach and guide you to wherever you want to go.

He then demands a tip which can range anywhere from 20-50% of his minimum wage. See how lucrative it is now?

There are a few variations of this scam.

  • The earlier described pointing directions out to you.
  • Or pointing a spot with better views and helping you taking photos.
  • Not demanding a tip right away, but continue helping and asking for a big sum of money at the end.

 

What to do:

Unfortunately, the police cannot be counted on if you find yourself harassed by them.

If you are approached by an overly friendly local stranger out of nowhere offering his help, firmly reject unless you really need it.

Remember, the wider the smile, the sharper the knife.

 

2. The henna women scam

Henna

Henna

 

How it works:

Spotted frequently at the Jemna El-Fna, Marrakech’s main square, you will find ladies here who force their henna ink onto tourists sneakily.

When you realize, they will apologize and offer to do a full henna tattoo instead. It will seem like there’s nothing to lose at this stage.

However, when the job is completed, an inflated sum of money will be demanded.

Note that even if you were to approach them in the first place, any price that was initially agreed upon can be jacked up at the end.

 

What to do:

The scammers will not care how the henna tattoo turns out, as long as it gets done. So reject firmly.

If you want to do one, do some online research or check with your hotel / hostel staff on a reputable place to go.

 

3. Live animal, costume photo scam

 

How it works:

Again, in Jemna El-Fna, Marrakech’s main square, you will find people carrying animals such as snakes or monkeys.

  • When you walk by, they will place the animal on you, snatch your camera and take a photo of you.
  • An extortionate tip / donation is then demanded.
  • If you take a photo of these people / animals, they will demand payment as well.

Besides animals, another variation is scammers who pose in traditional Moroccan costumes as well as performing dancers.

 

What to do:

Keep a safe distance away.

Also, be careful if an overly friendly local offers to help you take a photo with your camera, as he might simply run away with it.

Else, he will hold your camera hostage while demanding a big tip.

 

4. The water sellers

Moroccan water sellers

Moroccan water sellers

 

How it works:

Similar to the live animals / costume photographers, the water sellers are dressed in traditional Moroccan grub.

As the name suggests, water sellers in the past operate in these costumes, but they do not do so now.

Rather, they operate by charging an amount should you take a photo of or with them.

 

What to do:

Stay away unless if you wouldn’t mind paying for a photo with them.

 

5. Camel / horse rides

Camel ride in the sand dunes of Morocco

Camel ride in the sand dunes of Morocco

 

How it works:

This scam works similar to tuk-tuks in Thailand or Vietnam.

There is a chance that the tour operator might bring you somewhere far away from town and then demand additional money.

Other operators might demand an over inflated fee right at the start.

 

What to do:

  • Offline operators: ask – is the operator licensed? Is there a website, office and working phone number? Are there real online reviews? What does the price cover – is it too cheap?
  • Online platforms: GetYourGuide (leading day tour platform globally) – popular tours include:

 

 

  • Paying: avoid paying in full upfront (unless reputable operator) or off the (online) platform.
  • During the tour: identify the route back so you will not be stranded, ask to get down before you start negotiating.

 

6. Kif / Hashish set-up

Growing kif

Growing kif. Source: hempforfuture.com

 

How it works:

Kif or Hashish is a locally produced drug.

There are dealers and police members who work together to set tourists up with drugs and then demand a bribe to cover up the “crime”.

 

What to do:

Do not buy drugs here (or anywhere!).

This is because Morocco is taking a tough stance against those in possession of drugs – if you’re caught, be prepared to end up in jail.

 

7. Place is closed and they lead you to a tannery

Tannery in Fez

Tannery in Fez

 

How it works:

This is extremely common in the touristy parts of Morocco.

Scammers will first befriend you and give you some tips to build trust. Once trust is built, the scammer will ask where you are headed to and then claim that the place or lane is closed.

Like clockwork, you will meet another passerby (accomplice) who will corroborate the account that this path or place is closed. He will then lead you to a tannery.

There’s usually a lingering smell which messes with your senses and many small roads making it akin to a maze.

So once you’re in, it’s difficult to get out unless you buy something.

 

What to do:

When someone tells you that a place or a lane is closed, brush him off and continue on your path.

Do note that the police will most likely not help as they would probably have been paid off Mafia style.

 

8. Fake Persian carpets, rugs, ceramics, Argan oil

Morocco pottery shop

Morocco pottery shop

 

How it works:

Items popular with tourists (carpets, ceramics, Argan oil) sold at the major touristy markets are generally fake.

Do not believe claims such as this carpet is 50 years old or from a certain tribe.

