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18 Most Common Scams in Turkey

Safety at Ankara, Antalya, Bodrum, Bursa, Edirne, Istanbul, Izmir, Konya, Trabzon, Urfa, Ani, Cappadocia, Mount Nemrut, Ölüdeniz
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Cappadocia

Cappadocia

 

Turkey, is where the world meets.

Since ancient times, the Trojans, Mongols, Romans, Greeks, Ottomans and many others have traversed these plains.

Today, it sits right at the cross section between Asia and Europe. The result is a fascinating cultural experience.

However, despite being known as a country with friendly people, there is still a bunch of crooks out to fleece you of your money.

Getting recourse is difficult too, as the police does not have a good command of English. Further, from anecdotes, they are not readily willing to help.

So read on to learn how to protect yourself here!

 

 

A. TOURIST ACTIVITIES

1. Would you like a drink my friend?

 

How it works:

You may encounter this at Sultanahmet Square, Beyoğlu’s İstiklal Caddesi and Cumhuriyet Caddesi.

This is such a common scam that in 2008, when police raided 6 nightclubs, they arrested over 100 people accused of this scam!

These include bar owners, bar girls, employees and sometimes even the police! Weapons and drugs were seized as well. It also happens globally (e.g. China, Greece).

The scam is simple and single males are usually targeted.

A stranger approaches and asks if you have a lighter or for directions. As the conversation flows, he asks if you would like to grab a drink together.

Should you accept, you will be brought to a “highly recommended” restaurant or bar. Girls will join and drink on your tab without you realizing.

When the bill comes, you will get a shock. If you have not passed out from a spiked drink, be prepared to be escorted to the nearby ATM machine by a group of hooligans to make payment.

 

What to do:

Do not head to a suggested bar together with a random stranger on the streets.

But if you do want to make new local friends, some questions to ponder:

  • Does the restaurant / bar seem legitimate? Are there customers?
  • Is the stranger reading from a script? Evasive about things?
  • Is he / she only bringing you to a particular restaurant or bar?

Some other tricks you can use:

  • Pretend that you have company by suggesting to go another place where you have a few friends at.
  • Ask for prices before ordering. Only drink what your waiter or you have poured.
  • Take a photo together.

If you fell into the trap:

  • Pay with a credit card but call the bank to dispute your charges immediately after leaving

Another option you may want consider is to join a pub crawl!

 

2. Fraudulent tour operators

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

 

How it works:

In Turkey, every tour operator or agency has to be registered with the TÜRSAB (Türkiye Seyahat Agentaları Birliği, Association of Turkish Travel Agencies).

Though not a big problem to cause concern in Turkey, there are still fly by night tour agencies which either sell overpriced, non-existent tours or tours of low quality and with little safety consideration.

There are two ways in which they operate:

  • Passing themselves off as being associated with established brands / airlines (e.g. Turkish Airlines) and then requesting a large deposit
  • Creating fake websites with fake contact numbers of established brands

Some rogue names that have been reported in the past: Sanlier Travel Agency, TTM Tourism, etc.

 

What to do:

Engage a licensed, reputable tour operator online which you can find via:

 

 

  • Your hotel / hostel affiliated tour operators: reliable but generally not the best or cheapest.

For offline operators, to determine if one is legitimate, ask these questions:

  • Is the operator licensed (check TÜRSAB site) and is there a professional website, physical office, business email and working telephone number?
  • Are there online reviews? Do they sound legitimate?
  • Is the price too low to be true? What does it cover (vehicles, guides, safety, insurance, hidden fees, etc)?

When paying:

  • Avoid paying in full upfront unless through a reputable platform / operator.
  • If using an online platform, do not make payment off the platform.

 

3. Shoe shine scam

 

How it works:

One common trick these scammers use is to pretend to drop their shoe shine equipment accidentally beside you.

Should you help pick it up, they will offer to provide shoe shine services to you for free.

Should you accept, two things will happen.

