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Fraud in Tunisia - Common demands for money - Friends in Tunisia

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to tourists, big and small, is widespread in the touristic areas of Tunisia and has a wide variety of expressions.

It begins, in many cases, when an hotel employee talks to a tourist and makes any "special" offers or recommends to buy something with a friend or a family member.
All of these offers are overpriced, and will serve not only the "friend", but also the the intermediary, who pulls 30 percent or more "referral fee" from this deal.

If someone is not working in an hotel, he will often resort to this trick: on the road, he will talk to tourists and tell them that he is an employee of their hotel ("You don't know me? I'm your waiter at the hotel"). Often he even names the hotel correctly - because he can easily detect the hotel name by the "all inclusive" wristbands that most tourists wear.

After a short time of conversation, offers will follow to sell or buy something - or to spend some time together or sit down for a cafe (and then his offers / demands come later or in one of the next days).

Often, help is sought from tourists, because a family member, often the father, mother or child is supposedly ill, or a (sometimes urgent) hospital treatment is needed.
You need to, if you were to help in such a case, insist on visiting the "ill" person personally, and pay invoices always in person at the hospital or the pharmacy (and do ask about the medical history!).

Almost all physicians and pharmacist speak English, some German and all of them French.

Please note that beggars in Tunisia need to show an official permit - in most cases, they won't have one, though.
Furthermore, children beggars are often controlled by organized beggar gangs who rent them from their families for their "work".
It is, therefore, best to ignore all begging attempts and to prvent buying goods from persons who obviously appear as "poor beggars".

Sometimes, a tourist will be asked for a sum of money to borrow, always with the promise that this will soon be returned or sent.
Here applies a simple rule without exception: money, no matter how much, once given out of your hand, is lost - it will never be returned!

If you hand over money, no matter for what claim, consider it always a gift - if you are not comfortable with that, don't give money at all!

There are significant parts of the economy of Tunisia basing on such fraud or "tricks" - and they are brought to an even higher (more expensive) level with real estate, business "opportunities" and, especially, with "love" relations.

In short: Never ever give any money to someone who is looking for help from you!
No matter the story, it is almost always a lie!

If you were to invest, do business or engage in personal relationships in Tunisia, make always sure that you are well-informed ahead of time! There are a lot of forums about Tunisia where you can get second opinions ... use them, or you will loose your money, no exceptions!

The topic of "Friends" is as delicate and controversial as the topic of "Relationships" because "Bezness" extends not only to close relationships, but, to an even greater extent, as well to friendships.

The probability that one finds, after a short time or a few days holiday, a truly reliable and probably even selfless caring person, is, in short, next to nothing.

Almost always there will turn up, sooner or later, the profit interest of the "friend" - which is, unlike as in relationships, emotionless and purely addressed to financial benefits.

There are, indeed, people in Tunisia, who turn out to be honest and good friends - but to meet one of those accidentally on the streets or in an hotel environment as a tourist, is as probable as obtaining a main strike in a lottery!

A "normal" tourist without detailed knowledge of the country or the culture should never surrender to the illusion that this happens to him!

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