Travel Scams in Colombia: Top Scams and How to Beat Them

The Travel Scams in Colombia include “The Bogus Cop Scam, Overpriced Airport Taxis, Fake Tour Guides, Distraction Theft, Counterfeit Money, Misleading Prices" and so on.

So, here, we are going to share you about common Travel Scams in Colombia and how to avoid them when you travel Colombia.


Colombia has emerged as a vibrant and captivating travel destination, attracting adventurers from around the world. With its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality, it's no wonder that more tourists are exploring this South American gem.

However, like any popular travel destination, Colombia is not immune to scams that can put a damper on your journey. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various tourism scams in Colombia, along with tips on how to protect yourself as well as ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

About Travel Scams in Colombia
Image Credit: @Julianza,

Let's Talk About Top Travel Scams in Colombia:

1. The Bogus Cop Scam

Scam: Some people pretend to be police and may ask to see your passport or wallet.

Avoid: Always ask for their ID, and you can call the local police to verify their identity.

2. Overpriced Airport Taxis

Scam: Taxi drivers at airports might overcharge you.

Avoid: Stick with authorized taxis or use ride-sharing apps for transparent fares.

3. Fake Tour Guides

Scam: Unofficial tour guides may provide inaccurate information.

Avoid: Book your tours through reputable agencies with positive reviews to ensure a quality experience.

4. Distraction Theft

Scam: Thieves might use distractions to steal from you in crowded places.

Avoid: Stay alert, keep an eye on your belongings. Additionally, don't let strangers get too close.

5. Counterfeit Money

Scam: Be cautious of counterfeit bills, especially in busy markets.

Avoid: Check your change to ensure it's legitimate. Also, be aware of your surroundings.

6. Misleading Prices

Scam: Shopkeepers may manipulate price tags to overcharge tourists.

Avoid: Confirm prices before making a purchase to avoid being misled.

7. Surprise Hotel Charges

Scam: Some hotels may falsely accuse guests of taking items from their rooms.

Avoid: Document your room's condition when you check in to dispute unfair charges.

8. Overly Friendly Strangers

Scam: Some strangers may be overly friendly as a tactic to scam tourists.

Avoid: Be polite but cautious, especially with strangers who approach you.

9. ATM Assistance

Scam: Beware of strangers offering to help at ATMs.

Avoid: Use well-lit ATMs, shield your PIN, as well as keep your card secure.

10. Express Kidnapping

Scam: Criminals may take advantage of tourists, especially at night.

Avoid: Travel cautiously at night, avoid going out alone. On the other hand, decline unsolicited assistance.

11. Commission-Driven Recommendations

Scam: Some individuals may recommend places to earn a commission.

Avoid: Seek recommendations from trusted sources or research your options independently.

12. Unsolicited Free Items

Scam: Be cautious of unsolicited drinks or food, as they might be spiked.

Avoid: Stick to what you've ordered to ensure your safety.

13. Credit Card Scams

Scam: Credit card fraud can occur, especially at unofficial vendors.

Avoid: Use ATMs at banks, keep an eye on your card during transactions. Nevertheless, choose reputable establishments.

14. Street Gambling

Scam: Street games may be designed for tourists to lose money.

Avoid: Refrain from participating in these games to prevent financial losses.

15. Bystander Pickpockets

Scam: Thieves may pretend to help you while stealing your belongings.

Avoid: Keep a watchful eye on your possessions. Moreover, don't let strangers get too close.

16. Art and Gem Scams

Scam: Unreliable shops may sell fake art or gems at inflated prices.

Avoid: Research reputable stores and request certificates of authenticity when making purchases.

17. Drugged Drinks

Scam: Scammers may spike drinks for robbery.

Avoid: Never leave your drink unattended, especially in crowded places.

18. Bogus Charities

Scam: Beggars may deceive you with fake charity needs.

Avoid: Exercise caution when giving to beggars, as their claims may not be genuine.

19. Tour Frauds

Scam: Some outdoor tours may lack the required permits for safety.

Avoid: Prioritize your safety by booking tours through established and authorized providers.

20. Prize Deceptions

Scam: Scammers may approach you, claiming you've won a prize.

Avoid: Steer clear of such individuals and their deceptive tactics.

Additional Tips To Help You Avoid Travel Scams in Colombia:

1. Language Skills:

Learn some basic Spanish phrases, as language barriers can make you an easy target. Consequently, knowing the local language can help you communicate and understand instructions and warnings better.