Another version is that of the “business opportunity”:

  • A scammer introduces himself, and claims to be here to buy rugs / ceramics / Argan oil to sell for a handsome profit back home.
  • He offers to bring you around the souks to tour but eventually you will end up at a carpet / rug shop.
  • Next, he claims that due to his connections, you can get a huge discount on the (fake) carpet / rug.

 

What to do:

Items to be wary of:

  • Argan oil: only buy at pharmacies. Those sold by souk / street vendors are just vegetable oil with an inflated price tag.
  • Kilim rugs: those sold to tourists in souks are usually woven from a type of cotton dyed with natural dyes, not with silk as many of them claim. If you want one, get a trusted local to go with you.

Places to check out:

  • If you do not want to haggle, the Ensemble Artisanal shopping complex located close to the main Jemaa el Fnaa square is one you can check out.
  • Other non-touristy areas with better quality / more interesting wares to check out include Gueliz and Sidi Ghanem.

Bargaining:

  • Check online with your hotel / hostel staff on how much certain items should cost.
  • If not, start your bargaining at ~25% of the price, as the first price quoted is often nonsensical

Else, you can also consider shopping tours:

  • GetYourGuide (leading day tours platform globally) has a few such options:
 

 

 

9. Carpet / rug / currency swapping

Rugs in Marrakech

Rugs in Marrakech

 

How it works:

What’s worse than buying fake rugs is having bought a good quality one only to have the vendor swap it with a fake.

Generally, the vendor will have an accomplice distract you so that he can do the swap at an opportune time.

Currency can be swapped as well.

For instance, after you hand the notes over, the vendor drops the notes accidentally or swaps a large note with a smaller note.

He will then demand you top up the difference.

 

What to do:

Never let your attention stray. If you are suspicious, check the rug again after they have packed it.

 

10. $1 now, $2 later!

 

How it works:

There are rouge vendors who do not keep their word.

An amount could be agree upon initially, but at inflated amount is demanded at the payment stage.

 

What to do:

Never pay until service / product is fully delivered. Also only deal with reputable vendors / shops.

 

11. Fake official tour guide

Souk in Morocco

Souk in Morocco

 

How it works:

This is pretty similar to the fake nice guy scam, though somewhat different.

The scammer will claim to be an official guide who is being paid by the tourist board, and offer to bring you on a tour.

To put you at ease regarding payments or tips, he will not demand any money.

However, he will bring you to the famed carpet / rug shop in town and pressure you into getting a fake / lousy quality one at inflated prices..

There are also those who claim no payment is needed initially but at the end of the “tour”, demand a tip aggressively.

 

What to do:

  • Offline operators: ask – is the operator licensed? Is there a website, office and working phone number? Are there real online reviews? What does the price cover – is it too cheap?
  • Online platforms: GetYourGuide (leading day tour platform globally) – popular tours include:
 

 

  • Paying: avoid paying in full upfront (unless reputable operator) or off the (online) platform.

 

12. Pickpocket

Djemma El Fna, Marrakech

Djemma El Fna, Marrakech

 

How it works:

If you are at a souk or medina, there is a chance you will be targeted by a pickpocket. Jemma el-Fnaa for instance is a favourite hot spot.

These thieves work in gangs, and will hang around to spot anyone carrying an expensive or neglected phone / jewelry / valuable / bag and where it is stored.

Once they mark a target, they surround you and then work like this:

  • One keeps a lookout and blocks passer-bys from seeing the scene.
  • Another blocks, pushes or distracts you (e.g. ask you an innocent question / survey / drop something and ask you about it).
  • A third steals your valuable / slashes your bag and then passes it on.
  • The last hides the loot under a jacket / coat / newspaper and then escapes.

 

What to do:

Stay alert and watch out for suspicious characters, though that is easier said than done.

The best solution is still, to not make yourself look like a target. 

Make it impossible for thieves to steal from you with these methods:

  • Carry a photocopy of your passport instead of the actual one.
  • Keep your wallet in the front pocket.
  • Conceal small valuables in a money belt / hidden pouch.
  • Store large valuables in a slash-resistant and lockable anti-theft bag.
  • Leave most valuables in your hotel / hostel / apartment safe, secured with hotel safety tools.
  • Get a good travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – our review) which covers loss of valuables.

 

B. TRANSPORT

1. Rogue taxi drivers

Morocco taxis

Morocco taxis. Source: YouTube – jjvanwinckel

 

How it works:

In Morocco, there are a multitude of ways for rogue taxi drivers to overcharge you:

  • Unlicensed drivers and drivers who do not turn on the meter who demand an inflated fare.
  • Airport taxi drivers who charge an exorbitant amount, not allow you to share cabs, and jack up the initially agree upon price once you are out of the airport.
  • Some will bring you to shops where they get to earn a commission (big business, as drivers can earn up to or more than 50% of items you buy).
  • Producing an “official” looking charge sheet with inflated prices reflected on it.

