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SeaUrchin Oct 13th, 2006 09:28 AM

The "Gold Ring" Scam
Here is a scam I encountered in Paris.

My friend and I were strolling along having a conversation and a nice looking, well dressed woman was approaching us. I didn't pay much attention until she swooped down and picked up something from the sidewalk and said "lucky me, I just found this gold ring!" She held it out to show us, a sizeable gold band. I said "yes it is your lucky day" and thought, darn, why didn't I see it first!!

Then I got suspicious, duh, when she said "do you want it?" Hmmmmm. We both said "no, you keep it" and kept walking. In the back of my mind I thought some scam was in the works but we didn't really think it over until lunchtime.

Later on, Barb met up with us and said a man had approached her with a "found" gold ring and put it on her finger and then wanted money for it.

Sooo moral of the story, don't be gullible!!

Cimbrone Oct 13th, 2006 09:30 AM

Who would actually be compelled to pay? I don't see such a scam working very well.

Christina Oct 13th, 2006 09:30 AM

I agree with that. I would also not engage conversation with strangers on the street as much as you even did. I never would have even spoken to her or stopped to chat.

SeaUrchin Oct 13th, 2006 09:32 AM

You are both right! I agree, it was dumb of us to even speak to her.

kerouac Oct 13th, 2006 09:34 AM

Since I live in Paris, I just tell them "good for you!" when they find one.

missypie Oct 13th, 2006 09:36 AM

So what do they do when you won't give them money for the ring? Call the cops? Chase you?

SeaUrchin Oct 13th, 2006 09:36 AM

Oh I didn't mention, she walked past us when she spoke so we had to turn to talk to her, so an accomplice must have been there waiting to grab our purse, or if we really would have been stupid, to wait until we opened a purse to give her some cash for the ring.

And she spoke English to us so we must have been scoped out beforehand too.

nytraveler Oct 13th, 2006 09:40 AM

Another scam as old as the hills. Sometimes they do it with jewlery or with a bag or wallet with cash in it.

As with any other scam - just ignore the person and keep going - briskly. Simply don;t speak to strangers about anything like this - and you can;t be scammed - or distracted. (And this one too is very common in the US.)

You need to develop the "I don't see you" stare - just keep walking and pretend the person doesn;t exist.

steviegene Oct 13th, 2006 09:43 AM

Reminds me of another "scam" in Paris we encountered while there.
While walking with my husband at the Eiffel Tower a nicely-dressed man walked up to me very quickly, with a big smile and handed me a rose. Why I took it I dont' know-maybe it was the romance of the moment. Anyway, after nicely giving me the rose - he turned to my husband with a scowl and forcibly held out his hand. When I protested and tried to hand the rose back, he refused. He continued to demand money - while smiling sweetly at me and then scowling angrily at my husband. After arguing with him for a few minutes, I finally just threw the rose on the ground.
This sounds like a stupid trick. But honestly I think the romantic setting would make a lot of men feel pressured into just buying the flower.

Nina66 Oct 13th, 2006 09:45 AM

SeaUrchin, without realizing it, you did the right thing. Lucky you. It's hard not to talk to someone on the street, especially since she was well dressed and you saw the ring being 'found'. I'll bet the majority of us, myself included, would have had the same conversation with her.

I think I read something here a while back about a found bracelet, maybe in Rome at the train station. He slipped it on the wrist of his 'mark' and then demanded money, apparently getting quite nasty.

Thanks for the info, now I know to keep walking if this happens to me.


FainaAgain Oct 13th, 2006 09:59 AM

I know somebody who bought a "gold" chain this way. Turned out, a link with the stamp was attached to a non-valuable chain. I say, the buyer deserved it.

DianeL Oct 13th, 2006 10:02 AM

Sea Urchin - The exact same thing happened to my husband and me 2 weeks ago in Paris. When she offered us the ring we also said no, then she asked if we could give her money for food. My husband gave her one euro and she said "is that all" at that point we told her to get lost!! Wow did we feel stupid after that. Oh well, live and learn.

Margaretlb Oct 13th, 2006 10:02 AM

That "gold ring" scam was tried on DH and I in April in front of Acadamie Francais. The scammer claimed that she didn't wear jewelry for religious reasons. DH looked at her, laughed and said, "oh, I guess that why you have piecrced ears". She scrammed real quick!

SeaUrchin Oct 13th, 2006 10:15 AM

Well, it is easy to get caught up in the moment of being in a beautiful city, having a wonderful time and we may become marks if we aren't vigilant. Yes these scams are as old as the hills but it is good to be reminded now and then.

Lostmymind Oct 13th, 2006 11:26 AM

This may sound weird but it works for me, when someone stops to talk to me i always take a step to the side and so i can see if there is someone coming up behind me. It keeps me on my toes and throws the person stopping me off.

FainaAgain Oct 13th, 2006 11:40 AM

My husband has a habit, when someone starts talking to him, or somebody's approaching him in the street, he puts his hand in a pocket. This may send a signal! Like, what if he has a knife in the pocket.

cageym Oct 13th, 2006 11:45 AM

A variant: While approaching the Pont de la Concorde a week ago, I found a large gold ring (clearly a man's ring)just sitting on the northwest pediment of the bridge. There was no one around and it was cold and rainy. Had no idea why this ring was there. It was marked 18k, but nothing more. We wondered whether someone left it there to signify the end of a relationship or something like that. But maybe it was just leftover from one of these scams? I felt quite bewildered by it.

cls2paris Oct 13th, 2006 12:20 PM

This made me think of something that happened to me in September, did I successfully walk away from a potential scam?

I was walking with my friend and a woman approached us and asked if we were Americans. We stopped and said yes. She started telling us that she was an American who came to France and has not been able to get a job, blah, blah, blah and now she needs to pay her hotel bill and could we spare any money for a fellow American. I told her I had no cash on me. My friend made a move towards her money and I pulled her arm and said we had to leave. So, she got nothing from us but I always wondered if that was one of the many scams people encounter.

My reaction when she started talking was to mention that it was really poor planning on her part to not secure a job before moving... Well, that was my second reaction, the first was to walk away but my friend was talking to her. After we left the woman, I told my friend that we should not stop and talk to people and never to give money.

Cimbrone Oct 13th, 2006 12:27 PM

cls2paris--that's a common one. The same thing happened to me in Costa Rica (and to someone else who posts here--I think it may have been the same guy!)

Trophywife007 Oct 13th, 2006 12:31 PM

cls2paris: If her story were true... not only was it bad planning on her part, but to my knowledge, illegal. From my personal experience, one must have a permit to work in a foreign country and cannot simply arrive as a tourist and get a job.

I do believe you avoided being scammed... good for you!

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