How to Avoid Getting Scammed by a Taxi Driver

I hate being blatantly ripped off. I absolutely hate it. While traveling a few blocks in Costa Rica around San Jose via taxi, a ride I’ve done many times before, my driver’s meter “suddenly stopped working.” He charged me over 10x what I knew the price was and refused to give me my luggage unless I paid him.

I was alone and very naive about being scammed by people — so I wrote this guide as a joke to help you avoid being ripped off as well. I think there are some fine points in it though :) I have only been scammed once but it was while I was alone and traveling at night. It’s always good to be on the lookout for sketchers.

Never get in a taxi that has a broken meter, or if you haven’t set a price beforehand.

Step 1:  Take note of the license plate number or cab number. Dial the number into the phone. Now he knows that his information is merely a text away from being sent out to anybody. He also knows I have a phone to call the police if necessary (my phone was not even working at the time, I used it as a clock. It still makes for a good smokescreen though.)

Step 2: Claim “no hablo Espanol” so that if he talks of his plans to con me to anyone on the phone, or to the lady of the night he has just picked up and put in the front seat, I can eavesdrop and plot to escape.

Step 3:* Keep the machete enclosed in its case on your lap. It doesn’t matter if the taxi driver sees, it will still be sharp either way.

*I had purchased a custom made machete for my boyfriend at the time as a souvenir. This step may be a little too… hmm, psychotic, to actually implement.

What’s that? Your meter is broken?

Step 4: Once we arrive to the hostel, appear feeble to force him to help carry luggage into the building. (I was traveling with two surfboards and a backpack). Now I have my luggage and witnesses if the sketcher tries anything. Now I also have a reason to tip well if he turns out to be a friendly neighborhood taxi driver.

Step 5: If further aggression, scream bloody murder whilst pulling out machete.

Step 6: Delete your web history if stabbing ensues. Fool proof.

Photo source

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