 

What to do:

Only take taxis that use meters.

Or if you have done your research – check online forums, with your hotel / hostel staff, an online taxi fare estimator tool – you can agree on a reasonable upfront fare.

Never pay your fare upfront when booking or making an arrangement with a taxi driver to turn up later. They will disappear once they get their money.

Also, never follow their recommendations, stick to the plan which you have spent hours researching on.

Finally, you can also consider arranging private transport through your hotel / hostel or day tour platforms like GetYourGuide (global leader) – 30+ options:

 

 

 

C. MISCELLANEOUS

1. Overcharging restaurants

Moroccan cuisine

Moroccan cuisine. Source: folomojo.com

 

How it works:

Again, there are a multitude of ways rogue restaurants can use to fleece you:

  • Two different menus: the cheaper one when you first enter, and the more expensive one when it is time to pay (the police knows this and knows which restaurants are the culprits, so you are covered).
  • Claiming that bread and water are complimentary, but charge them in the bill.
  • Charging you for food which you have never ordered.

 

What to do:

  • Eat at reputable places and avoid those promoted by touts.
  • Check the menu (prices, fine print), do not eat what was not ordered, check your bill.
  • You may also consider a food tour for a local experience – GetYourGuide (leading day tours platform) has a couple of options:
 

 

 

2. Fake police

 

How it works:

You can find this scam everywhere around the world (e.g. UAE, Indonesia, Brazil), although in different variations.

The scam in Morocco goes like this. A stranger will put an item into your hand. When you try to return it, he will accuse you of robbing him.

At this moment, a fake policeman walks by. You will be asked to pay a compensation fee or be threatened with arrest.

 

What to do:

If you have not obviously broken the law, be very skeptical when a “police officer” approaches you.

Three steps you can use to shake them off:

  • Verify badges and identification. Threaten to call the police hotline (end of this article).
  • Never give your passport if asked. Show only a photocopy of it.
  • If they want to fine you or check your bags, insist to only do so at a police station (use your GPS to find it or check with a local) with a lawyer or someone from your embassy.

Next, you should have hidden your valuables in a money belt or hidden pouch and use a cheap spare wallet with not much cash inside.

This way, the scammers may simply let you go since you do not seem to have much cash.

 

3. Medina / tannery’s entrance “fee”

Marrakech

Marrakech

 

How it works:

Similar to scam #7, there are scammers who demand an entrance fee at a medina or tannery, which is obviously free to the public.

 

What to do:

Firmly refuse, explain that it is free and walk past them.

 

4. Rigged ATMs

 

How it works:

Generally, ATMs can be rigged in two ways.

First, the card skimmer and pinhole camera / keypad overlay set up:

  • A card skimmer is installed over the card slot to capture your card details.
  • The pinhole camera / keypad overlay is used to capture your PIN.

Second, the card trap:

  • The card slot can be rigged with cheap tools to trap your card.
  • When your card is stuck, someone will come over and tell you that if you retype your PIN, your card will be unblocked.
  • Obviously, your card will still be stuck, but the scammer will now have seen your PIN.
  • Should you head into the bank / somewhere to seek help, the scammer will unblock your card and escape.

 

What to do:

Avoid using ATMs at dark, secluded areas. Use only at controlled environments such as in banks.

Scan the area for suspicious looking characters and cover your PIN when typing it in.

Also, although not directly relevant, consider using a RFID blocking wallet.

That will prevent your cards’ details from being skimmed by thieves with a mobile RFID reader / scanner.

 

5. Fake gifts / musicians

Street performer in Morocco

Street performer in Morocco

 

How it works:

This is very similar to the musician scam in the US.

A musician will forcefully pass you a CD (most likely a blank CD) and ask you to check out his music. Should you accept, payment will be demanded.

This can happen for any item, as long as it is a physical item.

 

What to do:

Firmly reject. This is not the way to support local music.

 

6. Toilet “fee”

 

How it works:

Note that you do not have to pay to use the public toilet!

There are scammers who hang around at the entrance and demand a small fee.

Most tourist pay as they do not know and it is a small sum.

 

What to do:

That said, depending on how large the sum is, it might be better to just pay and not waste time arguing.

 

7. Fake beggars

A beggar in Morocco

A beggar in Morocco. Source: trekearth.com

 

How it works:

In Morocco, scammers will pose as beggars with ailments such as being blind or being unable to walk.