  • The scammer will strike up a conversation during the service, and casually mention add-on services he is providing you.
  • He may tell you a sob story about his life, making you feel bad for him.

At the end of it all, you will be charged with a hefty bill. Argue, and you may find other shoe shiners surrounding you.

 

What to do:

Decline and walk away.

 

4. Fake carpets / coins / goods

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

 

How it works:

Be wary of “helpful” souls wandering around in Sultanahmet and the Grand Bazaar who offer to bring you around the shops.

The scammer will claim that he knows the sellers with the best quality items and that he can get for you a “local price”.

Reality however, is that he will bring you to a shop peddling lousy quality items at an inflated price, and he gets a cut.

In Turkey, carpets are a hot seller. To exploit this, many Chinese fakes are sold.

Other common fakes are coins and artefacts claimed to be from the Byzantine or Roman eras sold at historical sites such as in the town of Selcuk.

Some shady shops to avoid: Benny’s Shop / Benny’s Leather in the Kusadasi Bazaar, etc.

 

What to do:

Learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff, or only visit licensed, experienced dealers with a good reputation.

You can find these by doing some online research or by asking your hotel / hostel staff.

Alternatively, you can also consider a private tour or shopping tour through GetYourGuide (best day tours platform in Europe) – some popular tours include:

 

 

 

5. Pickpockets

 

How it works:

Crowded streets, train stations, public transportation, markets, shopping malls, tourist attractions, hotels, nightspots or anywhere tourists hang out at are pickpockets’ favourite spots.

Sultanhamet Square, Taksim Square, Cumhurriyet Caddesi and Istiklal Caddesi are particular ones to take note at.

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 will 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.

 

6. Overcharging items / services

Items sold at Grand Bazaar

Items sold at Grand Bazaar

 

How it works:

Some stall owners / service providers are highly opportunistic.

Should you not enquire about the price first before purchasing (it can be anything, such as a dish, a souvenir, a taxi ride or even a shoe shine service), be prepared to be hit with an astronomical bill after.

 

What to do:

Always negotiate the price before and check your bill after.

Also, always negotiate in Lira, the local currency (and keep local petty cash with you), as a foreign currency will often be charged a higher price.

 

7. Restaurant scams

Restaurant

Restaurant

 

How it works:

The earlier mentioned “would you like a drink” scam also happens for restaurants.

At one of these scam restaurants, you can be ripped off in multiple ways, such as:

  • Crap food at inflated prices.
  • Not providing you an itemized receipt and overcharging by adding items you did not order or charging prices higher than reflected on the menu.
  • Charging for items that you thought is free.
  • Advertising a low price package which is unavailable when it is order / or different than what was advertised.
  • No menu / tourist menu with inflated prices.
  • Deceptive pricing based on weight.
  • Hidden / small footnotes in another language about extra fees and charges.

Some names to avoid: e.g. Ottoman House, Civani Restaurant Bar, Pegasis Restaurant, Mojito, The Picasso, Fuegoo Restaurant, Apollon Restaurant, Baracuda, etc.

 

What to do:

Avoid restaurants promoted by aggressive touts, or those where you see large tour buseslarge groups of tourists.

Do some online research or check with your hotel / hostel staff on recommended places locals go to eat at.

Also, always check the menu carefully (prices, fine print), do not eat what was not ordered, and check your bill carefully.

Otherwise, you can also consider joining a food tour for an authentic, local food experience!

  • TourRadar: all the best multi-day tours by established names like Intrepid Travel, G Adventures, etc can be found here – one such food tour:
  • GetYourGuide: best day tours platform in Europe – excellent curation of tours, tickets and transport – some popular food tours:
 

 

  • Your hotel / hostel affiliated tour operators: reliable but generally not the best or cheapest.

 

8. “Free” sunbeds

Beach in Turkey

Beach in Turkey

 

How it works:

If you were to take a free sunbed at resorts (especially those in Bodrum), be prepared to face a barrage of touts asking you to buy overpriced food, drinks and items.

