Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Three Attempted On Me In Rome Within The Last 24 Hours

Three Attempted On Me In Rome Within The Last 24 Hours

Old Oct 27th, 2007, 04:25 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,827
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Three Attempted On Me In Rome Within The Last 24 Hours

Hi All,

I am in Rome right now (and LOVING it!!) But I thought I would let you know that the scam artist must think I have 'sucker' tattooed on my forehead.

I have been approached by three, yes THREE different scam artists in the last 24 hours. All I thrre recognized right away because of what I have read here at Fodors.

The first was yesterday as I was headed to Castl st Angelo. It was the'found ring' scam. I must admit, the lady was pretty smooth. But as soon as I saw hear bend over and come up with a gold ring, I just kept walking.

The other 2 happened today about 30 minutes apart. The first one was the 'Versace Salesman Gift' I was near Ponte Palantino, when he pulls over and asked for directions to the French Embassy near the Vatican. After I showed him how to get there he offered me a 'gift' which at this point I kept walking.

Heres the funny part, he turned onto the bridge, got halfway down, and stopped and tried to pull the same thing on another gentleman. As we approached each other, I asked hime if the guy in the car said he was from Versace, and the whole gift thing. Sure enough he did.

The third one happened less than 30 minutes later as I was walking be Circus Maximus. It was the 'Phoney Cop - Lets See Your Money'. It was instigated by a man acting as a tourist stopping me and asking for directions. As I was showing him on the map, I noticed out of the corner of my a slight wave of his hand.

Within 30 seconds, another man shows up in'uniform' with a badge and an ID that says "police". He than goes into this spiel about fake money and asks us both to see our passports and wallets to see if we had fake money.

His partner whips out both. But for some reason, his partner only has $100 bills US. I tell him that I have no money or wallet and just show him the photocopy of my passport. Then I just turn and left. Off to my left I see there third partner, a lady that I had seen earlier up the street reading the newspaper, is now all the way down here still'reading' the paper.

Heres the kicker to this one. The officers 'uniform' said BlueBird Ferries. Guess they thought since I saw the badge, I would just assume the 'uniform' was legit.

Just thought I would share a little humor with you and thank my fellow Fodorites who had sent out warnings before.

Ciao,

Tom
TRSW is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 04:32 AM
  #2  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi T,

Thanks for the chuckle.

ira is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 04:59 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 877
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Funny and I'm glad you were quick enough to avoid the rip-offs, but now you have me a bit concerned: I could see myself getting scammed by a guy using the "phoney cop" ploy. Since I'm going soon to a couple places I've never been to (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary) I'm gonna be a little nervous anytime I see an uniformed person in these ex-Iron Curtain countries. I will definitely carry a photo copy of our passports. Any ideas about protecting my pocketbook? Of course, I know to keep the cash hidden on me, but if some official looking dude starts threatening us, what do you do? Maybe I've seen too many spy flicks, but don't some of these cops live off shakedowns?
Zeus is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 06:16 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,007
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I had a lot of "gold ring" people approach me too, along with lots of "Do you speak English" scammers. This was in Paris, and it was VERY annoying but I was very glad I'd read about these on fodors and was prepared.

Celiaanne is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 06:22 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 21,369
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was in Rome last week. Although I didn't ever see what I thought were attempted scams, a funny thing happened in Rome that didn't happen elsewhere in Italy: a number of people stopped me to ask directions...in Italian! I don't look Italian, I think I stand out as a tourist. But as soon as I indicated that I spoke no Italian, these people immediately split. One guy even drove by in a car asking where something was.

If these were attempts at scams, you'd think they'd peg me as American and speak in English. Could be that Rome is such a confusing city even for other Italians that they will ask anyone for help!