 

What to do:

Ignore. Else you run the risk of attracting other beggars, or potentially get your valuables stolen by them.

 

8. Hotel Amira et Vacances

 

How it works:

The hotel has been accused of racism, where the plaintiff’s Senegalese friend was asked to leave even after having paid in full.

 

What to do:

Avoid, stay only at reputable / well reviewed places.

 

9. Fake hotel recommendations

A guesthouse in Marrakech

A guesthouse in Marrakech

 

How it works:

There are hotels which hire people to approach tourists on the streets. These are usually poor quality hotels which charge inflated prices.

The street touts will provide a glowing recommendation of the hotel and encourage you to stay there.

An example reported is the Pension Talaa in Fez’s Medina.

 

What to do:

Firmly reject.

Stay only at legitimate places which you can find via:

  • Booking.com: Frommer’s tests have found the site to offer the best selection and rates amongst competing sites most of the time.
  • Homestay: if you are up for gaining genuine insights of Morocco by staying with a local host!

 

D. KEY SAFETY ISSUES

This is not meant to be a fear mongering exercise, as most visits are trouble free as long as you exercise some common sense.

However, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Information below has been compiled from:

                                                     

1. Violent crime, hazards, hotspots, terrorism, civil unrest

Map of safe and unsafe regions in Morocco. Source: smartraveller.gov.au

 

How it works:

A brief summary:

  • Violent crime: armed robberies occur, but scams and petty crime more of a concern.
  • Hazards: unexploded mines in Western Sahara area (sovereignty remains unresolved) and surrounding areas such as Mauritiana.
  • Hotspots: threat of kidnappings along borders with Algeria and Mauritania.
  • Terrorism: there are locals who belong to Daesh and extremist groups. Plots regularly disrupted by authorities.
  • Civil unrest: demonstrations occur occasionally, though more frequent in the north (Al Hoceima, Tangier, Nador).

 

What to do:

Stay alert, avoid secluded areas, travelling alone at night, hiking alone, and don’t look like an easy victim (e.g. looking like a tourist / flaunting valuables).

Monitor local media in case of any terrorist threats, and avoid the danger zones and demonstrations.

 

2. Medical care

A hospital in Morocco

A hospital in Morocco. Source: leseco.ma

 

How it works:

Medical care is good in the larger cities of Rabat, Marraksh and Casablanca.

Diseases to vaccinate against / watch out for include:

  • Insect borne diseases: leishmaniasis, rift valley virus, west nile virus.
  • Food and water borne diseases: travellers’ diarrhoea, typhoid, hepatitis.
  • Animal borne diseases: avian influenza, rabies.
  • Others: some henna tattoos contain the chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD) which may cause allergic reaction.

 

What to do:

If you can’t afford travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads – our review), you can’t afford to travel, as:

  • Emergency health services can cost a bomb.
  • Insurance providers can make complex logistical arrangements to get you the best medical treatment fast.

Vaccinations to consider:

  • All travellers: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, flu shot.
  • Most travellers: hepatitis A, typhoid.
  • Some travellers: hepatitis B, rabies.

Prevent insect bites:

  • Protective clothing.
  • Insect repellents.
  • Insecticide treated bed / cot nets.
  • Plug-in insecticides.
  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass.

Food safety:

  • Practise safe hygiene such as washing hands with soap.
  • Only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled.
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products, ice cubes, uncooked and undercooked food.

Activities:

  • Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds).

 

3. Natural disasters

 

How it works:

A brief summary:

  • Earthquakes: Morocco lies in an earthquake zone, so there may be minor earthquakes (the last strong one was in 2004 which hit the port town of Al Hoceima in the north).
  • Rainy season: November to March, potential flash flooding particularly in mountainous areas (e.g. High Atlas Valley area) or areas near rivers.

 

What to do:

Effective preparation and prevention involves staying at the “right” place, travelling at the “right” time and getting travel insurance (e.g. World Nomadsour review) that covers natural disasters.

Check the latest media reports, weather forecasts and sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

Reacting to one:

  • Earthquakes: drop (to hands and knees), cover (head and neck with arms), hold on (to sturdy furniture; expect aftershocks.

 

4. Transport safety

 

How it works:

Driving in Morocco can be hazardous, especially during certain months of the year.

Some points of note:

  • Large traffic numbers when overseas Moroccans return from July to September.
  • Potential flash flooding during rainy season of November to March.
  • Poor driving practices.
  • Poor lighting systems.
  • Roads in rural areas are unpaved.
  • Roads in the mountains are steep, narrow and windy.
  • Buses are usually overcrowded.

