Travel Scams in Buenos Aires: Beware of These Frauds

The Travel Scams in Buenos Aires, Argentina include "Fake Money, Taxi Troubles, The Mustard Scam or Bird Poop Scam, Cabarets and Tricky Invitations, Pricey Tourist Bars and Restaurants", and so on.

So, here, we are going to share you about these scams and how to avoid them when you travel Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Buenos Aires, the vibrant capital of Argentina, is a fantastic destination for travelers seeking cultural treasures, delicious food, and thrilling experiences. But, like many famous places, Buenos Aires has its share of scams that can put a dent in your adventure.

In this guide, we'll uncover Travel Scams in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in simple terms and provide you with tips to protect yourself. However, we'll also share insights into lesser-known scams, so you're well-prepared for your journey.

About Travel Scams in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Image Credit: @gabriel_12,

Most Common Travel Scams in Buenos Aires, Argentina:

1. Watch Out for Fake Money:

Argentina's economic struggles have given rise to counterfeit money, especially fake $500 and $1,000 peso bills. To keep your cash safe, check your change in well-lit areas. And, be cautious when getting change at bars or taxis, and use smaller bills when possible.

2. Taxi Troubles:

Most taxi drivers are honest, but a few engage in scams like bill swapping, meter manipulation, and overcharging travelers from the airport. To avoid these issues, stick to well-known taxi companies like "Radio Taxi" or use ride-sharing services like Uber.

3. The "Mustard Scam" or "Bird Poop Scam":

This classic distraction trick involves a scammer splattering you with a substance resembling bird droppings. A seemingly helpful stranger offers to clean you up while pickpocketing you. Therefore, stay alert when someone approaches with sudden "stains" and secure your belongings.

4. Guard Against Pickpockets:

Crowded places like the subway or bus are hotspots for pickpockets. These thieves count on confusion, pushing victims, and taking advantage of distraction. Thus, keep your belongings close and carry only what's essential in these bustling areas.

5. Cabarets and Tricky Invitations:

An international scam, cabarets or tricky invitations may involve an attractive person inviting you to a "free" show, then presenting you with a hefty bill for drinks and services you didn't receive. That's why, be careful when entering such places to avoid unexpected expenses.

6. Beware of Motochorros (Motorcycle Thieves):

Motochorros are daring criminals who work in pairs, with one on a motorcycle and the other snatching valuables. Tourists in busy areas, sidewalk cafes, or affluent neighborhoods are more vulnerable. So, keep a close eye on your belongings, especially near the street.

7. Pricey Tourist Bars and Restaurants:

While exploring, it's tempting to grab a meal or drink at tourist bars or restaurants near major attractions. However, these places often overcharge. Therefore, walk a few blocks away from tourist spots to find more budget-friendly options.

8. Valuable Jewelry Risks:

Locals in Buenos Aires typically don't flaunt expensive jewelry. Travelers wearing valuable items like wedding rings or luxury earrings may attract unwanted attention. Thus, opt for a more low-key look when exploring the city.

9. Fake Bill Caution:

Due to the Argentine economy's ups and downs, tourists often exchange money at local "cuevas" or black-market money exchange houses. Consequently, be careful during currency exchanges and ensure you receive legitimate peso bills.

10. Limited ATM Use:

ATMs might seem convenient, but they come with low withdrawal limits and high charges in Argentina. Well, for the best exchange rates, consider swapping US dollars for pesos in cash at reputable "cuevas" when you arrive. It may seem unusual, but it's a cost-effective way to manage your money in Argentina.

Some Tips To Avoid Falling Victim To Travel Scams in Buenos Aires:

Stay Informed:

Knowledge is your best defense. Therefore, educate yourself about common travel scams, like those mentioned in the article, so you can recognize them when they happen.

Use Official Transportation:

Stick to official taxi services, like Radio Taxis, or ride-sharing apps like Uber. Avoid hailing taxis on the street, especially at night.

Handle Small Bills:

Whenever possible, pay for services and items with small bills. This can help you avoid falling victim to counterfeit money scams.

Protect Your Valuables:

Keep your belongings secure, especially in crowded places. Use anti-theft bags or money belts to deter pickpockets.

Avoid Overly Friendly Strangers:

Be cautious when approached by strangers who seem overly friendly or helpful. Trust your instincts and keep a safe distance.

Check Your Change:

Examine your change carefully when making purchases. Counterfeit bills might be slipped into your change during transactions.

Use Hotel Safes:

Leave valuable items, like expensive jewelry or extra cash, in your hotel's safe when you're not using them.