 

What to do:

Firmly decline.

 

B. TRANSPORT

1. Unofficial taxis

 

How it works:

You may encounter this at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport, where after coming out of the arrivals hall, you get thronged by touts offering you a taxi.

This of course, happens at touristy areas (e.g. sultanahmet district) as well.

Some are official and some are unofficial and for the unofficial ones, there are two ways they can go about this:

  • Proposing an inflated fix charging hoping you do not know the market rate.
  • Proposing a low fee to tempt you then halfway through the journey in a secluded place to demand more money.

 

What to do:

Do not take unofficial taxis, as you do not know what may happen to you.

Only take the official taxis:

  • Yellow in color
  • Equipped with a taksi sign on the roof and a meter built in
  • Company’s logo and number on front doors

Other transport alternatives:

  • Metro: convenient and good
  • Taxi booking app: BiTaksi.
  • Private driver: arranged through your hotel / hostel or through day tour platforms like GetYourGuide (best in Europe) – 80+ transport options.
 

 

2. Unscrupulous taxi drivers

Taxi in Turkey

Taxi in Turkey. Source: nicoleisthenewblack.com

 

How it works:

There are the common ones such as those who rig their meters, insist on not using their meters or insist that they have no change.

Some may even swap your notes, e.g. you pass them a 50 Lira note, and it becomes a 5 Lira note suddenly (sleight of hand). The driver then shouts at you to pay more.

In the past, some even switch the meter to a night-time charge (2x more than) while in the day, but this charge no longer exists!

The sly ones will meddle with the meters while you are not looking.

Others may even grab your luggage, lock it in the boot, and drive you to a bar and get you into the bar scam.

 

What to do:

Avoid taking taxis at tourist spots, such as at the Sultanahmet area (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar).

Also, pay using small, local currency and take a photo of the car plate and driver license in case anything goes wrong

Or consider other alternatives:

  • Metro: convenient and good
  • Taxi booking app: BiTaksi.
  • Private driver: arranged through your hotel / hostel or through day tour platforms like GetYourGuide (best in Europe) – 80+ transport options.
 

 

3. Your car / wheel is damaged

Izmir Mansion

Izmir Mansion

 

How it works:

When you drive, another driver may signal that certain parts of your car (wheels are the easiest) that are damaged.

This helpful driver will claim to be a mechanic, and help you replace the spare part by heading to a workshop nearby.

Apparently, there is nothing wrong with your car. What happens is that either the original part is taken away, repainted and returned.

Or it will be swapped with a part that is of lousier quality. Further, the mechanic will demand a huge fee for his service.

 

What to do:

Examine whichever part it is yourself. If anything is wrong, do not go to the “recommended” workshop, but find another one to go to.

 

4. New friends made on the train

Train in Turkey

Train in Turkey

 

How it works:

A scammer might come up to you, strike a conversation and be a companion on the trip since you both are conveniently on the same way.

Next, they might offer you food or drinks laced with a fast acting sedative that is colorless, odourless, tasteless.

When you pass out, you will be robbed.

 

What to do:

Never accept food or drinks from a stranger, unless it is something difficult to tamper with like a sealed bottle or can.

Even then, it is better to be safe than sorry.

 

5. Ferry cruise touts

Ferry in Sultanahmet

Ferry in Sultanahmet

 

How it works:

The boat tickets which street touts sell are way overpriced.

 

What to do:

Do not buy from streets touts or unofficial sellers.

Only buy a ticket through these sources:

  • Direct from company / official counters.
  • Licensed retailers.
  • Your hotel / hostel if such a service is provided.
  • Day tour platforms like GetYourGuide (best in Europe) – 90+ cruise and water tours, with some of the popular ones being:
 

 

 

C. MISCELLANEOUS

1. Getting robbed while drunk

Efes beer

Efes beer. Source: choratravel.com

 

How it works:

This is not exactly a scam technically.