As for Eastern Europe, I wouldn't sweat it, Zeus. Prague is so westernized now that you can barely tell it was ever a Communist country. The architecture in Budapest looks more imposing perhaps but still, very western now, very easy for Americans to get around without fear of "iron curtain" tactics. In Prague I witnessed only one attempt at a "scam" when I was getting on a bus. One guy pretended to pass out as he got on, but his attempt was so obviously a fake that I figured he might even be some sort of a street artist (because he seemed to have a partner nearby who "helped" him). Could ANYONE be that inept of a con artist?
Andrew is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 06:39 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,247
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
These nasty events will probably always happen where many tourists are.
It's as difficult (or not) for Europeans to deal with his as for Americans.
When I have to be in cities that are known for lots of pickpocketing or scams I split my money and credit cards:
- one wallet with just coins and maybe 20 euros in my front or back pocket
- bit more cash (but rarely more than 100 euros altogether) plus credit/debit cards in money belt or buried deep down in my daypack
- and one credit card at the hotel (in the safe), so if something goes wrong I can still get cash

I tried hard to remember when the last time was that I got stopped by a cop (plain clothed or in uniform) in the last 20 years in Germany, Hungary, Spain, Austria, France, etc. I can't.

You should get really suspicious when any other police business than checking your identity gets handled in the street.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 06:48 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If a 'cop' stops you on the street and asks to see your money, just say "no" and start walking. Real police don't ask to see your money.
Travelnut is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 06:52 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 292
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm disappointed! Only three? But then again, not bad for 24 hours.

You should upon arrival at the airport been accosted by a very official looking man in a well-tailored suit carrying a walkie talkie offering you transport into the city.

For more fun, go to the Forum midday--there's a guy who works several entries/exits there. Looks as though he could be a Brit, a Yank, French, you name it. Surmises the nationality of the people approaching, switches into their language, with the scam that he's lost his money and only needs
so much more to make bus fare to get out of the city.

We didn't bite, but were intrigued by his skill. Very good actor. We bought a couple of ice cream cones from a vendor and watched the guy work for 1/2 hour. He later showed up in the evening at the Pantheon at around 10 pm. Hardworking and quite talented con!

Also, speaking of vendors--did you get the slow pay yet? That's when the vendor doesn't quite rip you off--he just waits to see if you're smart enough to wait for ALL of the change.

Ah, Rome...gotta love it (and like you, we did!) Keep 'em coming, TRSW.
josephina is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 07:08 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,842
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have to say I'm really disappointed. How come none of this neat stuff ever happens to me? I've spent about 6 weeks total in Rome over the past 10 years or so and have never been approached by anyone with any of these scams.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 08:02 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Have seen similar in Paris over a dozen visits.... just in Rome and Venice, no one accosted us. The 'dancing Mickey' scam was perpetrated upon my hubby and his son, however they'd had some beers and it was 2€, so they figured 'what the heck'. They had more fun laughing over schemes to make the Mickey dance than 2€ could ever have bought them.
Travelnut is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 08:03 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,827
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Neo,

So sorry you havent experinced the fun yet. Like I said, they must think I have sucker tattooed on my forehead. So I will probably get hit up again.

Ciao

Tom
TRSW is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 08:16 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,432
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That's pretty funny. The only place that scam artists have gotten me (or tried) was in Rome! I've been all over, but that city gets the No. 1 prize for bold, stupid, and annoying scammers. Luckily, I've never been ripped off or had anything bad happen, but it's comical what they will try.

My most famous story (already posted on here under "why I hate Rome", or something) goes like this: I'm walking down the street & feel something funny around my waist, as I'm waiting at a crosswalk. I know my purse is safe, so I figure it's some old Italian guy rubbing up against me, or something.

At the next crosswalk, these 2 teenage girls scream "Madame!" I look, & they tell me to check my skirt. Well, the bottom of my skirt was stuck in the waistband of my skirt.(hmm- wonder how/when that happened...) I don't think you could actually see my undies, or anything, but I'm sure I looked pretty stupid.

They helped me fix my outfit, and I thanked them. They followed me down the street & wouldn't let me pass. They held their hands out & demanded money. I told them they were crazy, and I shouted at them to leave me alone, and pushed them out of my way. A few minutes later, I saw them wandering about the neighborhood, and they said hi to me! Stupid losers.