Travel Insurance:

Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers theft or loss of personal items. It provides an extra layer of protection.

Stay Alert in Crowded Areas:

When in crowded places, like public transportation, keep an eye on your belongings and stay alert to your surroundings.

Avoid Street Exchanges:

Don't exchange money with street vendors. Stick to reputable exchange houses to ensure you get legitimate currency.

Watch for Distractions:

Be wary of any situation that involves distractions, like the "Mustard Scam." Thieves use distractions to pickpocket victims.

Protect Your Mobile Devices:

Keep your smartphones, tablets, and laptops secure. Don't leave them unattended, especially at outdoor cafes near the street.

Use Language Apps:

Learning a few basic Spanish phrases can help you communicate and understand your surroundings better, reducing vulnerability to scams.

FAQs On Travel Scams in Buenos Aires:

What are the most common Travel Scams in Buenos Aires?

The most common scams include pickpocketing, counterfeit money, taxi scams, and the "bird poop" scam.

How can I recognize "counterfeit money" Travel Scams in Buenos Aires?

Counterfeit bills are usually offered in dimly lit situations, so it's crucial to inspect any money received in such circumstances. Look for security features like watermarks, security threads, and holograms to verify authenticity.

What should I be aware of when using taxis in Buenos Aires?

Be cautious of counterfeit bill swapping, taxi drivers running meters too fast, or confusion about payment when arriving from the airport. To avoid scams, choose reputable taxi companies or use ride-sharing apps.

How does the "bird poop" scam work, and how can I protect myself?

Scammers pretend to splatter you with bird poop or food, causing a distraction. While offering help to clean your clothes, they pickpocket you. To stay safe, be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings secure.

Are there specific areas or situations where pickpocketing is more likely to happen?

Pickpocketing often occurs in crowded places, like subways and buses. Thus, be vigilant in these situations and keep your valuables secure. Moreover, avoid carrying unnecessary items with you.

What is the "cabaret" or honeypot scam, and how can I avoid it?

In this scam, attractive individuals invite you for a "free" show, leading to inflated drink bills. To prevent falling victim, decline unsolicited invitations and be cautious in unfamiliar nightlife venues.

What are "motochorros," and how can I protect my belongings from them?

Motochorros are motorcycle thieves who quickly snatch belongings. Stay alert, keep your valuables out of reach, as well as, avoid leaving your phone or laptop on café tables near the street.

How prevalent are Travel Scams in Buenos Aires, and should I be worried?

While Travel Scams in Buenos Aires exist, violent crime is rare in Buenos Aires. Most people are honest and friendly. Therefore, stay aware of your surroundings, and you'll likely have a safe and enjoyable visit.

Are there any general rules for staying safe and avoiding Travel Scams in Buenos Aires?

Yes, bring only essential items, avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and use reputable transportation services. Also, stay attentive, especially in crowded areas.

What's the best way to react if I suspect I'm being targeted for Travel Scams in Buenos Aires?

It you are targeted by scammers for Travel Scams in Buenos Aires, stay calm and keep your belongings secure. Besides, avoid engaging with potential scammers, and seek assistance from authorities or trusted locals if necessary.

Our Closing Statement On Travel Scams in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires offers a memorable adventure, and being aware and cautious is your best defense against Travel Scams in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Familiarize yourself with these scams, follow the tips, and stay alert to fully enjoy the city's culture, history, and cuisine while avoiding potential pitfalls. Nevertheless, prepared travelers will have a fantastic time in this marvelous city and dodge any unexpected scams along the way.

Now that you know our final verdict for Travel Scams in Buenos Aires, here’s what we suggest you do:

Check Comments:

To learn more about Travel Scams in Buenos Aires, Argentina, check the comments below. If there are no comments, use the points mentioned earlier to check it yourself or follow our "Travel Scams in Buenos Aires, Argentina" article as above.

Spread Word:

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Report Scams:

If you want to report other scams, file complaints, or share reviews about different travel or tourist scams, please visit our “Report A Scam, File Complaint, Or Post Your Review” section. There, you can share your reviews or complaints regarding those specific companies or activities.

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author avatar
Pooja Ghimire Author, Researcher
Hello, I'm Pooja Ghimire, the author, researcher, and editor of this website. Having encountered numerous scams in the past, I now use my experience to help others avoid them. With involvement in the online industry since 2013, I've gained substantial knowledge about online businesses and activities. For additional details about me, our team, and our work, visit our "About Us" page. You can follow me on Facebook Profile.

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