Is there anyway to tell scam taxis in SVO airport, Moscow without pre-booking? I can't pre-book due to the fact I can't use my phone abroad (receiving SMS messages/calls which is required to book a taxi online). Is there an official taxi desk?
To avoid any trouble with taxis, you can use the Aeroexpress train.
It will get you to the city centre for ~8$ (500 RUB). You can use wireless payment options at the automatic gates: PayPass, PayWave, etc. It departs every half an hour for most of the day. The other two Moscow airports also have an Aeroexpress, with the exception of
If you plan to use taxi hailing, better pick up a local SIM with a data plan (a $5 plan would get you a month of unlimited data). Then you can use Uber/Yandex/Gett.
First of all, ignore the people that run up to you when you get out of arrivals. They can see you are not a local and will charge you 4 times the price. Never pay more than 1250 ₽ for a taxi to the Red Square.
You can order a taxi from the Yandex taxi stand (Uber equivalent), located in each terminal at the arrivals section. This is open 24/7. They may ask your phone to pre-book but often the person behind the desk can use their phone and write down the registration for you.
Some more information can be viewed on the airport website here.
Travelling without smartphone is nuts, seriously. Fortunately Russian operators (well, at least Beeline, not sure about others) have packages that are charged _per_day_, not per month, have quite good Internet plans, and can be disabled/enabled through Internet. So my suggestion is to get local number in official operator booth at Airport (NOT an "all-in-one" re-seller booths near exit gates, which charge extra!), charge it with small amount (you can ask to lower the amount they offer by default), then disable it through website on day you're leaving the country, so you're not charged for following days, and re-enable it when you come back to Russia. So far, I've seen so good package offers only in Russia.
As for taxi: Yandex, Gett, Bolt, whatever works through Internet. Uber got merged into Yandex in Russia.
Yes, there are official taxi desks in Moscow airports. Here you can see what they look like:
This photo was taken at Sheremetyevo 2 years ago.
But Moscow is not the world's best place for "offline" people. I'd recommend to buy a local phone with internet as soon as possible. It would be very difficult to plan any trips or buy any tickets without internet.
You can use Wifi in the airport to request Uber or Yandex taxi