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How Not To Get Scammed In Egypt


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Cynthy Vancleave



Welcome to Egypt, a land of rich history, captivating culture, and stunning ancient wonders. From the majestic pyramids of Giza to the serene Nile River, this country offers an unforgettable experience for travelers from around the world. However, like any popular tourist destination, Egypt is not without its share of scams and fraudulent activities.


It’s essential to be aware of the scam culture in Egypt and take necessary precautions to protect yourself from falling victim to these deceitful schemes. This article aims to provide you with valuable insights and tips on how to navigate through Egypt while avoiding common scams.


Understanding the Scam Culture in Egypt:


Egypt, like many other countries, has its unique set of scams and hustles that target unsuspecting tourists. It’s important to note that only a small percentage of Egyptians are involved in these fraudulent activities, and the vast majority of the population is welcoming, friendly, and honest. However, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and aware of the common scams to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.


Common Scams in Egypt:


There are several scams that have become notorious in Egypt, with some being more prevalent in certain areas. One common scam involves “helpful” locals offering to guide tourists to their destinations but then demanding an exorbitant amount of money in return. Another scam is the sale of counterfeit goods, ranging from fake ancient artifacts to designer clothing.


Other scams include taxi drivers manipulating their meters or taking longer routes to inflate fares, unauthorized individuals offering tour guide services, and unlicensed vendors selling inferior quality products at inflated prices.


However, these scams should not deter you from exploring the wonders of Egypt. By staying informed and following some practical tips, you can minimize the risks and enjoy your time in this incredible country.


Understanding the Scam Culture in Egypt

Before delving into specific scams, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the cultural factors that contribute to the prevalence of scams in Egypt. Poverty, high unemployment rates, and a large tourism industry are among the main factors that create an environment where scams can thrive.


While the majority of Egyptians are honest and hardworking individuals, some resort to scams as a means to make a living due to limited job opportunities. Additionally, the dependence on tourism makes tourists an easy target for scammers looking to make quick money.


Another aspect that fuels the scam culture in Egypt is the haggling and bargaining tradition deeply embedded in the local marketplaces. While bargaining is a normal practice, it also opens the door for unscrupulous vendors to overcharge unsuspecting tourists.


Furthermore, the language barrier can contribute to scams. Tourists who are unfamiliar with the local language may find it challenging to communicate and negotiate effectively, making them vulnerable to deceptive practices.


It’s important to note that the Egyptian government and tourism authorities are working to combat these issues and improve the safety of tourists. However, being aware of the scam culture and taking precautions can go a long way in safeguarding yourself during your visit to Egypt.


By understanding the underlying factors and motivations behind scams, you can better equip yourself to identify and avoid potential scams while exploring the wonders of Egypt. The following sections will provide you with practical tips to protect yourself and ensure a scam-free experience.


Common Scams in Egypt

While Egypt is a beautiful destination filled with friendly people, it’s essential to be aware of the common scams that tourists may encounter. By familiarizing yourself with these scams, you can better protect yourself and minimize the risk of falling victim to them.


1. Tourist Guides and “Helpful” Locals: Be cautious of individuals who approach you claiming to be tour guides or offering their assistance. Some of them may try to lead you to shops or attractions where they receive a commission. Always verify the credentials of tour guides and use reputable sources to book tours and activities.


2. Camel and Horse Ride Scams: When taking a camel or horse ride, be sure to negotiate the price beforehand to avoid being overcharged. Some guides may demand an inflated fee at the end of the ride, claiming that the initial price was only for a short distance.


3. Fake Souvenirs and Artifacts: In popular tourist areas, you may come across vendors selling counterfeit replicas of Egyptian artifacts. These items may appear authentic, but they are often mass-produced and of poor quality. It’s advisable to purchase souvenirs from trusted shops or markets recommended by reliable sources.


