7 Tips to Avoid Scam in Egypt
Once the hot spot of many travelers, Egypt has constantly been crossed out of the list because of the safety concern. After the Arab Spring, Egypt’s tourism was nearly crushed down. Many tourists decided to stay away from the country. Just when the tourism is showing its positive recovery signal, the recent incident happening in the Western desert once makes the situation worse.
Therefore, scammers in Egypt are thirsty for money than ever. They depend heavily on the foreign income from the tourists. Scamming is Egypt becomes the international trouble for every single tourist visiting the country. The truth is, you can’t run from them or hide from them. However, you can avoid them better with these tips.
1. Learning How to Bargain
As the matter of fact, you are the walking ATM machine in the scammers’ eyes. Everybody is going to charge you ridiculously high. The more enthusiastic you show to what you are going to buy, the more likely you are going to be charged with the high price. Everything should be bargained as low as 40% off.
The other trick is to walk away if they insist on selling you with an unreasonable price. They will automatically call you back. However, do not be a jerk and ask for a ridiculously low price. They need to live as well.
When I was in Cairo, a small and dirty statue was said to be 70EGP before haggling. I said 15EGP but they didn’t want to sell me with that price. As soon as I walked away, the seller instantly dropped the price to 30EGP, and the next minute, the statue was only 15 EGP.
2. Keeping the Information to Yourself
One of the most common scams you might encounter is likely to be like this. A random person nicely approaches you and claims that he had known you before, although you have no clue who he is. Some scammers will use this technique to lure you into the traps they are preparing.
That’s why you should never leak any personal information to anyone over there, except from your hotel. Having your real information spread out may backfire you before you even realize.
Just as I walked out of the Pyramid Complex, a driver out of nowhere happily came to me. He knew every single thing about me. He knew where I was from, what I was working as and even when I landed down from the airport yesterday!
3. Be Aware the “Helpful” Person
Suddenly someone will offer you help. The classic example would be a nice man nicely asks if you want to take a photo with the pyramid behind. Just when you nicely say thank you and turn your feet away and, he will stop you from going and charge you with a price for taking the photos for you.
The price of 5EGP for one shoot with me on a camel in front of the pyramid soon turned out to be 50 EGP later. No matter how hard I tried to stop him from taking other photos, the camel guy insisted on doing so and charged me each extra additional 5 EGP. I wasn’t feeling comfortable in those photos at all. My face looked extremely inconvenient. And I still had to pay for those ridiculous photos? I’m sorry but no. In Egypt, you don’t make friends
4. Answering Less
The more you answer, the more likely you are falling into the scammers’ traps. They will try to call your name, follow you up to 10 minutes to persuade you buying a calèches or even yell at you for walking away.
Once you open your mouth and say “sorry” or “no, thank you”, you accidentally give the scammers more opportunities to “communicate” with you. They will constantly attack you with everything they could. Starting from nicely ask where you are from and how amazing your country is, they will continue to make you feel bad if you don’t take their “service”, and once in a blue moon, they even swear at you.
5. Learning the Arabic Number
I once was cheated on because I couldn’t read the Arabic number. The seller will either try to sell you something that is way higher than the price written in the menu, or even “forget” to give you back the right amount of change. Since you couldn’t read Arabic number, you won’t notice how much you are falsely charged at all.
6. Don’t Show a Lot of Cash
Being a tourist automatically grants you the title of a walking ATM machine. Showing off your cash adds the thirst for money more. You are more likely to lose even in a big bargain.
7. Don’t be a Jerk
To me this is the most important thing you should know. The best price isn’t always the cheapest one. It is the one that both you and the seller feel reasonable. What’s the point of arguing over 5EGP under the heat of 100*F? That extra 5EGP can save you from anger and exhaustion from the unnecessary argumentation. That small amount of money will not cost you a fortune, but the sellers find them more valuable than you have ever thought.
Written by: Vinh Nguyen Vinh is awkward traveler and blogger, wishing to get his passport covered with stamps from every where in the world.
Have you ever had any negative experience with the scammers in Egypt? How would do deal with that?