5 Tourist Scams To Avoid in Lithuania

Vilnius street| ©Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn)/Flickr
Vilnius street| ©Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn)/Flickr
Photo of Kasparas Asmonaitis
17 November 2017

Lithuania is a fascinating country, which you should definitely visit if you love nature and old cities with a rich history. Even though Lithuania is a fairly safe place, there are still those who will try to scam unsuspecting tourists. These are the most common scams which tourists should be aware of when travelling in Lithuania.

Gangs of homeless people

Giving money to homeless people is a very noble act but you should be cautious because there are many ‘fake’ homeless people in Lithuania. who belong to gangs and focus on popular tourist spots pretending to be beggars. You can meet many blind, sick, and deaf people who are using others’ generosity and empathy to get more money. And most of that money goes to the hands of local criminals. To avoid being scammed by fake homeless people, instead of giving them money, you can always offer to buy them some food! Just don’t be surprised if the homeless person refuses your offer of food and asks for euros instead.

Shady taxi drivers

Some taxi drivers in Lithuania will take advantage of tourists who cannot speak the Lithuanian language and will say that their taximeter is broken. Also, they enjoy driving in circles to make tourists feel like they are driving far away when in reality, they are only a few kilometers from their destination. Make sure you check a map before getting into a taxi and avoid getting into one without a taximeter. Even better, instead of relying on taxis, tourists should use alternatives such as Uber or Taxify.

Taxi | ©Automobile Italia/Flickr

Fake fortune-tellers

While travelling around Lithuanian towns, you are likely to meet fortune-tellers who will try to get you to give them money. This is a popular scam among old gypsy women, who usually approach people waiting in train or bus stations. The scam is straightforward – a fortune-teller approaches you and says they can tell you your future and they ask to hold any banknote from your wallet to be able to see the future. Naturally, if you hand that bill to a fake fortune-teller, your future is simple – you will have one less bill in your pocket!

Being given the wrong change

Be extremely careful when counting your change after purchasing something from local traders who sell touristy souvenirs. Those traders are really bad at maths and often ‘miscalculate’ the change. Of course, tourists never receive more change, only less! This scam was much more popular when Lithuania had its own currency, litas, but it still happens with the euro as well, so have your wits about you.

Coins | ©Karolis Parfeniukas/Flickr

Shops with no price tags

Buying items at shops with no price tags is a bad idea everywhere in the world, and Lithuania is no exception. You have to either be a genius at bargaining or simply find a shop where prices are openly shown and there is no way to scam you! Also, make sure to check your bill if you are at a bar or restaurant because some places will add an extra beer or two, especially for tourists who don’t understand the local Lithuanian language.

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