But because of the Turkish law where you cannot make a claim while drunk, you will become a prime target of robbers when you drink in public.

 

What to do:

If you do go out drinking, control your consumption and stay alert.

Further, keep your valuables and passport in your hotel / hostel / apartment safe, which can be further secured with hotel safety tools.

 

2. Property scam

Galata Tower, Istanbul

Galata Tower, Istanbul

 

How it works:

Google property scams and you will be able to find many stories in Turkey.

Besides investors who fall for fraudulent property investment schemes in Turkey, there are tourists who fall for fraudulent apartment rental listings as well.

These listings usually show beautiful properties at dirt cheap rental prices. It could be on established platforms, or on a standalone site that is advertised on established platforms.

Some red flags to watch out for:

  • Illogical descriptions because they copy and paste without any edits.
  • Dodgy sounding reviews.
  • Use Google Maps to compare between real photos and provided photos
  • Payment only by bank transfer off the booking platform.
  • Or payment to a foreign bank account or via Western Union / MoneyGram (sure sign of scam as transfers are irreversible).
  • If the “owner” refuses to provide more details or to allow for a tour of the place.

 

What to do:

Only book via legitimate apartment listing sites such as

  • 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 Turkey by staying with a local host!

Next, some due diligence to be done on individual listings:

  • Search online reviews and Google the names of the owner.
  • Call the phone number provided on the listing.
  • Grill the “landlord” by asking specific questions, such as room dimensions or something unique as seen in the photos.
  • You can even pretend something exists in the online photos and test if the “landlord” can call your bluff.
  • Search if the property has another online presence or contact number and engage that to see if they are consistent.
  • Test the owner by requesting for a visit from a local friend before booking – it doesn’t have to happen, you just want to test the owner’s receptiveness.

Finally, avoid paying in full upfront or making payment off the platform.

 

3. A credit card machine that doesn’t work

 

How it works:

And the next thing that happens, is that your credit card is charged twice.

 

What to do:

Try to use cash, rather than credit cards as much as possible.

Always check your credit card transactions as well whenever it’s available online to dispute any charges.

 

4. No change back / more money needed

 

How it works:

As the title suggests, some stall owners / service providers / taxi drivers will “forget” to pass you your change. This is done by distracting / engaging you in a conversation.

A reverse of this is for stall owners / service providers / taxi drivers to pretend to have received less than what you have paid.

They do this by quickly hiding the cash that you have paid them (sleight of hand) and claim to have received less.

 

What to do:

Whenever you expect change back, keep a mental note and not get distracted.

When handing money over, count the notes out loud and slowly. Make sure to look carefully at how the other party counts the notes.

 

5. Currency scam

Turkish Lira

Turkish Lira

 

How it works:

Just like the overcharging scam, always clarify the currency before doing any transaction.

 

What to do:

There’s a huge difference between Euro and Lira.

So besides checking verbally with the stall owner, check your credit card bill as well should you use it.

 

D. KEY SAFETY ISSUES

This is not 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 Turkey

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

 

How it works:

A brief summary:

  • Violent crime: rare. Watch out for petty crime and scams instead.
  • Hazards: see below.
  • Hotspots: in southeastern Turkey, various terrorist groups have organized large scale attacks and kidnappings. Towns bordering Syria have also been hit by artillery rounds from Syria. Major cities have also seen attacks.
  • Terrorism: a number of active terrorist groups, such as Kurdish separatists (PKK, TAK), Daesh and far left (DHKP).
  • Civil unrest: influx of refugees into southern Turkey. Demonstrations may occur.

 

What to do:

Stay alert, avoid secluded areas, travelling alone at night, 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, especially during significant religious occasions (e.g. holy month of Ramadan) and avoid participating in demonstrations.

Areas to avoid:

  • 10 km of Turkey – Syria border.
  • Eastern provinces of Diyarbakir, Tunceli, Hakkari and Siirt.

