For every obvious street scam like 'find the lady', there are half a dozen more that you don't see. No matter how streetwise you think you are or where you go in the world, there will always be the risk of a con artist or thief looking for a soft target. The fact that you are a tourist, may not speak the lingo, might be lost, possibly jet-lagged, distracted by the sights of a new place and potentially loaded with cash and cameras makes you appear very desirable to undesirables. Here are few old favourites. Please contribute any you have come across... Taxis Pretty basic stuff. However early or late it is, avoid unlicenced cabs which are almost always rip-offs and illegal. Either agree a price up front or go by the meter, but not a combination of both. Of course you also need to ensure that the meter works and gets switched on. You also need to do your homework before you arrive. The last thing you need when you arrive at a foreign airport is to be reading your guide book to check the best way to get a taxi into town. Some cities have taxi stewards and con-proof systems which ensure you know exactly how much your journey will cost and there is no room for any nonsense. Be aware that there may be some legitimate extra charges for tolls, per bag, on Sundays or national holidays, longer trips, airport trips or during unsociable hours. If you are not sure what charges will be added, ask. Restaurants Watch out for mysterious 'cover charges'. Although these are the norm in countries like Italy they are also a classic way for unscrupulous waiters or restaurants to pad out your bill. The same applies with taxes, unordered items and simple shortchanging. Changing cash Make sure you feel comfortable with the foreign currency you are using and how much it is worth in pounds sterling. The Euro has done away with a lot of the multiple-zero currencies where it was easy to get confused but you still need to be alert. If you are poor at maths then carry a calculator or currency convertor with you and don't be afraid to use it. Check your change before you leave anywhere. If a stranger or anyone on the street offers to change money for you, be immediately suspicious. If you are daft enough to do a deal, check all the notes very carefully and wait for the big slap on the back at the end from your 'new friend'. It's entirely possibly he - or she - is pickpocketing the very cash he just given you. Tour guides You're at a major tourist spot such as a temple and a well-dressed man with ID approaches politely, hands you a leaflet and introduces himself as a tour guide. He doesn't ask for money up front but if you decide to buy a tour he asks you to wait there for a few minutes. He then introduces you to his colleague, you pay the fee and the tour begins. But while your first friend had perfect English, his colleague can barely speak a word. You've been scammed. Tour guides will also take you to the 'best shops' from whom, of course, they are almost certainly getting commission perhaps via inflated prices. Usually they are so poorly paid that this is the only way they can earn a decent living. Depending on how useless, overpriced or irritating the shop - or tour guide - is, your may want to complain and insist the tour moves on. Public transport Buses, trains and particularly underground systems (including London) are hot spots for pickpockets and beggars. Gypsy women may try to distract you with their babies, young children or cardboard begging signs while they go for your bag or pocket. In metro and subway systems look out for anyone trying to push through the ticket barrier behind you. You may think they are after a free ride but usually they will be aiming for your valuables. If you see a poster or hear an announcement warning you to be wary of pickpockets resist the urge to check your wallet or bag. Thieves say they love these warnings as everyone immediately checks their valuables which shows them exactly where to steal from. The busier the better for pickpockets who don't need an excuse to press up against you. Watch out for anyone waiting until the last minute to board the train - the jump-on, steal, jump-off tactic is common. Hotels Most operate legal scams. To avoid them you need to also avoid the minibar and the phone. Beat the scammers Only take out as much money as you need for the day and keep it in a money pouch around your neck, under your clothes. Keep bags zipped and close to you at all times. If you suspect a pickpocket is nearby then move away if you can. If it is not possible then look them in the eye and make it clear you suspect their intentions. Better to risk offending someone innocent than becoming a target. Avoid getting too distracted in museums, galleries and cafes - particularly internet cafes. Try to blend in and look as un-touristy as possible.