Beware of New Tourist Scam

May 18th, 2007, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Gina 07 -

See - I just don;t get this. You don;t know this guy. And even if you want to be "nice" and give directions - as soon the drivers says anything more than Thanks - you should just walk away.

Why get all involved with some person you don;t know, who may be a scammer, or who may be a lunatic ? And who certainly has no claim on your time and attention.

Again - "nice" isn;t required - and can just cause you problems.
nytraveler is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 05:20 PM
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We just returned from Paris and had a couple of women asking us if we spoke English. The first time my husband started to answer her when I pulled him away. I explained to him that it was probably a scam artist or someone asking for money. The second time my husband and I answered the women in unison "nein" and kept on walking. For the most part I guess if you just don't make eye contact and ignore them you'll be okay. Never had any problems with pickpockets while we were there either. But we may just have been lucky or just well prepared.
normal1983 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 05:35 PM
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I can only say that you are absolutely right.

I guess, we were too naive then, he was a very good actor, and we absolutely did not expect anything like that. We expected pickpockets because a couple of years earlier some gypsies tried to steal my husband's wallet in Barcelona and, luckily, did not succeed but nothing more sophisticated. The good thing is that, in the end, he did not succeed either, and we learned our lesson.

I totally agree that these people should be simply ignored, as rude as it may seem.
Gina_07 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 05:42 PM
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I think people are more prone to engaging with strangers in an effort not to be rude, when they're not used to getting approached by weirdos at home. Thus, they are more prone to these sorts of scams.

A good example of this is shown in the Borat movie- people in rural areas and small towns will actually stop and listen to his babbling, and try to interact with him. But when he pulls his shtick in New York, he nearly gets his lights punched out.

When you're dealing with freaks on a daily basis, it's second nature to deflect and ignore some kid dropping a ring and asking if it's yours, or wackos babbling about coats and working with Valentino.

Apres_Londee is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 06:24 PM
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I just shrug my shoulders and reply to them in Latvian. Never had a huckster yet who spoke Latvian and by the time they come up with another idea to communicate, I'm gone.
Dottee is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 06:36 PM
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Years ago, I went To Provence alone and in Avignon, I saw a dog sitting on what looked like an organ with a small denim jacket around his shoulders. I snapped his picture, and thn suddenly this young gypsy women came screaming at me and demanded payment, I gave her what amounted to a few pennies that she threw back at me as I walked away. Had she been pleasant I would have given her some francs. I was surprised later to see her photo in a travel book with that dog.
cigalechanta is online now  
May 18th, 2007, 08:19 PM
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I was concerned about the chairman of our company going to Europe. He is 80 years old and a little forgetful. I told him to be careful over there. He proceeds to tell me a story about when he was in the lobby of The Four Seasons Hotel in Budapest, I think, and a man asked him if could exchange foreign currency for American dollars. He said yes and after the man left he discovered the money had been folded several times to look like there was more bills than there were. A few days later he was in the lobby and the same man approached him but did not recognize him because he was wearing a baseball cap. He again asked to exchange currrency. My boss said yes but he had to go to the bathroom real quick. He went into the restroom, folded his money several times and came out and completed his transaction with the con artist. He then told his wife they needed to leave right away before the guy came back. He figures he made $20 profit.
LindaL is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 03:37 AM
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Lindal, you're suggesting that a con artist who makes his living by passing off folded money was able to be taken by an amateur folding his money?
Sorry, but I'd suspect your chairman has made up that story. It takes incredible skill to get away with such a thing -- and is totally unbelievable that it wouldn't be recognized by a con man who does it for a living.
NeoPatrick is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 04:59 AM
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Not necessarily, Patrick. The con artist wouldn'e expect the mark to pull the same stunt plus he'd be in a hurry to get away.
Carrybean is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 06:49 AM
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Nope, my chairman is Y.A. Tittle. He definitely would not make up that story. It's hard to con a boy from East Texas!!
LindaL is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 07:20 AM
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Then he was the luckiest guy in Paris that day. Just take a bunch of bills and fold them in half so half are fronts and half are backs and see if you can hold them in such a way that would fool anyone that they are all single bills. This takes a real skill and a sleight of hand ARTIST to pull off. He was indeed lucky to find a con man -- maybe his first day on the job? -- who could fall for that, unless your CEO also dabbles in sleight of hand artistry.

NeoPatrick is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 07:20 AM
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<<We just returned from Paris and had a couple of women asking us if we spoke English. The first time my husband started to answer her when I pulled him away. I explained to him that it was probably a scam artist or someone asking for money.>>

This happened to me three times in Paris and each time the people were asking for directions. Once to Notre Dame, another to the Luxembourg Gardens and the third to the nearest metro station. I gave the directions, they said "thank you" and moved on -- no mention of money. If there had been, I would have said "NO" and walked away.

