Expats need to be aware of a) their vulnerability and b) the fact that there are those out there who will seek to exploit it. It is only in this way that anyone can prepare themselves and protect themselves. However, there is a fine line between being aware and being closed to all genuine offers of help and support!
Fortunately, thanks to the Internet there are now communities of expatriates out there with whom you can interact and seek advice in a purely virtual space, (i.e., online), and you can then take your time in testing out the contacts you make before you ever agree to meet up for example.
What’s more, thanks to the likes of InterNations.org for example, there are expat social events organised where you can go and listen, learn and slowly get involved when you feel comfortable.
These forums and events, social networks and safe places for expats give newly arrived immigrants the information they need to integrate into their new nation more smoothly – thus removing a lot of the vulnerability that comes with ignorance of ‘how things work’ in a new country.
As soon as any expat feels more confident about the lay of the land in their new nation, the sooner they’re free of their vulnerability. It is really only in the very early days that things can go so spectacularly wrong as described above – because once you’ve lived abroad in your new country and got to grips with it over a few months, you will no longer be likely to fall victim to those seeking out soft targets.
All expats are therefore encouraged to tread vary warily in their first few months abroad, and to ensure they have a wide social network. This can be achieved by going to different events in different communities, different pubs, different sports clubs and by doing more than just speaking to close neighbours or the first people you meet on a night out.