Bag snatching is a common crime in Malaysia, travellers should be especially careful in busy areas such as Johor Bahru. If a motorbike drives past you and attempts to grab your bag - let them have it. Many travellers have been injured and killed when bags have been held on to or wrapped around bodies while being dragged under motorbikes.
By only carrying small amounts of money and keeping your passport in your hotel safe or hostel reception, losing a bag shouldn't be such a devastating thing.
Credit cards are a popular method for travelers to pay for things. However, credit card fraud is common throughout Malaysia, affecting small businesses right up to major hotels and retailers. Always keep your card in sight when paying for services or goods and always get a transaction receipt. Try to sort your accommodation before traveling and keep cash on you for small payments.
Unfortunately, ATM fraud is also common in Malaysia so travelers need to take precautions when using ATM machines. Try and avoid using ATM's on the street, particularly at night. Instead, opt to use an ATM inside a bank or hotel. Always get a receipt of your last balance and keep a track of your purchases. This also applies to credit card transactions. Don't forget to tell your bank when you are traveling to/from so you don't get cut off from your funds and you can also keep a track of things particuarly when you get home should suspicious transactions appear in your account.
Crooks in Malaysia aren't that original. Travellers should be able to smell a scam a mile away. A good rule of thumb, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
There is a very common and standard card game scam played on tourists in Malaysia. The tourist will be shown a foolproof system to win a game of blackjack or poker after being invited to a locals house for dinner.
Once the traveller is continuously "winning" under the hosts guidance, a rich friend of the host just happens to show up. (Sense where this is heading?)
Once the rich guy loses a few hands, the traveller increases the bet, even making confident trips to the ATM until the host and his mates uncover their foolproof win system, resulting in one poor traveller.
It's surprising travellers fall for this old trick, but locals are smooth talkers so take any games played as a bit of holiday fun only.
Take care of your personal belongings and leave any valuables in your accommodation if they provide a safe either in your room or at reception. A scan of your passport kept on your phone or in your email is a good idea, no matter where you are travelling.
Also, take a minute to remember some basic advice:
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Go beyond peninsular Malaysia to explore the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo.