Fake guides

This is a scam that is used in many places around the world, but whereas elsewhere these scammers lead you into a store which pays them a commission on your spending, the Jamaican version is a bit more direct and could be labeled as extortion. The scam goes as follows:

Jamaica-fake-guide-scamTourists walking in the streets of Montego Bay or other cities in Jamaica are approached by a local, who starts up a conversation by asking where they are from and if they are enjoying their stay in Jamaica, while walking along with them. Soon, he will be accompanied by another local, both walking together with the unsuspecting tourists, chatting them up and appearing to be kind and outgoing. Unsolicited and seemingly out of hospitality and friendliness, the men will then steer the tourists towards a couple of sightseeing spots and explain a few things about these sights and about Jamaican history and culture, as a tourist guide would. Even if the tourists kindly try to dismiss these self-proclaimed guides, they are hard to reject. This should be an early warning sign, as someone who’s is only trying to be friendly without any second agenda, would recognize when he’s overstayed his welcome.

Also read: Lured into Jamaican ghetto and extorted by fake guides

After a couple of places of interest, the men will unnoticeably guide the unsuspecting tourists further into a Jamaican ghetto or invite them for drinks in a bar, where all of a sudden they ask the tourists to pay for their tour. And these are no regular prices, some charge as much as $ 50 to $ 100 for a 20 minute tour visiting no more than 3 or 4 sights. And because the tourists are somewhere in the ghetto, where they don’t know how to get back, and have nobody to ask for help, they have no other choice but to give in to the extortion. The guides will then bring them back safely to one of the tourist hotspots. But those who refuse to pay, may end up getting threatened and harassed by these men.

If you feel like one or more locals are imposing themselves to you and they seem hard to shake off, kindly thank them for their time, ask them to leave you alone and start walking towards an area with lots of tourists, and perhaps a police officer if you can see one. Never let them guide you to somewhere unfamiliar, and don’t let them follow you to your hotel. If they won’t leave you alone, walk into a store or restaurant and ask the attendants to call the police, preferably loud enough for your pursuers to hear.

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Montego Bay and Jamaica Tourist Scams Forum.

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