Helpful local scam

A similar tourist scam can be found in Morocco (see also our Marrakech helpful local scam), and possibly other tourist destinations with an Arab culture. In Tunisia, scammers use the “government recommended store” trademark to convince naïve tourists of their trustworthiness.

Tunisia-helpful-local-scamIn the local Tunis medinas, friendly looking locals approach tourists to inform them about so-called special government stores, at which there coincidentally happens to be a limited-time-only special sales promotion. They kindly offer to show the tourists where it is, so they can take profit of the great deals. However, bear in mind that this helpfulness is not for free: the friendly and helpful seeming would-be guide has a deal with these stores to receive a commission of 30% to as much as 50% of the amount the tourist spends in that store. Although a commission system by itself is not uncommon in certain regions of the world and usually wouldn’t be called a scam, a throwback of 50% is exorbitant and means the tourists are overcharged by a large margin in order to pay for the commission.

Also read: Fake hotel employee encourages us to buy fake antique jewellery

This scam is made possible by the low price level in Tunisia, as tourists who are unfamiliar with the price level may still consider their purchase to be an excellent deal when compared to prices in their home country, despite paying up to twice the regular Tunisian price.

Helpful-local-scam-TunisiaThese fake guides have discovered a cunning way to win a tourist’s trust by checking their all-inclusive wristbands, which displays at which hotel the tourists are staying. The swindlers then claim to work for the same hotel and to recognize the tourists from their workplace. Sometimes even the taxi drivers work together with these fake guides, secretly signalling them from which hotel his customers were picked up, so they can run the same play, pretending to be a hotel employee.

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Soussa, Hammamet and Tunisia Tourist Scams Forum.

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