As for public transportation:

  • Trains: safe and reliable.
  • Buses: usually overcrowded and may be subject to reckless driving.

 

What to do:

Before going out, check the latest media reports and weather forecast.

When on the road, stay alert, wear seatbelts, keep doors locked and windows up.

 

E. GETTING HELP

1. Emergency numbers to call

Morocco police

Morocco police. Source: riadzany.blogspot.com

 

  • Police: 190 or 112
  • Police outside the city: 177
  • Ambulance: 150
  • Fire brigade: 15

Join the community!

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34 Comments

  1. Sarah

    Wow! That’s a very negative look at Morocco. I have been there 10 times over the past 3 years and never had any problems.

    Reply
    • Odalis Douglin

      Neither do I!!! YOU PEOPLE ARE TOO MUCH!!

      Reply
      • Ian

        I’m here at the moment and most things are true. Have not had the bad experience of attacks or police but I was asked not to visit fes at night, some parts of Marrakech and Casablanca due to danger.

        Reply
    • Joe Qasse

      10 times in 3 years, it’s impossible that you haven’t been scammed, especially if you don’t talk any Arabics language and you don’t look Arabs. Because I went there in 1987 and I’ve been scam and 90% of the tourist I meet they were all piss off of the scamming in Morocco and it’s no wonder the government has passed a law over scamming.

      Reply
    • Jens

      I have just returned from a road trip through parts of Morocco (Agadir, Atlas mountains, Marrakesh, Rabat, to name a few) and it was a pretty good experience overall. 95% of the people are really friendly and helpful. Especially if you go to recommended / well-rated places and ask these people for advise, they will tell you what’s best. Like in most places in the world.
      Nevertheless, scam seems to be present everywhere and is really annoying and a PITA. Fortunately, we were able to avoid most of the trouble because we were (more or less successfully) rejecting any offers.
      One of the “nice guys” would not walk away even though we knew the way to our Riad. When arriving there, he demanded a “tip” (for not telling us anything we had not known before) which we refused to give. Instead, we asked the Riad manager to send the guy away.
      You will find these “nice guys” on all the tourist places, some more obtrusive and pushy than others. It may be that some of them could actually help / guide you for a reasonable price. We never tried though because we were already too p*ssed off.
      Here’s the point where I have to say that these Moroccans are really ruining it for ALL of them. I would happily spend my money there and tip nice and helpful people (which I did when they did NOT ask for it)!! Instead, I tried to keep my money together, probably doing many of these people wrong, but there is no good way to find out beforehand.
      I got stopped by police two times, one time for speeding a little, and another time because my mate did not put on her seat belt. First time I had to pay 150 MAD and received an official document about that sum (fair enough), and they let us get away with the seat belt thing. So no complaints here.
      In the city of El Jasira, we saw men coming out of a mosque after the afternoon prayer, giving two beggar women some money. As this seems to be common practice by locals, we decided to give them some change as well.
      On Jemaa El-Fna (big quare) in Marrakech, we were having dinner at one of the big tourist food stands, and while the food quality was okay, they brought some plates that we did not order (like olives or additional couscous). When we wanted to discuss, they asked us to step aside not to “distract” other customers. We decided to pay that price and did not give any tip. My friend wanted to take a picture with a poor monkey so we did and payed like 10 MHD.
      So overall, it was an amazing experience. The landscape and nature is simple stunning and most people are at least as friendly as anywhere else in the world. But there are some scammers who are ruining it, and Morrocco would be much better off by sending these people to h*ll!

      Reply
  2. VictrJule

    A policeman charged me a fine on the spot for a very small error whilst driving with no cars anywhere or threat to others. Which in other countries can be be easily forgiven or warned to be careful. He asked for a large and sum. No choice but to pay as fear kicks in.

    Later to realise, there’s no evidence, no paper trial, no nothing. Just got robbed by the people protecting tourists? I’m still thinking if I should escalate this further.
    If any law knowledgeable people can give me a comment just to ease my conscious, would be grateful.
    Everything in this article is true and I have similar stories from more visitors. Just because it has not happeend to you does not mean it won’t happen to anyone else.

    Similarily bad things happen everywhere. Not judging.

    Reply
    • Mehdi KASSORI

      can I.know what happened? I am moroccan qnd I can.show you where to go.
      by the way in every place there is the good and the bad.
      kidnapping is impossible, beggars are even in saudi arabia (rich country), scammers are everywhere etc.. just do not show morocco like Juarez in Mexico or some canabis colombian farm.

      in morocco you can knock at any door say “i’m hungry” you will see the level of hospitality, you will eat untill you get full and even a big chance to be accomodated for FREE.

