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The "Gold Ring" Scam

Old Oct 13th, 2006, 01:52 PM
  #21  
 
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DianeL. - DH is the one who gives money to strangers, well at least he used to until I put in my 2¢. In hind sight, you should have said in a very surprised voice "oh, sorry about that", asked for the one euro back and then walked away with it.

We had the Costa Rica thing happen too A young American man who had supposedly been unable to find his father when they got separated said that he had no money and was starving, blah, blah, blah, and had no idea how to connect up with his father. I must have been in a very good mood that day, because we walked him to a cafeteria a few feet behind him, and told the counter man to give him some food. The kid started ordering enough for everything in sight - that good of a mood I wasn't in. We told him to get a _much_ smaller amount, then waited until he was served and seated, and had started to eat, then we paid the cashier. About that time I was beginning feel pretty foolish thinking that he and the counterman had a scram going between them.

People like this make it so hard to be nice.

I find the best way to avoid 'these' people is not to answer them, even when they said 'do you speak Engish?" I just keep going. One guy kept following me in a mall, possibly Les Halles, years ago, asking me if I spoke, Spanish, Russian, Greek, etc.. I was alone and couldn't get rid of him, so I ducked into one of the stores and deliberately point my finger at him to the salesclerk.. he left in a hurry.


Nina
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 02:03 PM
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LoL, Nina, another day a woman approached me and by then I was leery so when she asked me in English if I spoke English, I said "no".

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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 02:09 PM
  #23  
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I remember last year in Paris, several women with long braids approaching me as I walking from the Louvre to the Champs Elysees asking if I spoke English. At first I had heard the first one asking someone else and I looked thinking maybe she needed help, but quickly got the idea that help is not what she was after.

So when another woman, who looked like she was related to the first one, asked if I spoke English, I responded in English, "No, I don't speak English at all" as I kept on walking. The next one I answered in French, saying pretty much the same thing and the next one just got a dirty look from me. If another one approached me I was ready to respond, (as I kept walking) "Do I look that stupid and gullible to you?"

What exactly was their scheme I don't know and gladly didn't find out.
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 03:49 PM
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cls2paris, your story reminded me of something that happened to my cousin and me in Paris in 1983. We had just arrived via overnight train from Switzerland and an agitated American-sounding woman came up and told us she had been robbed of her purse on the train while she slept and didn't have any money. I gave her a Metro ticket and suggested to go to the U.S. Embassy and ask them what to do. I wasn't being smartaleck - I was young and not yet cynical enough to think she might be scamming me, so I thought I was being helpful.
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 04:21 PM
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SeaUrchin & lyb ... great answer about not speaking English - you do don't you??? Or have I been reading your posts in another language and hadn't realized it?

I may be smarter than I look!

Nina
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 05:50 PM
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My husband and I were approached in Paris (September) by a woman who "bent down and picked up a gold ring." She said, "Boy, this is my lucky day!" My husband and I smiled and walked on. She came after us and said, "My religion forbids me to have jewelry. Would you like it?" I immediately said, "No, thank you." But she insisted that I keep it. So, I put it in my pocket fully intending to toss it in the nearest waste basket. I could tell it was fake. We had walked no more than 20 feet when she approached us from the rear. "Pardon me," she said. "Might you have some change for me to get a coffee?"
Of course, my husband and I just laughed and said, "No, and YOU can toss this ring in the nearest garbage container."

Do these people really make money at doing this?
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 07:12 PM
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I'd also like to add my name to the list with SeaUrchin and lyb. For the times I have been in Paris, mainly around the Eiffel Tower, these young girls have come up to me and ask if I spoke English. I would reply to them, "Nope, I sure don't!" and keep on moving. This past September when I was there, again - same song, same routine, but this time I was on my way to buy an ice cream. When I tried to order in French (so as to avoid the girl that was standing around there), the guy didn't understand, so I spoke in English. When I was walking away with my ice-cream, the girl approached me again wanting the change I'd just gotten back. I kept on walking and heard her sounding not too happy about not getting anything from me! Luckily, knock on wood, I've never been pickpocketed.
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 07:40 PM
  #28  
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Here's a slightly different scam I encountered in Paris. I was with my friend V who had a very expensive camera. A very well-dressed man approached us and reached for V's camera and said, "Let me take your picture. Go stand over there." V eagerly said OK, but I intervened and said, "No, V, do NOT hand him your camera!!" I then told the man to leave us alone.