In Prague a nice-looking, polite man approached me and began a conversation-- talked about the U.S. how I liked Prague etc. then almost whispered that he wanted to exchange money for U.S. dollars. I told him I didn't have any; he asked again and I repeated that I didn't have any and he disappeared into the crowd in a flash.
Luisah is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 07:37 AM
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From the appearance of these people who approached us they were not looking for directions. They were simply looking for money.
normal1983 is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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Normal1983, this happened to us also. We returned this morning from Paris. Near Printemps a girl asked me if I speak English, and after two minutes i saw her asking a man if he speak Russian!

Regarding the 'gold' ring, near Alexander III Bridge, at least six persons tried to show ua a ring that they just founded! I knew from this forum about this trick, and also it was very clear what they want, so they did not have any chance with us.

Later this week , I hope to have some time to write here a short report about our beautiful trip.
valtor is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 10:43 AM
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LindaL: The pro quarterback Y. A. Tittle? How cool is that! He's a legend.

Being from a family of 49er fans, I grew up hearing about him, but he had moved on before I was old enough to go to the games.

Thanks for sharing.
Trophywife007 is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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I failed to complete my thought that your boss was the "luckiest guy in Paris" that day. So let's say this con man who hangs out at that location ripping people off approached your boss the second day and your boss agreed to exchange money. As you said the guy would be in a hurry to get away, yet he agreed to stand outside a restroom and wait for your boss to go. Any other con-man with an IQ over 50 would have run when that happened. Surely he would suspect the guy was on to him and could be calling the police. Any guy who makes a living pulling that scam knows that there are thousands of people aware of the scam and at the first suspicious behavior -- like saying "sure, wait right here and I'll be right back and exchange money with you" -- he would bolted like greased lightening. As I said your boss was very lucky that he got the dumbest con-man in Paris.

Meanwhile I hesitate to comment on the intelligence of your boss to begin with. Anyone who would agree to exchange currency with a total stranger on a Paris street will not win any "intelligence" awards. In addition to the logical con games, the likelihood of getting conterfeit money is extremely high. While I can understand a little bit how someone could be suckered into that ring scam, I can't imagine anyone who has traveled anywhere falling for exchanging currency with a stranger on the street.
NeoPatrick is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 02:22 PM
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I understand your point, Patrick, but if you think about it, generally older persons appear more trustworthy, plus it would be logical for him to go to the toilet to get cash from his money belt.

Don't robbers generally assume that older people make better targets? There's a reason that the elderly are more likely to be victims of scams and given his previous, easy success the thief may have been lulled into a false sense of security.

I do agree that out-conning a con is a pretty difficult thing to accomplish, but I'm rooting for the older gent.
Trophywife007 is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 02:46 PM
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Just because he is a successful con artist doesn't mean he is smart. We had a con man at our store (didn't fool my clerk - I was standing next to her enjoying her foiling his scam). We reported it to the police and the next day when an officer was out taking our statement, the same con man walked by our store and entered the store next door to try the same scam!
bigtyke is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 03:17 PM
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This one didn't happen in Europe, but in Buenos Aires. Not proud of it, but it could happen anywhere.

Arrived late on a Saturday night. No currency exchange open (before ATMs). Had enough Argentinian cash to get us to the hotel, but did not have enough money on Sunday morning. Left the hotel, wondering where to change money, when a nice chap asked us if we had dollars to change to Pesos. He named a favorable rate, so I said sure.

He asked how much, and I said $200. "Come into the subway so we can make the deal", he said. "I'll have to get that much money from a friend down there".

"No way", I responded, "I'll come down to the first landing and my wife will watch us from the street".

He went off to get the money, and soon returned with the bills folded and wrapped with several rubber bands. He proceeded to count the large denonmination bills into my hand. All was correct. He took the bills back, folded them and started to put the rubber bands back on the thick bundle as I pulled out my money.

At that moment a chap came down the steps, saw what we were doing and started shouting in Spanish, as he passed us, that what we were doing was illegal, and he should call the police. I glanced at him as he said this.

The first guy handed me the neat pack of bills in their rubber bands, and I handed him my $200.

I walked back up to he street and my wife and I hailed a cab. No sooner than I got seated, I had a terrible thought. You guessed it; I had been scammed!

I pulled out that pack of Pesos, tore off the rubber bands and sure enough, only the outer bill of the package was a large denomination bill; all of the others in the middle were one Peso bills. He had switched the bundle when his confederate caused me to glance away.

We told our story to the cab driver, who immediately swung around to try to find the guy -- who of course was long gone.

I felt like such an absolute fool. Could have ruined a great vacation (and probably a marriage) if my DW had given me a hard time about it.

She's a smart one, she is!

nukesafe is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 05:24 PM
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Linda, I'm convinced that your boss made up that story for the same reasons than NeoPatrick but also for the reason that your con artist would have never been allowed in the lobby of a Four Seasons hotel or any other place of that category.

Lobby of the Budapest Four Seasons hotel:
Askar is offline  

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