4. Taxi Scams: Taxi drivers in Egypt have been known to manipulate their meters or take unnecessarily long routes to increase the fare. To avoid this, insist on using a metered taxi or agree on a fixed price before starting the journey. Consider using reputable ride-hailing apps for added convenience and safety.


5. Currency Exchange Scams: When exchanging currency, be cautious of unauthorized currency exchange offices that offer suspiciously high rates. It’s advisable to exchange money at banks, reputable exchange offices, or withdraw cash from ATMs.


6. Unsolicited Offers and Invitations: Be wary of individuals who approach you with unsolicited offers for free tours, drinks, or entertainment. They may lure you into a scam or an establishment where you will be expected to pay exorbitant prices.


Remember, these scams are not limited to Egypt and can happen in popular tourist destinations around the world. By staying alert, doing your research, and using common sense, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these scams and enjoy a hassle-free experience in Egypt.


Tips to Avoid Scams in Egypt

While scams exist in every destination, being proactive and taking necessary precautions can significantly minimize your chances of falling victim to them. Here are some essential tips to help you avoid scams during your visit to Egypt:


1. Research and Plan Ahead: Before your trip, take the time to research reputable tour operators, accommodation options, and attractions. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from trusted sources can help you make informed decisions and avoid scams.


2. Stay Alert and Trust Your Instincts: Always be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid situations or individuals that make you uncomfortable and prioritize your safety at all times.


3. Don’t Share Personal Information: Be cautious about sharing personal or sensitive information with strangers. Scammers may attempt to extract personal details under the guise of offering assistance or services. Only provide personal information when necessary and only to reputable individuals or establishments.


4. Be Mindful of Your Belongings: Keep a close eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas or tourist sites where pickpockets may operate. Avoid flaunting expensive items or large amounts of cash, as this can attract unwanted attention. Consider using a money belt or keeping valuables in a secure bag.


5. Use Licensed Taxis or Ride-Hailing Apps: Stick to licensed taxis or use reputable ride-hailing apps like Uber or Careem for transportation. Ensure that the taxi meter is functioning properly or agree on a fare upfront. Avoid getting into unofficial taxis or accepting rides from strangers.


6. Bargain Wisely: Bargaining is a common practice in Egypt, especially in markets and bazaars. However, be aware of inflated prices and don’t be afraid to negotiate. Research the approximate prices of items beforehand and aim for a fair and reasonable price.


7. Check Official Identification: When dealing with officials, such as police officers or tour guides, ask to see their official identification. Legitimate officials will readily provide identification upon request. If something seems suspicious, seek assistance from uniformed personnel or authorities.


8. Stay Informed about Common Scams: Keep yourself updated on the latest scams and techniques used by scammers in Egypt. Online travel forums, official tourism websites, and guidebooks can provide valuable insights and first-hand experiences shared by fellow travelers.


By following these tips and being vigilant, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to scams during your time in Egypt. Remember, staying informed, using common sense, and trusting your instincts are key to having a safe and memorable trip.


Securing Your Belongings and Personal Information

Ensuring the security of your belongings and personal information is crucial when traveling, especially in unfamiliar environments. Here are some essential tips to help you secure your belongings and personal information while exploring Egypt:


1. Use a Secure Bag or Money Belt: Invest in a sturdy and secure bag that has anti-theft features such as slash-proof material, lockable zippers, and hidden compartments. Alternatively, consider using a money belt or a pouch that can be worn discreetly under your clothing to store your valuables.


2. Carry Only What You Need: Avoid carrying excessive cash, credit cards, or valuable items with you. Keep only the necessary amount of money for the day and leave valuable items, such as expensive jewelry, in a secure hotel safe or at home.


3. Keep Your Bag Close: When in crowded places or public transportation, keep your bag close to your body and secure it in a way that makes it difficult for thieves to snatch or access it without your notice. Avoid dangling bags or leaving your belongings unattended.


4. Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi networks can be vulnerable to hackers who can access your personal information. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to make online transactions or access sensitive accounts. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for added security when connecting to the internet.


