OTTAWA — The Foreign Affairs Department is warning tourists heading to Latvia to watch out for scam artists operating in bars in the capital, Riga.

In an online travel advisory, the department says there have been reports of tourists being pressured to pay exorbitant prices for drinks.

“Some tourists have been assaulted, threatened or forced to withdraw cash from bank machines to pay the bill,” according to the advisory.

The Baltic Times Newspaper, based in Riga, recently reported that the scams were on the rise in the city’s bars and restaurants. Tourists from Finland alone have been defrauded of more than C$150,000 in total, said police.

Similar warnings and first-person accounts can be found on travel forums.

On the TravBuddy website, a male traveller posted an account of meeting a woman in downtown Riga: “She took me into this club and when I was inside I was handed a bill for around . . . US$300. I asked what it was for and the guy said so that I could live tomorrow.”