And be wary of any that seem to cater to foreigners.
Do your homework online or ask reliable locals for recommendations.
As I pointed out in the “Safety & Crime” section, they reason (correctly) that the harsh criminal penalties deter people from crime.
But there’s a considerable difference between committing an outright crime (like theft) and scamming tourists.
I imagine most are embarrassed and just write off the loss as an unrecoverable “lesson learned.” And don’t think that you’re too savvy to be fooled.
These scams can be sophisticated and continue to snare even the most experienced travelers.
The smarter con artists and scammers operate in “grey area” of the law, where the only proof against them is your word against theirs (yes, even in China, the police need proof).
In other words, many scams have a high reward-to-risk ratio.
And don’t expect anyone in the gathering crowd to come to your rescue (the first rule of the Chinese: Don’t get involved).
Especially popular in the tourist-friendly parts of Beijing (like Wangfujing shopping district and Houhai Lake nightlife district) and Shanghai (Nanjing Road shopping district and adjacent Peoples’ Park). THE SCAM: While there are variations on this theme, the basic scam goes like this: 黑车 = literally “black car”) that make a good living overcharging foreigners.
“Black” doesn’t refer to the actual color of a taxi (just that they’re unlicensed and shady). Sometimes, they’ll have a fake meter rigged to produce ridiculous rates.
So just be wary and avoid drivers who are aggressively seeking you out, and agree to a price in writing.
If you’re being ripped off, leave the agreed upon cash on in the seat and calmly walk away. This is a borderline scam that basically involves a young Chinese “artist” (or innocent looking couple) who befriends you and convinces you to look at some art that they supposedly produced.