      Reply
      • Lvc

        Most of the things are true. It is a shame that some people make the Moroccan experience awful. When I arrive a taxi driver charge us 10 times more than the average price, then I bought a very expensive argan oil that I’m now afraid it is not argan oil, at least 10 people including children try to “help us” to find a place when we were not looking for any place just walking around, and what I hated it more was that they didn’t understand the word NO!. A guy help us saying that he didn’t want any money but lead us to his “friend” store. When we were in the mentioned above square we were harassed by two people: one was the henna lady that just wanted to grab my hand and the other was a guy with a snake that just put a snake in my boyfriend’s arm and then wanted money. We had only coins and he started screaming “no coins, paper money!!”, then in the same square we bought a very expensive orange juice for 15 dirhams when the normal price was 4. Don’t you Moroccans realise that these things that happen EVERYDAY destroy your reputation and tourism? we couldn’t even enjoy our time in neither Marrakech and Fes.

        Reply
      • amla

        We were attacked by 3 people on the street, they wanted our money, but fortunately we got a strong man and nothing happened …
        We knocked at the doors and nobody helped us 🙁
        They saw we were surrounded and attacked and closed the doors … we were frightened and helpless, Morocans laughing and closing the doors in front of us….
        Never go back! It’s unsafe and fake “friendly”

        Reply
  3. Angel of truth

    MERZOUGA SCAMMERS
    Merzouga is a beautiful romantic village in the middle of the desert. Women fall for the charms of the men here without realising that the majority are working as call-boys/prostitutes for a living. They are very loving and charming. They get the girls/women to fall in love with them, talñking about romance and future. The women/girls keep travelling there to visit their boyfriends, taking with them gifts of clothes, telephones, sunglasses etc., and pay for everything they do with their “boyfriend”. They pay the alcohol, tobacco, food, hotel rooms…. Usually (blind from love) they leave money for their boyfriends when they return home. Later the men are asking for money per Western Union, using excuses such as they must put credit on their phone to be able to chat, or repair their phones to keep contact, pay electricity, debts, and whateverelse they can think of. Often if they think their “girlfriends” have a bit of money they suggest larger sums to enable them to buy a jeep to do excursions for tourists so enable them to build a busiuness so their girlfriends can eventually move there or to make money to start to build a home for the future together. Little do the women/girls realise that they are being scammed, and actually PAYING to have a “nice time” with a man on “holiday. Usually, a few months later (or 3 or 4 years) the women/girls find out that they are not the only “girlfriend”. There are usually at least 2 or 3 others in the mans life…. all travelling to morocco to spend time with their “boyfriends” when they can. The men there in Merzouga find it normal to use the women in this way. They feel no guilt. It is their way to get money, and needs. I speak from experience. I know many women/girls that have fallen for this scam and ended up very hurt (and sometimes quite broke!). THIS IS THE REALITY OF MERZOUGA. Often these men contact women through messenger, after checking out the females facebook to see if they are single, rich, looking for boyfriend, sad, adventurous… and especially “older” women that are alone because these are usually the most generous. They start with sweet introductions, then video chats, then start pestering for the women to visit. ALmost all say and do the same things. It is a planned scam, and there are people they call “uncle” who often have homes/rooms somewhere for them to stay. Women believe the “uncles” are family, but they are not. They are mafia. Helping control the “business” in Merzouga….

    Reply
    • mehdi K

      this is not totally trud, there is no mafia, there is, lkke in everyplace some people who does that but you CAN NOT STEREOTYPE, maybe you survived from such experience but we moroccans are not all like that.

      I had an experience with a lady, sexy older and MARRIED from UK, she asked to be my GF and to divorce her husband for me or be her sex master, I refused and said NO I AM NOT RAISED LIKE THAT, and this is how I lost one of my biggest and best customers (handcraft products).

      Reply
    • Desert Thorn

      Hi. I was wondering if you would be able to give me any more information about this scenario. Right now I am afraid that i might be living it. I have not been asked for money directly at all, ever, but I helped build him a tourism website (kind of at my own suggestion, to help) and am staying here and am paying for everything, because we’re from different circumstances, and if i didn’t help just pay the costs of daily living (really just groceries), he would have to be out doing the tours and couldn’t spend time with me, is how i understand it. But, we met in person, on a tour. Not online. We’re quite similar in age, both younger than 35. I’m paying just for groceries, but also to stay in a house where we can be alone, because that’s kind of the only option for places we can actually stay, is my understanding. BUT last time I was here, we did indeed stay in his “uncle”‘s house. Any other warning signs to look for that this is somehow not real? I met his family including mother and grandmother, sister, brother, everyone is sweet and generous. I’m quite concerned after seeing your comment here. It never occurred to me that my boyfriend could somehow be a callboy. I didn’t know that existed here. Please advise. Thank you.

