Getting ripped off
Ripped off, taken in, cheated, scammed, conned,
tricked and swindled are all words I could use to describe times I was
stupid enough to lose money by deception or by paying more than I should
The first time I remember feeling a fool because of this was when I
tried to change money on the black market.
Many years ago, I was travelling in South East Asia and at the time it
was common knowledge among backpackers that the banks charged high
commission rates and quite a bit of money could be saved by changing
currency illegally on the street.
Shady, suspicious-looking money changers could be seen hanging around
outside banks looking for gullible foreigners who wanted to save a few
I was one such traveller and I took what was probably about $300 to
change it with one of these street crooks. I asked him what rate he
offered and it was clearly more than I would get if I went inside the
bank. I agreed on the rate and the man told me to go with him to a quiet
street away from the busy main street so that we could close the deal.
I took out my $300 and he began to count the money he was going to give
me in exchange. He kept stopping to look around him to check for police
and I looked around as well. He was making me nervous.
He offered me his money, which I took, and I gave him mine. Suddenly he
whispered ‘Police! Quick, go!’. We both walked away quickly and it was
only later that I realized he had not given me enough money. Saying
‘police’ was a way to distract me and not let me count my money properly.
I suppose I deserved it for trying to change money illegally. Since that
day, I’ve always changed money in a bank, in a hotel or at an official
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