I love Morocco, I really do. But for every 99 of the warm, hospitable and downright helpful Moroccans I meet, there’s one (sometimes two) that tries to scam me or my fellow travellers.

And it’s not like I haven’t been around the world a bit.

I’ve travelled through the Sub Continent, China, South East Asia, Europe and beyond, and so I’m no stranger to the swindle.

But these Moroccan scammers are something else. They’re on a new level, and actually pretty clever in how they’re able to fleece unsuspecting tourists out of their money.

But as they say, knowledge is power, and so with the intention of helping my fellow travellers hold onto as much of their money as possible whilst travelling through this exotic land, here are two scams you should be aware of in Morocco.


1. There are no nice guys (only fleecers)


Beware the friendly local smiling ear to ear that approaches you on the street to strike up a convo, because pleasant conversation isn’t the only thing they want. Nah. What they actually want is your money, and they don’t mind delaying the inevitable demand until they’ve well and truly reeled you in.

Us Aussies are a pretty friendly bunch, and if a stranger strikes up a conversation with us on the street, we’re at least going to give them some kind of a response. But responding to a random dude on the streets in Morocco isn’t going to end well for you. The best ones will use your politeness to respond to reel you into their web with seemingly genuine interest into you and your life.

But make no mistake about it – sooner or later – you’ll be either guilt tripped into handing over your money (some scammers are really nice, and you do want to actually help them out by buying some of their stuff), or worse, compelled – even physically threatened – into handing over your dirhams.

What to do? Ignore everyone that approaches you on the street.

Sure, it’s feels rude, and you’ll miss out on meeting one or two genuine locals, but it’s the only way to protect yourself.


2. Beware the tourist menu


Recently I spent a couple of days in the Sahara on an organised tour. Breakfasts and dinners were included in the package (as were riding camels into the sunset and visiting kasbahs that looked like sandcastles – so cool!), which left lunch the only meal of the day that we had to buy for ourselves.

Which would be fair enough if we got to choose where we ate. But no, we were taken to particular restaurants and directed to certain segments of that restaurant – away from the locals – to have our meal.

Cue: Alarm bells!

It didn’t feel right from the start, and call it traveller’s intuition, something didn’t seem right. And indeed, turns out that this special section of the restaurant also comes with special prices – special as in double the price on the regular menu.

After speaking with some other travellers since the tour, I’ve learned that it wasn’t uncommon for restaurants in touristy parts of Morocco to have two different menus: one for locals, the other for tourists.

Again, as a relatively seasoned traveller, I’m used to paying tourist prices for taxi rides, anything I’d buy in a shop, tourist attractions and so on. But in a restaurant? That was a new one for me!

So be careful guys. Arm yourself with this knowledge, and you’ll be able to spar with some of the best scammers in the world.

Have you ever been scammed in Morocco?