How To Avoid Tourist Scams in Dubai

How To Avoid Tourist Scams in Dubai
How To Avoid Tourist Scams in Dubai

When it comes to tourist scams, Dubai is a hot spot. From fake tour guides to bogus car rental companies, there are plenty of ways for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists.

But with some knowledge and awareness, you can easily avoid becoming victims of these scams. For example, one of the most common scams in Dubai is the fake tour guide scam.

This is where a person pretends to be a tour guide and offers to show you around the city. They will then charge you an exorbitant fee for their services.

To avoid this scam, only use licensed tour guides and ensure you know how much they should be charging before you agree to anything.

Here are some things you need to look out for so you’re not scammed while trying to enjoy your Dubai holiday.


Unofficial taxis

Dubai Tax
Taxis in Dubai | © Fabio Achilli / Flickr

When it comes to transportation in Dubai, there are a few things you should know to avoid getting scammed. First of all, only use official taxis that are marked with the RTA Logo. There have been reports of unofficial taxis posing as legitimate ones to take advantage of tourists.

If you do take an unofficial taxi, be sure to agree on a price before getting in. These taxi drivers typically don’t use meters, so if you disagree on a price upfront, you could pay more than you should. Finally, remember that traffic can be hefty in Dubai, so even short journeys can take a long time.


Stopped meters/ Missing meters

In Dubai, it’s not uncommon for taxi meters to be tampered with or missing altogether. This can result in tourists being overcharged for their rides. To avoid being scammed, it’s essential to take a few precautions.

First, ensure that the taxi you’re getting into has a working meter. Then, find another cab if the meter is missing or has been tampered with. Finally, keep an eye on the meter throughout your ride and ensure a reasonable fare.

If you suspect being overcharged, ask the driver to pull over and get out of the taxi. If you do find yourself in a situation where you’ve been scammed, don’t be afraid to speak up. You can report incidents of fraud to the police or the Dubai Tourism Authority.


Fake Data Package

The city of Dubai is a bustling metropolis constantly growing and changing. However, not all parts of Dubai are new and modern. There are older parts of the city that have been around for centuries. While these areas can be interesting to visit, they also come with their own set of scams.

Here are some tips on how to avoid tourist traps in Dubai’s older parts.

One common scam in older parts of Dubai is the fake data package. This is when someone tries to sell you an outdated or fake data package for your phone or computer. Be sure only to buy data packages from reputable sources. Another scam to watch out for is phony tour guides. These people will approach you and offer to show you around the area for a fee.


Use Uber Instead of tax or private taxis.

Uber is the way to go if you’re looking for a cheap and safe way to get around Dubai. While tax and private taxis are more expensive, they’re also more likely to overcharge tourists.

With Uber, you can be sure you’re getting a fair price. Plus, Uber is safer than taking a regular taxi.

With its GPS, you can see exactly where your driver is and how long it will take them to get to you. So next time you’re in Dubai, use Uber instead of a taxi.


Spiked drinks

Tourists in Dubai are often the target of scams, and one of the most common is spiked drinks. This mainly targets women who travel to Dubai and visit bars. Unfortunately, these scammers often successfully get their victims drunk and then rob them.

You can do a few things to protect yourself from this scam. First, be aware of your surroundings and don’t let your drink out of sight. Second, don’t accept drinks from strangers. And third, if you start to feel strange after drinking, get help immediately. Following these simple tips will make you much less likely to fall victim to a spiked drink scam in Dubai.

Here are some tips to avoid being scammed:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. Leave the area immediately if you feel you are being followed or watched.
  2. Do not accept drinks from strangers. If someone offers you a drink, watch them open it before you.
  3. Do not leave your drink unattended. If you need to go to the bathroom, take your drink with you or ask a friend to watch it.
  4. Be cautious of drinks that taste unusual or have strange ingredients in them. If you think your drink may have been spiked, do not hesitate to ask for help from bar staff or security guards.


Fake gold

Gold is a hot commodity in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Gold Souk is a large market dedicated to selling this precious metal and is one of the main tourist attractions in Dubai. Unfortunately, while finding good deals on gold in the souk is possible, many scams target tourists looking to purchase gold.

One common scam is for a seller to switch out the real gold for fake gold when selling. Unfortunately, this cannot be easy to spot if you are unfamiliar with gold and its properties.

To avoid being scammed, only buy gold from reputable dealers in the souk and be sure to inspect the quality of the gold before making a purchase. Another scam that is commonly seen in the Gold Souk is known as “short-weighting.”



Like any large city around the world, Dubai is no exception regarding pickpockets. However, there are some things that you can do to minimize your chances of becoming a victim. First, be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you see someone who looks suspicious, avoid them.

Keep your valuables in a safe place. If you’re carrying a purse or wallet, make sure it’s close to your body and not easy for someone to grab. Thirdly, don’t leave your belongings unguarded in public places. For example, don’t put your laptop on the floor next to you while you’re working at a coffee shop. Finally, if you become a pickpocket victim, don’t panic.


What to do if you’re scammed

If you’re planning a trip to Dubai, be aware of the potential for tourist scams. A few common scams target travellers, so it’s essential to be prepared. However, if you’re scammed, don’t panic. There are a few things you can do to resolve the situation.

First, try to stay calm and rational. It’s essential to think clearly to assess the situation and determine what to do next. Then, if possible, get in touch with your bank or credit card company. They may be able to help resolve the issue.

Next, contact the local police or tourist authorities. They may be able to help you recover your losses or take action against the person who scammed you. Finally, don’t hesitate to contact friends or family for support and advice.


This Article first appeared on Dubai Savvy