5. Install Tracking Apps on Your Mobile Devices: Install tracking apps on your mobile devices so that you can track or remotely wipe your device in case of loss or theft. Ensure that your devices are password-protected and be mindful of your surroundings when using them in public.


6. Use ATMs with Caution: Be cautious when using ATMs and choose those located in well-lit and secure areas. Shield your PIN when entering it and be vigilant of any suspicious devices or individuals nearby. Always remember to retrieve your card and transaction receipts before leaving the ATM.


7. Keep Copies of Important Documents: Make copies of important documents, such as your passport, identification cards, and travel insurance information. Keep the copies in a separate location from the originals, either in a secure bag or with a trusted person back home.


8. Be Mindful of Scammers: Be cautious of individuals who approach you offering unsolicited assistance, especially if they ask for your personal information or belongings. Avoid sharing sensitive information with strangers and trust your gut instincts when dealing with unfamiliar individuals.


By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of theft, loss, or unauthorized access to your personal information while exploring Egypt. Remember to maintain situational awareness, stay alert, and prioritize the security of your belongings and personal data at all times.


Staying Safe While Using Transportation

Whether you’re traveling within cities or exploring different regions of Egypt, it’s important to prioritize your safety while using various modes of transportation. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:


1. Choose Reliable Transportation Options: Opt for licensed taxis, reputable ride-hailing apps, or official transport services whenever possible. Research trusted transportation providers in advance and look for reviews or recommendations from fellow travelers.


2. Verify Taxi Meters: If you’re taking a taxi, ensure that the meter is functioning properly. Some drivers may try to manipulate the meter or negotiate a fixed fare that is much higher than the actual price. If the meter is not working, negotiate a fair price before starting the journey.


3. Share Your Itinerary: Inform a trusted person, such as a family member or a friend, about your travel plans and share your itinerary with them. This way, someone will be aware of your whereabouts and can raise an alarm if needed.


4. Avoid Traveling Alone at Night: While Egypt is generally considered safe for tourists, it’s advisable to avoid traveling alone at night, especially in less-populated or unfamiliar areas. If you must travel at night, opt for well-lit and busy routes and arrange for reliable transportation in advance.


5. Keep Valuables Close: When using public transportation, keep your valuables, such as wallets, phones, and cameras, securely stored and close to your body. Avoid displaying expensive items or counting money in public, as this can attract unwanted attention.


6. Be Vigilant of Your Surroundings: Pay attention to your surroundings, particularly when using public transportation. Be cautious of suspicious individuals, crowded spaces, and any unusual activity. Trust your instincts and, if something feels off, consider moving to a different location or seeking assistance from authorities.


7. Secure Your Luggage: When traveling on buses, trains, or even domestic flights, keep a close eye on your luggage. Avoid storing valuables or important documents in checked-in bags. Use combination locks or secure your bags with TSA-approved locks to deter unauthorized access.


8. Familiarize Yourself with Emergency Exits: Whether you’re using buses, trains, or boats, take a moment to locate the emergency exits or safety equipment. Being familiar with the safety features can help you act quickly and effectively in case of an emergency.


Remember, it’s crucial to use your judgment and prioritize your safety while using transportation in Egypt. By being cautious and following these tips, you can enjoy your journey while minimizing potential risks.


Exchanging Money Safely

When traveling to Egypt, it’s important to have the local currency, Egyptian pounds (EGP), for your day-to-day expenses. Here are some tips to ensure you can exchange your money safely:


1. Use Reputable Currency Exchange Offices: Opt for well-established and authorized currency exchange offices in Egypt. These offices are likely to offer fair exchange rates and provide receipts for your transactions. Avoid exchanging money on the street or through unauthorized individuals, as they may give you counterfeit or outdated currency.


2. Exchange Money at Banks: Banks in Egypt offer safe and reliable currency exchange services. However, keep in mind that some banks may charge higher fees or have limited operating hours, especially on weekends and public holidays. It’s advisable to check the exchange rates in advance and compare them between different banks to get the best deal.