 

2. Medical care

Istanbul City Hospital

Istanbul City Hospital. Source: dzine.com.tr

 

How it works:

Modern medical care can be found in major cities like Ankara, Analya, Izmir and Istanbul. However, it is more limited elsewhere.

Diseases to vaccinate against / watch out for include:

  • Insect borne diseases: zika, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, tick-borne encephalitis, malaria, leishmaniasis
  • Food and water borne diseases: travellers’ diarrhoea, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis.
  • Animal borne diseases: avian influenza, rabies.
  • Human borne diseases: HIV.

 

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 (outdoor activities, activities involving animals).

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.

 

3. Natural disasters

 

How it works:

A brief summary:

  • Earthquakes: in an active earthquake zone, two major earthquakes in 2017.
  • Heavy snowfall: December to February. May cause roads to be impassible.
  • Forest fires: June to September, for heavily forested areas. Holidays areas near the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, and the Gallipoli Peninsula have been affected in the past.
  • Droughts and severe rainfall: as Turkey is located in the Mediterranean macroclimate region in the sub-tropical zone, there is great variation in rainfall levels across years.

 

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 reportsweather 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.
  • Bushfires: make yourself seen (e.g. spread out something large and bright), find shelter with little vegetation, stay low to avoid smoke.

 

4. Transport safety

 

How it works:

Road conditions are good in the west, southwest and coastal regions, but can be poor elsewhere.

Public transport is also extensive. A couple of factors to watch out for:

  • Unmarked and unlit roads with roaming animals in rural areas.
  • May encounter reckless driving behaviour.
  • Traffic congestion.
  • Severe rainfall or snowfall may cause roads to be impassable.

 

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

Police in Turkey

Police in Turkey. Source: howtoistanbul.com

 

  • Tourism police: +90 212 527 45 03
  • Medical emergency / ambulance: 112
  • Fire: 110
  • Police: 155

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24 Comments

  1. K

    Also… this round of snacks/drinks is on the house.. but then afterwards they are on your bill. (istanbul tourist center)

    Putting a balloon in a kids hand and then asking money. (kusadasi)

    Reply
    • Admin

      Thanks for pointing these out Koja!

      Reply
  2. taxicab fares

    These are great tips! As a local in Istanbul, I want to share another tip for travelers: Metered taxis are readily available 24 hours a day at all around the city. If you have internet connection on your laptop or mobile device, always use https://taksiyle.com/en/istanbul just before taking a taxi from airport, hotel or restaurant. It will help you to avoid potential taxi scams in Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya and other metropolitan areas in Turkey and give an outline about the routes between departure and destination.

    Reply
  3. Frequent Traveller

    Beware of Turkish nationals approaching you in hotels claiming to have lived in Italy or France or any of these countries and offering to help you find a good restaurant. You will be taken to shady joints where food would be delivered and asked to pay a hefty amount of money. These places are normally full of hooligans who are in on the scam. You will not be able to escape without paying at least a few hundred dollars for a dinner worth a few bucks.

    Reply
  4. Paul Thompson

    If your staying ın the Mercure Hotel Topkapı Istanbul Be aware of a slım guy wıth gray haır casualy dressed callıng hımself Alexandro sayıng he,s an armenıan natıonal who ıs ın the constructıon busıness and works ın Iraq. Thıs guy wıll pretend to be your frıend and wıll offer to show you around town and drıve you to a small bar ın K.M Celebı Mah Buyukparmakkapı sok no 30A beyoglu owned by ABDULLAH NURCIN who ıs also a scammer. The bar wıll be full of russıan bouncers and have some woman and thıs guy Alexandro wıll ınvıte them to your table and offer them a frıendly drınk but you wıll be made to pay for the bıll and ıt wıll cost you thousands of dollars whıch you wıll be forced to pay or you wıll be assaulted and taken to a cashlıne and. made to wıthdraw money. Thıs Guy Alexandro ıs ınvolved and works for these people and wıll say he’s payıng but when the bıll comes he wıll say for you to pay half whıch ıs a large amount of money. Do not get ınvolved wıth thıs guy or these people as they are scammers.

