Buenos Aires is full of scams to the unsuspecting tourist. I’ve read most of the common scams on the internet. I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina for three nights and four days and did not experience all the scams that I read on the internet, but I will write down the most common ones and the scams that I did encounter.
Introduction to Mexico City, Lima, and Buenos Aires
LAX Airport Alaska Airlines Board Room
Alaska Airlines LAX-MEX 737-800 First Class
The Sights and Sounds of Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City
MEX Airport Aeromexico Salon Premier International T2 Lounge
LAN Airlines MEX-LIM 767-300 Economy Class
Ramada Costa del Sol Lima Airport Hotel Review Part 1
Ramada Costa del Sol Lima Airport Hotel Review Part 2
Lima International Airport SUMAQ VIP Lounge
Lima International Airport VIP Club Lounge
LAN Airlines LIM-EZE 767-300 Business Class
Sheraton Buenos Aires and Convention Center Hotel Review Part 1
Sheraton Buenos Aires and Convention Center Hotel Review Part 2
Sheraton Buenos Aires and Convention Center Hotel Review Part 3
Sheraton Libertador Buenos Aires Hotel Review Part 1
Sheraton Libertador Buenos Aires Hotel Review Part 2
The Sights and Sounds of Retiro in Buenos Aires
The Sights and Sounds of Microcentro in Buenos Aires
The Sights and Sounds of Recoleta in Buenos Aires
The Sights and Sounds of Palermo Norte in Buenos Aires
The Sights and Sounds of Palermo Soho in Buenos Aires
The Sights and Sounds of Belgrano in Buenos Aires
The Sights and Sounds of Monserrat in Buenos Aires
The Sights and Sounds of San Telmo in Buenos Aires
The Sights and Sounds of La Boca in Buenos Aires
The Sights and Sounds of Caminito La Boca in Buenos Aires
The Sights and Sounds of Balvanera in Buenos Aires
Is Buenos Aires Argentina Safe For Tourists?
Scam City: Buenos Aires Argentina Edition
The Various Eats in Buenos Aires Argentina
Buenos Aires EZE Airport LAN Oneworld Lounge
Buenos Aires EZE Airport Star Alliance Lounge
Buenos Aires EZE Airport American Express Centurion Lounge
JW Marriott Mexico City Hotel Review
The Sights and Sounds of Polanco in Mexico City
The Sights and Sounds of Arena Mexico in Mexico City
The Sights and Sounds of Tepito in Mexico City
The Sights and Sounds of La Merced in Mexico City
The Sights and Sounds of Coyoacan in Mexico City
The Various Eats in Mexico City Part 3
Is Mexico City Safe for Tourists? Part 2
MEX Airport American Express Platinum Centurion Club T1 Lounge
Alaska Airlines MEX-LAX 737-800 First Class
Bird Poop Scam
There’s a famous “bird poop” scam where someone will spray you with an unknown liquid that looks like bird poop. It catches you off guard and a “bystander” happens to be nearby to help clean it with tissue. The scam is to catch you unsuspectingly and your belongings will be taken from you. I walked throughout the city all four days and did not experience this scam or see it happen.
There’s a lot of talk fake currency going on in Buenos Aires, but I did not experience any of that. On the internet there’s talk about fake currency in the black market. I went to Black Market several times and did not encounter any fake notes. I even received a receipt.
Fake Bank Note Switch during Taxi Rides
Thanks to Conor Woodman’s Scam City series episode on Buenos Aires that aired two years ago, he uncovered a taxi scammer who switched a 100 Argentine peso note for a fake note. I took a lot of taxis during my four days in Buenos Aires and did not encounter any fake note switching of 100 pesos or 50 pesos.
Here are the following scams in Buenos Aires that I did encounter during my stay:
Bad Currency Exchange Rates
At Ministro Pistarini International Airport also known as EZE (Ezezia), there are a number of bad exchange rate ratio places such as car sharing services. At Manuel Tienda Leon, there is a posted currency exchange rate of 6.76 Argentine pesos for 1 US Dollar. The official rate is 8.00 Argentine pesos and you can even do better and receive up to 13 Argentine pesos per US dollar (when it peaked in January) in the black market. Don’t get ripped off at the airport.
Servicio de Mesa Scam
There is a huge consumer versus restaurant war in Buenos Aires about charging guests for “servicio de mesa” or table service. At sit down restaurants, be prepared to pay “table service” per person and it can go as high as 30 pesos. Consumers are arguing that restaurants shouldn’t be charging for linens, tableware, and bread. This table service charge pretty much adds to the restaurant’s bottom line and it’s an easy scam to add to the bill. Even if you don’t eat the bread, you’ll still be charged. While you can’t refuse the table service, you can choose not to tip which is up to you.
I took an unauthorized street cab at 3am in Puerto Madero and it was terrible. My driver was constantly falling asleep on the wheel during red light stops. He was also speeding and running red lights. Thankfully the hotel was close by and there weren’t any cars or pedestrians during that time. I will never take hail a street cab at 3am ever again.
Another taxi scam I encountered was the headrest lifted up when I was sitting in the back seat. The head rest was blocking the meter. This could lead to the driver jacking up the meter via a turbo meter device without you seeing the meter gradually building up. What I did was sit in the middle of the back seat and made the driver aware that I was monitoring the meter.
Tango Dancing Scam
There are a lot of street tango dancers in Caminito of Barrio La Boca. They pose pictures with tourists and then ask for money. Not only are they demanding money from you, it takes two to tango and you’ll be paying double the amount. Don’t let street tango dancers come up to you for a photo op. These are scam artists preying on unsuspecting tourists.
Counterfeit Goods Scam
In Barrio Balvanera, there are a lot of fake designer goods being sold. Don’t get scammed in thinking you’re buying genuine goods as these touts claim they’re selling real Rolex watches and Prada sunglasses.