      Reply
      • Warningwomen

        This is 100 % true and the very same thing has just happened to me. I didn’t go into the relationship blindly and it told me ages to trust him. I am actually so very impressed how well he has managed to scam me as I thought I was fairly smart. It has honestly been the worst feeling in the world when all the truth unraveled and I genuinely can’t believe how he’s got away with having so many women on the go behind my back, especially as I was there so often and for such long periods! My honest opinion is to never trust a Moroccan ever. It’s devastated my entire life and although the relationship is over, the trauma and online abuse is not. Many women just walk away but I’m afraid I can’t do that and I’m fighting against his actions as best I can. Please feel free to have a chat about it with me if you have any doubts and want advise! Xx

        Reply
        • Desert Thorn

          Oh my gosh, I’m sorry 🙁 Yes i am really looking for someone to chat with about this and get some advice. It seems there is not a way to contact users individually on here without all the information being public. How could I contact you? Thanks in advance…. !

          Reply
          • riri

            I am onevof the girl who got involved with moroccan guy as my boyfriend and just got to know that he has other girl / girls online that he talked and wooing for behing my back!!! Its very hurt to know this and confronted but never admitted by him! I have spent money and time by believing he is a nice guy with good Islamic background!! Never ever cross my mind that i was one of the girls he has as a victim! I noticed also guys from Merzouga and Mhamid are doing this things to the foreigners who traveling there or coming for traveling and even luring them to visit Morocco to meet those girls! I am now having trust issue especially with men!

          • Desertjane

            Hello
            I also think I am being scammed in this way. I have visited many times but suspect I am one of many women that my man is playing around with.
            I have also met the family etc – I notice you don’t mention meeting the father. Is your man called Omar living in Merzouga and working with his brother and cousin as a guide?

          • Desert Thorn

            Hi – no, my man is not called Omar. I wish you the best and hope everything turns out okay. I still haven’t found anything on my guy but can’t let go of this suspicious feeling. Yet I really have no evidence at all.

      • bddhgfh

        take care, take care, take care!!!!!!!!!
        everywhere are “nice” people there
        if you don’t send money, it’s… over!

        Reply
  4. J.

    Merzouga Activity Camp: listed on booking.com but to be avoided.

    Scam consist in contacting you to cancel the reservation so they don’t have to pay commission to booking.com

    If you do that they will charge you 2 times. In cash when you arrive, your credit card when you leave.

    And since you are not on booking.com you won’t be able to alert other traveller’s.

    Reply
  5. Ali

    just dont waste your time and money visiting a shithole country like Morocco

    Reply
    • casi

      right!!!

      Reply
  6. KXOMBIE

    The Marrakech animal scam is very real and very common. Be advised,if you hand over your phone, it normally won’t be returned until you pay the price they demand which is usually in the neighborhood of $20 for one or two crappy cellphone snaps of you with a VERY disgruntled monkey on your shoulders. Another interesting detail: the monkeys seem to have no problem with innapropriate touching or grabbing. Especially when it comes to females. Also, if you are getting ready to find a taxi after dark, avoid shortcuts through the alleys if at all possible. We were followed by a group of guys; one of which tried (unsuccessfully) to help himself to whatever I might have in the outer pocket of my backpack.

    Reply
  7. Morocco Tours

    awesome post and really really helpful tips really appreciated and thanks a lot for sharing

    Reply
  8. The Vegan Travelers

    In the next months we will travel all around Morocco. So this post ist very helpful for us, thanks a lot! 🙂

    Reply
  9. gh

    In Morocco we were attacked on the street by “friendly people” asking for money, we knocked at the doors to ask for help and the Moroccans closed the doors in front of us, they did not want to help us … I was so scared … I was wondering if I was between the atheists or the religious people…

    Too many bad people in one place …. they fight on the street, in traffic there are no rules and respect.
    I have not seen kindness and respect for people, for tourists …

    We never go to Morocco. is a country where I do not feel safe
    Most of them want money without doing anything, asking for money, even for a simple photo…
    We traveled in many countries, but in Morocco I did not feel good and I did not feel safe. People did not help us when we were attacked by 3 young people….I have a strong man and nothing happened 🙂
    A total chaos, with no rules where everything is possible.
    My conclusion is very bad, some of them want money without work, this is not possible!
    Personally I was disappointed so- NEVER MOROCCO! Everything looks nice, friendly, but……BE careful !!!

    Reply
  10. corri

    take care people!
    They steal, fight, argue, they want money without work….
    I never go to that country again

    Reply
  11. Morocco Tourism

    Wow, astounding read thank you for sharing. Share more useful tips like above mention it’s truly helpful for others who they wish to visit in Morocco.

    Reply
    • Anna

      I’m going to Morocco next week for three weeks. It’s all booked but after everything I’ve read on this and other blogs, and heard, I now don’t want to go. I wish I had known all this before I booked. I’m going with eight other women travelling independently and meeting up when we get there but staying in different hotels. We’re going to Fes, Chefchaouen (I will be going there alone by bus if I can get on one), Marrakech and Essaouira. Even the French Algerian lady I met last week said she would never go to Morocco and nor would her friend, following a visit last year, go back as she said that everyone’s out to fleece you. As to the men from Merzouga’s behaviour with the women described here, it all sounds familiar to the attitude of Algerian men, who think the streets in France and the UK are paved with gold and wanted a women to get them to Europe (I used to live and work in Algeria). Having said that, I’m glad that, from reading this article, at least I know what to watch out for. It’s too late to buy the special anti-theft items listed here but I hope it will help a bit that I speak fluent French, though not Arabic, so that I can tell the harassers to bugger off!

      Reply
      • Admin

        Hi Anna, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

        Morocco definitely requires a good level of “street-smartness” to explore well, but we dare say that just the simple awareness of these scams and potential pitfalls will put you in great stead.

        It’s difficult not to be paranoid after reading all these scams and hearing negative reviews from many other travelers, but once you get into the groove, it should be great and trouble free, as long as the key principle is well kept in mind – if something is too good to be true, it is! All the best and wishing you a smooth and enjoyable trip! 🙂

        – David

        Reply
  12. Michelle

    I have ben in Marrakesh for 4 days, i have been henna scamed, fake tourist guide scam, argan Oil scamed and today a guy ripped my bag of my back on motor bike in a public street. There are many fake beggers and many of The horses and camels are in bad shape. It sure has been an experience, but i am never coming back. Mostly because off all The inappropriate comments from men, i wear pants and long jacket, so its not because i am not dressing probably. Also I refused to pay the henna lady and the fake guide got 20 diram. The best thing about Marrakesh is the sister solidarity, the women are really nice and helpfull.

    Reply
  13. Kathy Booth

    We are just about to go to Marrakesh for a week and my friend wants to hire a local guy to take us to Essaouria. I have a contact who i have used before who is very dependable and professional. I want to use his services. Having read the above comments, there is no way that i would go with the local guy without a recommendation. Is there any way i can find out whether this local guy is OK. i have his name, he is on facebook and instagram, but anyone can do that, it doesn’t prove anything. KB

    Reply
    • Admin

      Hi Kathy! Does your friend have any experience with the local guy? And does your friend know that you have a good, dependable contact?

      We would say it’s tough to determine if a guide is “good” or “bad”. The best way is really to search online reviews (e.g. travel forums) or for companies, check if they are licensed as well.

      A further step would be to get in contact with a couple of guides and compare quotes. This way, you would know if someone is trying to rip you off.

      Also, should a guide you engage turn bad midway through your trip, you can still turn to these several other guides whom you have earlier contacted to continue your journey/holiday.

      This happened to us once in Bali, where a guide was great on the first two days, but then charged us an insane amount for another tour on the third day – we wouldn’t have known if we didn’t compare quotes with multiple guides.

      All the best and enjoy Morocco! 🙂

      Reply
  14. Eddie Santoni

    Watch out for the hostel hafid surfing spot! Beware of this man who lures women and mostly women to this hostel with a niceguy routine

    Reply
  15. Richard UK

    I’d like to think I’m not a stupid man, however my 1st 4 days in Morocco (Agadir) forces me to reassess this.

    Not only did I fall for the “Nice Guy Supermarket closed” scam, I actually followed the nice guy to another supermarket which was not a supermarket at all but a fairly rough looking built up area that we were ‘suddenly’ in, with several men around I thought I was going to have to fight my way out but it didnt come to that.

    Also, we bought vegetable oil in the souk for 60DH, I also caught a light fingered kid behind us as a “tour guide” tried to show us what was on offer, and shouted at them, the moved off.

    Morocco looks fantastic, great weather, lovely beach, mostly good food so far, just be really vigilant…

    Im now a lot more vigilant for the remainder of my break here.

    be careful.

    Reply

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