3. Use ATMs from Reputable Banks: ATMs are a convenient way to withdraw cash in Egypt. Stick to ATMs located in well-lit and secure areas, such as inside banks or reputable shopping centers. Avoid using ATMs that appear suspicious or have unfamiliar logos attached. Be cautious of your surroundings and shield your PIN when entering it.


4. Notify Your Bank or Credit Card Provider: Before traveling to Egypt, inform your bank or credit card provider about your travel plans. This will help prevent your cards from being blocked for suspicious activity. Inquire about any international transaction fees or currency conversion charges that may apply during ATM withdrawals or card usage abroad.


5. Be Mindful of Counterfeit Currency: Counterfeit currency can be an issue in Egypt. Familiarize yourself with the design and security features of Egyptian banknotes to easily recognize counterfeit money. Check the quality of the banknotes, feel the texture, and look for hidden security features such as watermarks, holograms, and security threads.


6. Carry a Mix of Payment Methods: It’s a good practice to carry a mix of payment methods when traveling to Egypt. Along with cash, consider having a debit card or credit card for backup. This ensures that you have alternative options in case of emergencies or if you run out of local currency.


7. Be Cautious of Exchange Rate Scams: Some unscrupulous individuals may try to take advantage of travelers by offering an attractive exchange rate but actually shortchanging them. Always double-check the amount you receive and calculate the exchanged amount using a trusted currency conversion app or calculator.


By following these tips, you can safely exchange your money in Egypt and avoid falling victim to currency exchange scams. Remember to exercise caution, do your research, and rely on established and reputable sources for currency exchange.


Dealing with Street Vendors and Touts

Egypt is known for its bustling markets and street vendors offering a variety of products and services. While many vendors are legitimate and offer quality goods, there are some who may employ aggressive or deceptive tactics to make a sale. Here are some tips on how to navigate interactions with street vendors and touts:


1. Be Confident and Assertive: Street vendors and touts can be persistent in their efforts to sell their products or services. Maintain a confident and assertive demeanor to make it clear that you are not easily swayed. Politely but firmly decline their offers if you are not interested.


2. Practice Bargaining with Caution: Bargaining is a common practice in Egyptian markets, and it can be an enjoyable way to interact with vendors. However, be cautious and avoid getting caught up in aggressive bargaining tactics. Set a budget for yourself and negotiate within a reasonable range.


3. Avoid Engaging with Unsolicited Guides: Be cautious of individuals who approach you offering unsolicited guidance or claiming to be unofficial guides. They may lead you to specific shops or attractions where they will receive a commission. Politely decline their services and rely on certified tour guides or trusted sources for information.


4. Research Local Prices: Before visiting markets or engaging with street vendors, research the typical prices of the products or services you are interested in. This will give you a benchmark for negotiation and help you recognize if a price is overly inflated.


5. Keep Small Bills Handy: It’s wise to have small bills and loose change readily available when dealing with street vendors. This way, you can pay the exact amount you have agreed upon without the need for vendors to provide change. It also prevents the risk of confusion or discrepancies during transactions.


6. Be Mindful of Distractions: Some street vendors may employ distraction techniques to divert your attention and manipulate the situation. They may also work in groups to create confusion or pickpocket. Stay focused and keep a close eye on your belongings during interactions.


7. Ignore Persistent Touts: Touts can be quite persistent in trying to sell their goods or services, particularly around popular tourist sites. It’s best to ignore their advances and avoid engaging in conversation. Keep walking and maintain your original plan or itinerary.


8. Trust Your Intuition: Trust your intuition and gut feelings when dealing with street vendors and touts. If something feels off or too pushy, it’s best to walk away and find a more reputable establishment or vendor.


