How it works:
- Opening: a young female engages you in conversation, using the excuse that she wants to practice her English. Next, she suggests getting a drink together at a nearby bar.
- Set-up: there, she orders expensive lady drinks which will end up on your tab. Hidden fees will also be added and you will end up with an inflated bill. If you refuse to pay, burly men will threaten you and accost you to the nearest ATM.
Places to beware:
- Montevideo: Punta del Este, Sarandi, Mercado del Puerta, Ciudad Vieja
What to do:
- Avoid: heading to a suggested bar together with a random stranger.
- If not, consider: does the bar seem legitimate? Are there customers? Is the stranger evasive about things? Is he/she only bringing you to a particular restaurant or bar?
- Test your new “friend”: pretend you have company by suggesting to go another place where you have friends at. Ask for prices before ordering. Take a photo together.
- If scammed: threaten to call the police, pay with a credit card but call immediately to dispute the charges. Keep a separate bank account with little cash to limit your losses if threatened.