Albania is a very interesting and welcoming country with decent honest people - mostly - however there are a few common scamming methods you should be aware of to avoid being ripped off. You will come across beggars or gypsies in your travels, it pays to ignore them.
Tourists have reported being overcharged a lot for foreign beers especially when costs for food and drink in Albania are generally low (except for some parts of the riviera and the capital) You may be asked to buy a drink for the bar owner or waitress of which you will get charged a premium. Don't do it.
Welcome to Albania, would you like to be rich? Well, who wouldn't, but watch out! It's very common for people to approach visitors and ask them to buy a lottery ticket which could be worth thousands of euros. The draw is usually in the next two to three days and wouldn't that be a great way to end your holiday? You'll get approached on the street or in places like bus stations.
Unfortunately the lotto tickets are fraudulent and the only winner is the scammer.
Although illegal the pyramid or Ponzi scheme is a popular way of making money. It's an oldie but a goodie!
A visitor will be approached and given a story of how someone accumulated vast wealth by investing a small sum of money. Your money is given to the person at the top of the pyramid, and eventually you'll be promoted to the top and have your turn to reap the benefits.
Invariably the only winners here are the early investors, usually the scammers, and everyone else leaves with nothing. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true then it usually is.
Online dating agencies are very popular and Albania isn't the only country with this issue. However if you're looking for love, don't be lured into giving money for airline tickets, sick relatives and other plausible, but fake, reasons.
Some of these love scammers will build up the online relationship for months before asking for money. You should always be wary of people being especially keen to come and visit you, and requests for money, usually cash, as these are typical moves by these heart and money thieves.
Work Experience Scam
Many students and gap year travellers like to earn money while making their way around the world and find jobs in interesting places.
Unfortunately there have been reports of some Albanian agencies not being quite what they seem and potential employees have found themselves without a placement despite parting with a hefty agency fee.
Check the bona fides of any agency as best you can. Ask them for details of past employees and contact them yourself. Legitimate agencies will be happy to hand over details.
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is common in Albania and visitors should exercise caution by not letting the card out of their sight when making a transaction.
Visitors need to be very careful at ATM machines. Be alert for strangers looking over their shoulders at the PIN number and also for any interference with the machine itself that could indicate a camera or scamming machine inside the ATM.
The upshot is that these scams are unlikely to happen to you, but it pays to be prepared. Albania has its petty crime but no more than a big city would elsewhere. You're more likely to need to watch your step with the unkept footpaths than to end up being scammed.