    Reply
  5. Fast communicator

    Also, it seems there is some kind of communication between scammers, like twitter or similar. Once they mark you as wanting an item, a guy on every corner tries to offer you the same thing. Maybe they even take your picture. I found it way too probable that they knew what I was looking for before I even started looking. Made it impossible to haggle.

    Reply
  6. lucio tan

    it happens just now ( sept 09,2017) a guy approach me and giving a friendly talk and drink and the bill sky rocketed to 9,000 lira..

    Reply
    • Sajid

      This is exactly what happened to me Lucio, Few weeks ago on 13 September 2017. The bill came over 6000TL and he agree to pay half. As i didnt had the money, they scorted me to a cash machine to take out the money 3000 and something TL to pay them. I wonder what would happened if I didn’t had the money that night.

      Reply
      • vincent

        That just happen to me yesterday. 01/11/2017 I been in a bar with a friendly guy to have some beers. Then girl joins us and chat with us and drink some juice on your arms. Until I had enough and decide to leeve. The bill climb to 2000 tl and I refuse to pay that much for 2 beers and some juice. They were very menacing and I start to think about fight but they was like 10 in the bar. That was’nt a good idea. Then I start to talk about police and they sudantly let me go without paying.. I try to take somme pic but they dont let me do it of course.. But the best part is, I been to the police and they refuse to be involve because it dose’nt cost me any thing.. Crasy world man.. Be carefull

        Reply
  7. John

    I just got back from Izmir area and the men in the street markets who approach you and attempt to show you goods in their shop nearby “it costs nothing to look” are all now currently claiming to have lived in Manchester for 3 years. “do you know Manchester nice city”. I wonder is it because of the recent global news about Manchester that has caused these people to all co-incidentally have lived In Manchester for three years?. Turkey is safe but you must keep wits about you and learn to say no very quickly. Do not engage in long conversations walk away fast. It is highly unlikely that I should meet six men all who lived In Manchester for 3 years in 4 days.

    Reply
  8. Sandy

    NEVER EVER accept a drink from a stranger. NEVER EVER accept offer of ‘help’from a stranger, usually young guys. Do NOT get angry with a market tout (laugh them off) as you don’t know if they are on hash or are connected to the local mafia. Friendly banter can change in a flick to ANGER! NEVER EVER lend money – you will NOT get it back. And the list goes on.

    Reply
    • stu

      Oh yes those scary people on that menacing hash lol.
      Please come out from under your rock

      Reply
  9. Mizanur

    Hi,

    I shall be traveling Istanbul solo in mid Dec. Upon reading those scam stories, I am really in a scary state thinking as to howshall U travel alone for a week in Istanbul.

    Therefore seek your expert opinion suitable location and scam un-friendly budget hotel. I am also ready to spend few more bucks for a safe hotel located in a safe location. Please note, beside visiting prime attraction, I am also much interested to explore night clubs and pubs in the evening.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestion.

    Reply
  10. Alex McMillan

    Also keep in mind Turkish police is also part of the mafia. Never trust them. In Turkey, you are alone. Anything can happen to you. It is much smarter and better to go to a more civilized country than Turkey.

    Reply
  11. Denise Hodgson

    Never ever trust a Turk. Also never consider buying a holiday home. They take your money, promise the world and run off with your money. I have had 13 years of hell trying to get my money back from a guy who is still trading in Antalya. His name is Fatih Selek and used to trade under Fasimex. He has an accomplice who works for Tourist Co in Antalya whos name is Hakan Seven.

    Reply
    • Joel Hancker

      Your comment is so terribly weird, not to say rasistic. Turks are more civilized and friendly than people in many european countries. Just take normal precautions and you will be fine.

      Reply
  12. !!

