Sunday, April 27, 2014

How not to fall for Istanbul taxi scam and how to get out of it if you fall!

by Emre Ozkiper

"Best way to get out of a taxi scam is never to fall for it.

If you visit Turkey you will immediately realize that hospitality plays a starring role.You need to know that Turkish hospitality is a way of life here,not a job to do.A lot of respect to elderly people,showing much of love to the children,opening their homes to visitors no matter what time of the day or night,offering food and expecting nothing in return,offering tea and Turkish coffee (more than you need :)are some of the friendly behaviours that you will experience during a usual day in this great country.But beside all these lovely people who passionately love to serve others,there are also some others (not human) who are after your money.

This is a guide about how not to fall for a scam and how to go out of a scam if you already fell for it.

Scam Name ;Taxi Scam 

istanbul taxi scam
Istanbul Taxi
Trick 1: There are officially 18.000 taxis on the streets of Istanbul and being 
taxi driver is the easiest way to earn daily cash money if a person is uneducated (exceptions don't break the rule) or lost his/her job.Naturally they will desire to increase their income if they have the oppurtunity.

If you don't know how to reach your destination,they can easily give you extra round to increase their income.And when you notice that they are doing it,here is the excuse;there was huge traffic on the way to your hotel.

How not to fall for it? 

-Rule number 1 and most important; get the plate number!

-Take the Ataturk airport and Sabiha Gokcen airport taxis (They are called Havalimanı Taksi) to your hotel.
-You might feel exhausted after a tiring sightseeing around the Hagi Sophia & Blue Mosque Square or after visiting the Bazaars such as Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Bazaar (spice market) and you might want to take taxi to your hotel.
Or even after a very nice dance night in Taksim/Ortaköy area you might want to go back to your hotel fast with your new acquainted.If you try to take taxi around Taksim/Blue Mosque/Grand Bazaar/Eminönü square (spice market area),you are doing very wrong.
Go in to a hotel whereever you are and ask from doorman/receptionist to call you a cab.Get the plate number and make sure that the taxi driver turns on the taxi-meter.Please click for taxi fares of Istanbul in 2014.

How to get out of it once fell for it?

-Tell taxi driver to drive until the front door of your hotel and tell your doorman/receptionist that taximeter shows exaggerated numbers and they will handle the rest for you.Some taxi drivers might not listen to you and not drive until front door.In that case you must stand strong and tell that you will call the police.They might raise their voices and threat you but it's all role playing.Nobody dares to face the police because of the problem they have with a foreigner in this lovely Tourism based country.

Trick 2: Do you really think that the Houdini is the greatest magician of all the times?Wait until you see the taxi drivers of Istanbul.They can switch the note so fast with a professional hand trick,you will be suspicous of yourself.Let's say taxi costs 25 TRL (Turkish Lira) and you gave him 50 TL, he switches it with 5 TL note very fast and tells you that you gave him 5TL.Then you pay the bill again (don't be fool to give another 50 TL note).They do the same for 100 $ bill and 1 $ bill.

Find 50 TL and 5 TL notes below

istanbul taxi scams
 istanbul taxi scams

How not to fall for it? 

-Feel comfortable with money exchanging at Istanbul airports.Exchange currencies may be lower than the exchange offices in the city center but it's still better than any hotel rate (they usually have %3 commision).And you will prevent the risk of being tricked by the taxi drivers.
Try to have plenty of small notes and some coins with you(5 TL and 10 TL notes are always the best).Check the taxi meter and try to pay the exact amount.

How to get out of it once fell for it?

-It's difficult to prove it after taxi driver puts the money in his pocket.Try not to fall for it.
-Tell taxi driver to drive until the front door of your hotel and tell your doorman/receptionist what happened before you give another money to driver.They will take care of the rest.

Trick 3 : Offering fix price instead of taxi meter.

-According to the law in Istanbul,each taxi has to have taxi-meter and drivers have to turn on the meter.
If any taxi driver offers you fix price rather than turning on the meter,simply don't accept it and don't get in to the car.You can click here to find out 2014 taxi fares in Istanbul for most popular tourist destinations.

Trick 4: Day Tariff & Night Tariff

-There is no more day tariff and night tariff difference.If you see that taximeter shows "gece"(night),simply tell driver to change it or go out and take another taxi.

Trick 5: Pirate Taxi (illegal way)

-If somebody asks you to follow him for cheap taxi,most probably it's a pirate taxi.Don't fall for it.It's easy to recognize illegal ones.Most of them are not yellow.And the yellow ones don't have the plate number written on the side doors and on the ceiling of the car.I don't even need to tell you that they don't have taxi-meters in the cars.
If police stops the car,each passenger pays 232 TL according to new regulation in Istanbul.So it's not cheap taxi at all!

Actually it's very easy to reach to most of touristic sites with tram,metro bus and ferry.
You can find more information about how to use Istanbulkart and token system on that link for Public transportation in Istanbul.

So don't fall for these taxi scams and don't let these taxi drivers to give you stress and spoil your holiday.

Very Important note!!!  If you think this information is useful and it can help others,please share it on facebook  so the others can reach it on huge space of internet.And comment below will be a good motivation for me to write more helpful articles.Thanks for the supports.


  1. That almost happened to me in front of Spice Bazaar.I think this kind of places are the main stops for those a.holes.Taximeter was showing 21.2 Tl (twenty one),and the driver was like "taximeter problem,212 TL (two hundred) you pay now.I gave him 15 TL and said i can call the police if he doesn't want the Money.It worked.Thank god i read a couple of websites including bookmarkturkey.It helped.Cheers

  2. Merhaba,
    I am very glad to see your comment here.
    That happens there a lot.Nice to hear that you weren't scammed.
    Other places that you need to be careful are Blue Mosque/Hagia Sophia square and Taksim square.


  3. I can see that you’re an expert in this region. I am starting an internet site soon, and your information will be very helpful for me.. Thank you for all of your help and wishing you all the success inside your business.

    1. Thanks a lot for your nice wishes A & B Cabs.If there is anything i can do for you, please let me know and don't forget to share the link of your business here.I will gladly
      check it.Cheers