How to Avoid Scams in Ukraine
Scams in Ukraine are overblown by most Westerners. BUT…I’ll never forget my first week in Ukraine…
- I got hustled by a street performer, who literally threw a monkey on to me and demanded I pay him money. As I was arguing with him, another monkey trainer threw a second monkey on to my head and demanded the same.
- I paid $12 for a bottle of water in a restaurant.
- I paid $7 for a taxi ride that should have been more like $2.
At that point, I was really, really thinking what I was doing wrong. Eventually I concluded that I simply wasn’t being aware enough of what was going on.
In Ukraine, you will expect to pay a “Western tax.”
This means that people will charge you more simply because you are Western and they assume you have money–regardless of whether or not you do. The solution is to simply find a way to counter it. Never be put in those situations. Then you don’t have to worry about being scammed in Ukraine.
Let’s look at my three instances.
Scams in Ukraine: The Street Hustler
The best advice I can give is to simply walk very, very quickly past these guys and don’t say anything. Even if you say “Niat Spasibo” they may be able to detect a Western accent. Then they’ll swoop on you like carnivores. Simply wear sunglasses so they don’t know where you’re looking.
Don’t hesitate to use body language too, a hands up in protest or something of the sort.
Generally in this situation you should just keep walking and ignore them.
Scams in Ukraine: The Water Bottle
Crazily enough, it’s far, far cheaper to just drink beer or coffee in cafes than it is to drink water.
Whether that is a good thing or not is up to you! If you insist upon water, just make sure it’s not an expensive glass bottle. You can specify this by simply asking for the cheapest one. The water bottle scam is one of the most common scams in Ukraine.
Scams in Ukraine: The Taxi
Not really a scam in hindsight–simply put, they’ll charge more when you speak Russian.
Best to use Uklon or Uber to get around!
Have you been scammed in Ukraine?
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