    Watch out for Sanlier travel agency! It is a scam!! They put a table outside the IST custom and claimed to be affiliated with Turkish Airline. They asked my friend to put down a deposit ($1500 USD) for a free tour and said it will be refunded after the tour. Of course, it is a scam! The deposit was never returned. Please be careful and don’t fall for it!

    They will give a fake receipt which says Sanlier Travel Agency. Email shows sanlier.travel@gmail.com and Gsm: +905418140026

    Reply
    • stu

      who puts down 1500 usd for a free tour as a deposit. A fool and their money are easily parted…

      Reply
  13. Sandy

    Have visited Turkey many times – never had a prob because my ‘radar’ is up 24/7 – I have become all too cynical/skeptical especially in Bodrum, Taksim, Sultanahmet. But have had met wonderful people and had amazing experiences!!! So ENJOY!!

    Reply
    • ankush sahdev

      hi sandy,im about to move to turkey next month.kindly provide sum helpful notes to live comfortably in istanbul.
      as i read so many scams ,,its sumwat scary to b alone there.hehe

      Reply
  14. Liaquat Ali

    I would like to share my experiences of being pickpocked in Istanbul, Turkey when my wife and I stayed at the Hilton Bomonti in Silashor Caddissi near OsmanBey Metro station between 20th and 24th September 2018.

    As a couple on the second day of of stay, we left the hotel in the morning for the half mile walk to OsmanBey Metro station.

    We didn’t go any further than 500 years along Silahsor Cd road, when we almost reached the Subway food shop and my wife informed me someone (a female) bumped into her and said something possibly in Turkish but I didn’t take much notice of it at the time.

    At the 3rd or 4th junction we crossed, we then saw what at first appeared to be a middle aged, frail, overweight Arabian looking woman in a Hijab, waiting at the junction to cross too so naturally I was not on my guard and didn’t think much of it..

    At the same moment too, we heard a car coming screeching down the road and this woman in front of us put her arms out and muttered in Arabic a few times the word ‘Bismillah’ (In the name of Allah) and at the same time and looking at the approaching car, she pretended to panic but then fall backwards towards me, grabbing me as hard as she could, making out as if she was in shock, fearing at being knocked down by the car.

    I sensed something was wrong and instinctly tried to move back to get away from her but at the same time I couldn’t as there was another female pedestrian very close behind me, and now in hindsight I guess her second accomplish, so in effect I was boxed in.

    I then noticed the car stopped and the first woman in the Hijab just calmly entered the car and the car quickly sped off and the woman behind me just calmly walked out into a side road.

    The whole incident lasted no more than about 5 to 10 seconds but I then realized what had really happened when I felt my trouser pocket and realised my wallet with some cash and credit cards was gone!

    Please post this information on your website and any other media you have access to so members of the public are aware of this type of distraction theft involving pickpockets waiting at road junctions and passing vehicles too, telling them to be careful and what steps they should take to try and avoid being a victim of this type of crime. In hindsight I should have carried a money belt with a zip which if I did, I think I would not have been targetted so easily.

    Reply
  15. Anastasia

    One of the other frauds is when On the way for sightseeing they make unplanned stops at stores and ‘give a discount’. For example tasting room with wines and pomegranate drinks (they sell concentrated syrup). Tastes great! But they put a cheap pomegranate souce in your bag instead of pretty expensive syrup while you’re not paying attention.

    Reply
  16. Abdullah

    When filling your car with gas/diesel, make sure the gas pump’s meter is reset to zero, especially when the attendant tells you before hand that there will no receipt!

    Reply
  17. Ravi

    Yes, #1 happened to me. I was in Istanbul and a “friendly tourist” from Cyprus asked me to take some photos of him and then chit chatted me to get a drink with him at a bar his friends had recommended to him.

    I reluctantly accepted and we walked in after a 5-10 min walk to the place. As soon as we sit down, a bottle service was brought after which I immediately left, but not without paying half the bill of 1600 lira. I didn’t touch anything but they still wouldn’t let me go.

    Reply

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