2. Use Reputable Tour Operators:

When booking tours or activities, choose reputable and well-reviewed operators. Accordingly, check online reviews and ask for recommendations from fellow travelers to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

3. Emergency Numbers That Helps You From "Travel Scams in Colombia":

Save local emergency numbers in your phone and know how to contact the nearest embassy or consulate from your home country in case of any issues.

4. Dress Modestly:

Dress modestly and avoid wearing flashy jewelry, which can attract unwanted attention. Besides, blend in with the locals to minimize the risk of being targeted.

5. Stay in Well-Established Areas:

Choose accommodations in safe and well-established areas, and research the neighborhood's safety reputation before booking.

6. Travel Insurance:

Purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers theft, medical emergencies, and trip cancellations. In any case, it's a safeguard against unexpected events.

7. Avoid Sharing Personal Information:

Do not share personal information with strangers, especially when it comes to your financial details or travel plans.

8. Use Safe Transportation:

Opt for safe and reputable transportation options. Moreover, ore-book airport transfers, use registered taxis, or trusted ride-sharing services to minimize the risk of scams.

9. Stay Informed:

Stay updated on the current political and safety situation in Colombia by checking your government's travel advisory before your trip.

10. Trust Your Instincts:

If something doesn't feel right, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation. In addition, avoid confrontations and seek help if necessary.

11. Money Management:

Keep your money and important documents secure. On the other hand, consider using a money belt or hidden pouch to carry valuables, and keep photocopies of essential documents.

12. Local Tips To Safeguard Yourself From "Travel Scams in Colombia":

Engage with locals for advice on safe places, potential scams, and general travel tips. In any event, they can provide valuable insights.

FAQs On Travel Scams in Colombia:

1. Is Colombia safe for tourists in 2023?

Yes, Colombia is safe for tourists in 2023. The country has improved its safety a lot. Even so, just remember to stay aware, follow advice, and take normal safety steps.

2. What are common Travel Scams in Colombia for tourists?

Common scams include fake immigration websites, taxi overcharging, counterfeit money, drug-related tricks, and street crimes like pickpocketing, and so on. However, be cautious, but don't panic.

3. Can I trust Colombian locals for advice and recommendations to avoid Travel Scams in Colombia?

You can trust Colombian locals for advice. Moreover, they are friendly and happy to help with travel tips.

4. How do I avoid Travel Scams in Colombia while traveling there?

To avoid scams, use reputable tour operators, check taxi fares, be aware of your surroundings, keep personal information private, as well as stay safe with street vendors. Furthermore, use official channels for money and trust your instincts.

5. Is public transportation safe in Colombia or have to face Travel Scams in Colombia there also?

Public transportation in big Colombian cities is safe and reliable. Though, just watch out for pickpockets in crowded places.

6. Are there specific safety concerns about "Travel Scams in Colombia" for solo travelers?

Solo travelers can explore Colombia safely. However, learn some basic Spanish, stay aware, avoid strange drinks, keep an eye on your stuff, as well as, follow standard safety rules.

7. Is tap water safe to drink in Colombia?

Tap water is safe to drink in major Colombian cities like Bogota and Medellin. Despite that, check local water quality in rural areas.

8. What are the most dangerous places in Colombia?

Colombian prisons are the most dangerous places because they have strict laws on drugs and illegal activities. Therefore, obey local laws and stay away from illegal stuff.

9. How can I ensure my safety when using taxis in Colombia?

For safe taxi rides, book through reputable taxi companies or your hotel, especially at night or on holidays. On the other hand, legit taxis have meters, driver photos, and vehicle history.

10. Should I get travel insurance for my Colombia trip?

Yes, get travel insurance that covers theft, medical issues, and trip cancellations. Nonetheless, it keeps you safe and covers costs in Colombia.

Our Closing Statement On Travel Scams in Colombia

Colombia is unquestionably a gorgeous and secure tourist destination. However, while a few Travel Scams in Colombia may exist, you can protect yourself by remaining vigilant and following common-sense tips.

Furthermore, place your trust in the friendly locals for guidance, and you'll set off on an extraordinary journey to explore this vibrant country.

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

Check Comments :

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

Spread Word:

One of the most effective methods to assist fellow travelers in staying informed about Travel Scams in Colombia is by sharing this article through your social media networks.

In doing so, you actively participate in building a community of well-informed travelers. Furthermore, you help in spreading awareness and enhancing the safety of fellow adventurers.

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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Stay safe, and enjoy your Colombian adventure!

author avatar
De Suman Roka Author, Founder
I'm De Suman Roka, the author, editor, and founder of this website. Engaged in online business since 2009, I've been researching various scams since 2014, making me an expert in identifying scams. For additional details about me, our team, and our work, please visit our "About Us" page. Find more info about me on Twitter and Facebook.

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