Before you travel overseas, always research common scams at your destination so you don’t fall victim to ploys directed at tourists (like bottled water or “skip the line” scams). And the next time you decide to visit a souvenir shop, be careful.
On one recent Reddit thread, several users have reported another scam in which travellers are accused of breaking an item — and are suddenly held responsible for paying for any damages.
“I was with a group and I made small talk with the vendor and he commented on my T-shirt,” writes u/singmelullabies1. “The group continued onto a restaurant and 10 minutes later the vendor walks into the restaurant, finds me, and says ‘you broke several of my necklaces — you need to pay for them’... I refused to be scammed, and [he] insisted for several more minutes but left when he realised I wasn’t going to be shamed into paying him.”
It’s not all that dissimilar from another frequent scam in New York in which strangers claim you’ve brushed past them and “broken” their pair of glasses. (I’ve dealt with it twice.)
What can you do to avoid paying for souvenir damages, assuming you’re caught in a scam? As u/melston9380 recommends, resist the urge to hold anything that’s handed to you. If it suddenly falls apart in your hands, you might become responsible. Of course, you can choose not to pay for supposed damages, too, though it might put you in an uncomfortable or even dangerous situation.
Otherwise, watch out for fragile items in stores. Better yet, avoid souvenir shops in tourist areas altogether and you’ll save yourself from damages (and tourist prices).