Remember that not all street vendors are scammers, and you can find genuine bargains and unique experiences by engaging with them. By being aware, assertive, and practicing caution, you can navigate interactions with street vendors and touts while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of Egypt’s markets.


Recognizing and Avoiding Tourist Traps

When visiting Egypt, it’s important to be aware of tourist traps – places or experiences that are often overhyped, overcrowded, and overpriced. These tourist traps can range from popular attractions to specific areas or establishments. Here are some tips to help you recognize and avoid falling into tourist traps:


1. Do Your Research: Before your trip, research popular tourist sites and attractions in Egypt. Read reviews, check official websites, and seek recommendations from fellow travelers or locals. This will help you gain a better understanding of what to expect and differentiate genuine attractions from tourist traps.


2. Be Wary of Overly Aggressive Sales Tactics: Some establishments or individuals may employ aggressive sales tactics to lure tourists into their shops or services. They may approach you on the street, offering “exclusive” deals or discounts. Be cautious of such tactics and research before making any commitments or purchases.


3. Avoid Restaurants Near Tourist Hotspots: Restaurants located near popular tourist sites are often overpriced and offer mediocre food. Instead, venture a bit further away to explore local eateries recommended by locals or trusted sources. This allows you to experience authentic cuisine and potentially save money.


4. Consult Trusted Tour Operators or Guides: If you’re interested in guided tours or excursions, research and choose reputable tour operators or certified guides. Avoid spontaneous decisions to join tours offered by random individuals, as they may not provide the quality or safety standards you expect.


5. Explore Lesser-Known or Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations: Instead of solely focusing on the most popular attractions, consider exploring lesser-known or off-the-beaten-path destinations. This allows you to have a more immersive and genuine experience while avoiding the crowds and inflated prices associated with tourist traps.


6. Manage Your Expectations: Understand that some popular tourist attractions may not live up to the hype or provide the authentic experience you seek. Adjust your expectations and approach these sites with an open mind to fully appreciate the historical or cultural significance while acknowledging the commercial aspects.


7. Be Cautious of Unlicensed Tour Guides: Some individuals may pose as unofficial or unlicensed tour guides, offering their services at attractive rates. While not all unlicensed guides are dishonest, it’s advisable to opt for licensed and certified tour guides who adhere to professional standards and regulations.


8. Seek Recommendations from Locals: Engage with locals, such as hotel staff, restaurant employees, or fellow travelers, and ask for recommendations on places to visit, eat, or shop. Locals can provide valuable insights and steer you away from tourist traps towards authentic experiences.


By being informed, managing your expectations, and relying on trusted sources, you can avoid falling into tourist traps and create a more authentic and rewarding travel experience in Egypt.


Protecting Yourself from Credit Card and ATM Fraud

While using credit cards and ATMs can be convenient when traveling in Egypt, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself from potential fraud or unauthorized transactions. Here are some tips to ensure the security of your credit card and ATM transactions:


1. Notify Your Bank: Before your trip, inform your bank or credit card provider about your travel plans, including the dates and destinations. This will help prevent your cards from being blocked for suspicious activity when used internationally.


2. Use Secure ATMs: When using ATMs, choose those located in well-lit and secure areas, such as inside banks or reputable shopping centers. Avoid using ATMs that appear suspicious or have unfamiliar logos attached. Be cautious of your surroundings and shield your PIN when entering it.


3. Check for Skimming Devices: Skimming devices can be used by fraudsters to capture your card information. Before using an ATM, examine the card slot and keypad for any signs of tampering or additional attachments. If you suspect anything suspicious, choose a different ATM and report it to the relevant authorities.


4. Cover the Keypad: When entering your PIN at an ATM, use your hand or body to shield the keypad from prying eyes or hidden cameras. This helps prevent unauthorized individuals from obtaining your PIN and accessing your account.


5. Keep Receipts and Monitor Your Account: Keep all transaction receipts until you can cross-reference them with your bank or credit card statement. Regularly monitor your account online or through mobile banking apps to detect any unauthorized transactions.


6. Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi networks can pose security risks, as they may be vulnerable to hackers who can intercept your personal information. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks when making online transactions or accessing sensitive accounts. Instead, use a secure and private internet connection, such as your mobile data plan or a trusted VPN (Virtual Private Network).


7. Be Mindful of Shoulder Surfers: Be cautious of individuals lurking around ATMs or standing too close while you’re conducting a transaction. Be aware of your surroundings and take steps to shield your actions to prevent anyone from observing or stealing your information.


8. Report Suspicious Activity Promptly: If you notice any suspicious activity, such as missing cards, unauthorized transactions, or unusual account behavior, contact your bank or credit card provider immediately. They can assist in locking or canceling your cards and investigating any fraudulent activity.


By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of credit card and ATM fraud during your time in Egypt. Stay vigilant, protect your personal information, and regularly monitor your accounts to ensure a secure financial experience while traveling.


Reporting Scams and Seeking Help in Egypt

If you encounter a scam or fraudulent activity during your time in Egypt, it’s important to know how to report the incident and seek assistance. Here are some steps to follow:


1. Contact the Authorities: If you are the victim of a scam or a criminal act, immediately contact the local police or tourist police in Egypt. They are trained to handle such situations and can provide guidance on the necessary steps to take.


2. Gather Evidence: Gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. This may include photographs, receipts, conversations, or any documentation relevant to the incident. This evidence can be useful when reporting the scam and seeking resolution.


3. Notify Your Embassy or Consulate: Inform your embassy or consulate about the incident, especially if it involves theft, assault, or any significant violation. They can provide guidance, support, and assistance in dealing with the local authorities and help navigate the legal process, if necessary.


4. Report to Tourist Assistance Hotlines: Many cities and tourist destinations in Egypt have dedicated hotlines specifically designed to assist tourists. These hotlines can provide information, support, and guidance if you encounter scams or need help during your stay. Find out the appropriate hotline for your location and keep the number with you for quick access.


5. Contact Your Travel Insurance Provider: If you have travel insurance, contact your insurance provider to report the incident and seek guidance on the coverage and reimbursement process. Provide them with all the necessary documentation and evidence to support your claim.


6. Share Your Experience: After encountering a scam, consider sharing your experience on travel forums, social media platforms, or review websites. This can help raise awareness and alert other travelers to potential scams in Egypt, ultimately contributing to a safer environment for future visitors.


Remember, reporting scams and seeking help in a timely manner is crucial for your safety and the well-being of fellow travelers. Stay calm, gather evidence, and reach out to the appropriate authorities and support networks to address the issue effectively.



Traveling to Egypt offers a captivating experience filled with ancient wonders, cultural richness, and warm hospitality. While scams can be a concern in any tourist destination, being aware of the scam culture in Egypt and taking necessary precautions can help you navigate through the country safely. By familiarizing yourself with common scams, securing your belongings and personal information, staying vigilant during transportation, exchanging money wisely, dealing with street vendors cautiously, and avoiding tourist traps, you can minimize the risks and make the most of your trip.


Remember to research and plan ahead, trust your instincts, and stay informed about the latest scams. Be mindful of your surroundings, assertive in your interactions with vendors, and take steps to protect your credit card and ATM transactions. In case of encountering a scam, promptly report the incident to the authorities, notify your embassy or consulate, and seek assistance from relevant tourist assistance hotlines. Sharing your experiences can also help fellow travelers stay vigilant and avoid potential scams.


By adopting these tips and maintaining a cautious yet open-minded approach, you can navigate through Egypt confidently and enjoy a safe and memorable journey. Embrace the awe-inspiring wonders of this ancient land while forging meaningful connections with the friendly Egyptian people who are eager to share their culture and history with you.


Traveling is about exploration, learning, and immersing oneself in new experiences. By staying informed and taking precautions, you can confidently embark on your Egyptian adventure, creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime.