Vacations are all about fun, frolic, food, excitement and new places. It is difficult to think of your holidays going wrong especially when you have made all the preparations. However, there is one thing you need to look out for and that is: the local con artists who are polished in their talent of tricking you and then doing something that no one wants should happen to anyone, especially on a vacation.

Here is a story that will tell you just how badly things can go wrong if you let your guard down even once.

A 36 year old Portuguese artist, Simões decided to sell all that he owned and go on a world tour in which he would visit five continents in five years. He has been sketching people and places for a long time all across the world. He intends to compile all his drawings during the course of his travel in a book.

For a person who had traveled 36 countries and met people hailing from different cultures, sketching some of them, it was very easy for Simões to bond over with strangers and get to know about the local culture.

For this very reason, on his visit to Manila, Philippines in December 2015 he met two middle aged women at the Manila Cathedral. They were locals and given their age and their behavior, no one could ever doubt them.

They invited Simões to accompany them on their tour to which he happily agreed. They later invited him to go to 199 Bar and Restaurant in Pasay City. According to Simões, “I felt there was sympathy and a good vibe”.

A man, claiming to be the ladies’ cousin, joined him. The four of them had a lot of fun singing songs and taking pictures. He didn’t pay attention to how the man was continuously filling Simões’ glass with beer. In an hour, he was completely drunk. The three suspects paid 700 pesos and left along with Simões.

Outside the bar was a van. Simões was taken inside it on the pretext of going for dinner. There was another man and woman inside who said they were the ladies’ “visiting relatives”. The group gave him food and drinks till he started feeling sleepy. He was inquired about where he was staying and unfortunately, before he blacked out he told them.

The next day Simões woke up with a hangover at a lodge in Makati. He discovered that all his valuables including his debit card were gone. The sketch he had made for one of the ladies was also taken away. The cons had tried their best to delete all the photographs he had taken during his tour but fortunately he was able to discover one selfie.

Though he got the card blocked, the Ativan Gang was successful in robbing him of 40,000 pesos. There are many other tourists who have fallen prey to the Ativan Gang and there is no sign whatsoever of the gang being caught. There was no telling how a wonderful trip turned out to be an unfortunate experience for Simões who will never be able to trust anyone again.

It is important for you to pay attention to little details and though meeting with and mingling with strangers is good to an extent you must never extend your interaction beyond a certain point.

You must also be careful about not divulging even the smallest of details related to you when traveling. The world is full of strange people, you never know what might happen.