Anyway, be careful out there, because the Italians are crazy people.
amp322 is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 08:21 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,134
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A few weeks ago when I was in Rome I was asked directions often by Italians too. I couldn't figure it out and still can't.

Near the entrance to my apartment there a funny event happened. A woman was walking by with her child (about 3 or 4 years old). She was walking a bike and the kid had on a helmet. The kid all of a sudden started yelling and butting me with her helmet, like a little fiend.

I held her off and she started swinging her arms at me. So here I am fending off this little dervish by pushing on her helmet while she screams and flails about. The mother kept saying for her to stop but made no other effort.

My friend and I just looked at each other and I manouvered the kid towards the bike and then left them. Now what was that about? We couldn't figure it out. I didn't see a third party but figured there was one waiting to grab my purse.

If this is a scam it is such a shame to have the little kid trained so early.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 08:52 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,498
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tom, glad you're not letting it spoil Rome for you! I wonder how they choose their victims. Having spent 30 days in Rome in the past 2 years, I've never been approached on one of these scams. I look forward to your whole report when you return.

SeaUrchin, if you were recently in Rome, where's your trip report?
SusanP is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 08:58 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,134
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi SusanP, I was thinking about writing one....
SeaUrchin is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 09:14 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,165
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the warning Tom. We will be in Rome in a few weeks. I think Travelnut has a good point:real police will not ask to see your money. I will watch for the Bluebird Ferries uniform. We have never had any problem in Rome but some scams-to-be occurred in Paris a few times. And a backpack with camera was almost taken in Milan.
nini is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 09:58 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,849
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Two weeks ago in Paris, we had the ring scam tried on us twice within ten minutes. We were walking along the Seine, near the Alexander III bridge, when a young Latin looking chap coming toward us bent down and scooped up this large golden ring from a pile of leaves.

DW and I had talked about this scam, and I instantly flashed into my "Macho, Get Angry, and SHOUT" mode. Before I could start my act, Tammy burst into laughter.

The guy looked surprised, shrugged his shoulders, looked away, and walked on past.

Tammy's response worked so well that, when the next chap went into his routine, I whispered, "Do it again!" She did, with the same result. I recommend that approach, as it worked beautifully, and saved me from confrontations that would have only have served to raise my blood pressure and adrenaline levels.



nukesafe is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 10:00 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,392
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, I think I can spot a scam a mile away but when we were in Italy in June I fell for TWO of them. And the kicker is that I had warded these off in the past and warned others about them!!! One was when we were rushing to catch a train to Naples, madly looking for our train car. I saw a man rushing around trying to help people with their luggage, knew it wasn't legit, but as he rushed up to us as we tried to board the train with all our luggage, my friend nudged me and shouted to give him the luggage. And I did!!!! I plead travel-drunkness, or something. Well, he hauled all our luggage on the train, found a spot for it, then demanded 10 euros from my husband. DH gave him 3 and told him to beat it. I can't believe I fell for it but honestly, it was worth 3 euros for him to hump the luggage. THEN the second scam I made our group fall for was when we returned to Rome. We exited the train station by a different exit than I was used to and since there were four of us we boarded a taxi/van not at the taxi stand. Well, you know the story. 30 euros for a trip of a few blocks. I must say that I argued with the guy and told him he was a scam artist the whole way and he offered to let us out but we were so hot and sweaty we just kept going and paid the 30 euros. Oy.
rbnwdln is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 10:02 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,842
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think it would be fun to carry a Crackerjack type plastic toy ring. When someone pulls the ring scam, quickly sub the plastic one, and hand it back to him and say "No, not mine". and walk away.

Or simply say, "Yes, that ring is mine. Thank you for finding it."
NeoPatrick is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2007, 10:08 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ciao Tom!! Here is an idea, take photos of those con people, lol. Bet that will make them scurry away. BTW, love your photos! Grazie.
LoveItaly is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information