V thought I was very rude until I explained this scam. If we had fallen for this, the man would have run off with the camera as soon as we were far enough from him. She then realized I had saved her camera.

In case you are wondering, yes, I learned this by watching Chevy Chase's "European Vacation."
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 08:23 PM
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I took pictures of a lot of people while in Italy (with their cameras). Some were hesitant at first. I wonder if some people take pictures and then demand money.

I had a man grab the end of my suitcase when I was dragging it down the steps. I kept telling him to put it down but he wouldn't. At the bottom of the steps he wouldn't put it down either so I kept walking to my track. Then he insisted on going up the next staircase as well.

At the top I'm sure you can guess what happened next. He stuck out his hand. I couldn't believe it. I actually thought he was just being considerate. I gave him one euro and he was mad. I told him he wasn't going to get a cent more and that if he didn't leave I would shove him down the stairs for being so rude. I don't know if he understood me, but he left. Good thing because I wouldn't have pushed him, but I sure felt like it.

Lisa
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 09:21 PM
  #30  
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Steviegene - I saw 'the rose stunt' being pulled on the Champs Elysees while I sat and had dinner at Laduree (had window seating).
The guy persistantly walked up to anyone coming his way who had a lady with him. Most pushed past and ignored the gesture of a rose but one lady took it out of his hand and the couple kept walking. Naturally he ran after them and demanded money - the girls shoved the rose back at him and they went on.

The other scam which I asked about some time ago was the "bracelet sellers" at the area below the funiculair leading up to the Sacre Coeur. Since then I have learned that these chaps of African descent are actually trying to engage you in a 'good luck charm' by winding the string(or whatever) around your wrist.
After performing the ritual they demand money. Absolute pests!
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 10:18 PM
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One of the "bracelet sellers" on the steps of the Sacre Coeur grabbed my hand and started winding the bracelet. I kept saying no but he wouldn't quit. Once he was done, of course he asked for money. I just took off the bracelet and shoved it at him and walked away.
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Old Oct 14th, 2006, 03:45 AM
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The gold ring caper sounds like a variation on the classic "pigeon drop" stunt, familiar to any police officer on the bunco squad. The second phase begins when the finder asks the pigeon to hold the ring (or cash or other valuable), then requests a "good faith" deposit. In the process, the ring is switched by sleight of hand and the pigeon is left holding something of no value whatever. Best ploy: ignore the finder. Often, finders work in pairs, and they can be very persuasive, even threatening.
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Old Oct 14th, 2006, 06:10 AM
  #33  
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>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.<

See "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" 1948.
That gimmick was old then.

A few other scams:

At a casino in the US a fellow came up to me and told me that he had lost all of his money and needed some cash to get home.

He offered to sell me a "solid gold and ruby" ring worth over $1000 for $100.

I suggested that he give it to the cabby to pay for his ride home.

He thanked me for the suggestion and walked away.

On a subway platform in NYC a fellow walked up to me holding out his hand with a couple of quarters in it and asked if I could help him with some change because he needed $2 to get off the subway.

I might be a hayseed from GA, but even I know that you pay to get ON, not off, the subway.

Also, don't accept anyone's offer to get a cab for you, especially if they want payment in advance - even of they are wearing a badge that says "dispatcher".

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Old Oct 14th, 2006, 09:07 AM
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Those African guys at Sacre Coeur really don't want to take "no" for an answer, either. I must have told them, "Leave me alone" in three languages.
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Old Oct 14th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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I'm glad you have shared your experiences. We have not encountered any of this but we will be prepared if we do on our next trip.
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Old Oct 14th, 2006, 10:21 AM
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Off topic, but I second Ira's suggestion... "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" is a GREAT rental.

"Badges?... We don't need no stinkin badges!"
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Old Oct 14th, 2006, 11:01 AM
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SeaUrchin,I had the exact same scam pulled on me about a year and a half ago on the rue de Rivoli near the Palais Royal. It took about two or three minutes to get her off my back.
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Old Oct 14th, 2006, 03:15 PM
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The scammers depend on you acting nice and polite. If ignoring fails, act rude and loud and nasty. Waving a fist and swearing loudly, in English or in French, adds to the effect. No one wants to scam a belligerant crazy person!
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Old Oct 16th, 2006, 12:04 PM
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I must admit that my instinctive reaction if someone found something apprently valuable in the street would be to hand it in to the police.
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Old Oct 30th, 2007, 09:18 AM
  #40  
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topping for scam fans
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