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What is this gypsy gold ring scam in Paris?

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May 26th, 2008, 05:28 AM
  #1
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What is this gypsy gold ring scam in Paris?

Within 24 hours in Paris, we were approached 5 times by gypsies who covertly dropped a gold - probably brass - ring, picked it up and offered it to us, saying it didn't fit them and we should take it.

THey then walked away.

The first time we took the ring but put left it on a ledge when we saw the woman return.

The subsequent times, we ignored them.

This was performed separate times bydifferent women, children and a man.

My husband and I could not figure out how this scam worked though we were warned by our tour director to avoid it.

Any ideas?
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May 26th, 2008, 05:39 AM
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It must be the oldest scam in the world.
It is certainly mentioned in Dickens.
I bet that it was practised in Ancient Rome.
The idea is, "Oh, lucky me! I have found this lovely gold ring lying on the ground.
It doesn't fit me, but you can have it for "
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May 26th, 2008, 05:56 AM
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It is indeed one of the oldest scams in the world, but the new form involves a tiny electronic tracking device inside the ring, so when you wear it back to your hotel they can come find you, rape, loot, and pillage you there!


(Only kidding). They still just ask you for money for the ring.
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May 26th, 2008, 06:16 AM
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I just returned from Paris and had this happen to me twice. Once, from an older (60+) woman and once from a man who looked like he was twenty-something. We watched the woman approach a few other people and she had no luck with any of us.
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May 26th, 2008, 06:56 AM
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They hope you are going to pay them something for it.
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May 26th, 2008, 08:07 AM
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I've always wanted someone to approach me with that scam and their innocent "look what I just found". I would take it from them and say "Oh thank you so much for finding my ring. It isn't worth anything, but I'm so glad you found it for me" -- take it and walk away. How could they argue with that?
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May 26th, 2008, 08:43 AM
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It's the assumption by these people that a lot of tourists are idiots and also that a lot of them think they have to talk to people on the street and have to give them money for things. They think it is polite to give money to people for objects on the sidewalk, I have no idea why. It's the most bizarre thing to me, but recently there was some post by a woman (American tourist) who did say that she thought someone offering her a ring for money that was on the sidewalk was "charming" so she paid them. That's why they keep doing it.

I go to Paris almost every year and have never had anyone do that to me. I don't talk to people on the street like that and don't have anything to do with them. They wouldn't get a chance to offer me a ring because I won't talk to them, and I won't respond or answer their dopey questions like some tourists do -- like once one of them as walking along the side of an outdoor cafe area on the Champs Elysees (a big one, a cheap takeout place), asking if anyone spoke English. Of course some total dupes piped up that they did, so then they try to give them some spiel to get money.
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May 26th, 2008, 08:56 AM
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NeoP - it really isn't wise to antagonize strangers.
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May 26th, 2008, 09:09 AM
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This is from "London Labour and the London Poor"
by Henry Mayhew, published 1851

"The second criminal class consists of cheats... and "flat catchers," or ring-droppers, who cheat by pretending to find valuables in the street"

The poster is probably right who said that it probably goes back to the ancient world.
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May 27th, 2008, 06:39 AM
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This happened to us in the Tuilleries. The guy said perhaps I could buy him a cup of coffee in exchange (I gave the ring back to him). I also understand that it's been used as a distraction for pickpockets.
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May 27th, 2008, 07:48 AM
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In a somewhat different vein, I have been surprised by the number of people who sit on the sidewalk with a "J'ai faim" sign and a cup for money.

Our only direct interactions with people apparently seeking money have been (1) people selling "newspapers" outside Metro exits and (2) a woman with a child who asked if I spoke English and held out a sign with some story about being from Bosnia. We have seen no swarms of children, no "found" rings, or any other intrusive enounters.

Oh, I forgot about the much more charming musicians in the Metro cars who quickly circulate asking for coins. Their presence has been positive, except for the one guy who made a racket "drumming" on a wooden box
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May 27th, 2008, 07:54 AM
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Author: Travelnut
Date: 05/26/2008, 11:56 am

NeoP - it really isn't wise to antagonize strangers.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Yea. I know. Like the time I was sitting near here at a red light with my right turn signal on and the guy behind me kept honking and honking for me to turn right on red. I waited till just before the light turned green, put my car in park, got out and walked back to the car and struck up a conversation asking him if something was wrong with my car or why he was honking. When he said it was that in Florida you can turn right on red, I asked him to read for me the sign posted next to the light as perhaps I was misreading it (the one that said NO TURNS ON RED). Of course all my friends tell me I could have been shot or worse! But I wasn't and it was SO worth it.
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May 27th, 2008, 08:03 AM
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I've read about this scam here on Fodor's numerous times in the past. Sometimes it seems like everyone here on Fodor's who was in Paris recently has come across it, not only once but several times. My wife and I were in Paris for a week in early May, and we didn't see it once. We did see people near Sacre Coeur that were trying to interest us in trinkets of some sort, and while in line waiting in the Notre Dame towers line, we were approached by a woman asking if anyone spoke English. But no ring scam. What were doing wrong?
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May 27th, 2008, 08:55 AM
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Linda,

That scam is almost as bad as the one you see here periodically that tells people they HAVE to stay in certain areas of Paris or they'll turn into pumpkins.
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May 27th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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Dukey: I couldn't agree more. We have stayed (in the order of the visits) near Place d'Italie, near Place Clichy, near the Musee Picasso, and near the Jardin des Plantes--Gare d'Austerlitz side. No pumpkins in sight!
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May 27th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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I think I saw someone pull the ring scam in NYC a few weeks back. I was going thru a turnstyle at Penn Station and the guy seemed to be choosing btw me and the next guy. He chose the next guy.
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May 27th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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Also do not forget that if you dare to wear anything other than black head to toe, including shoes, you will be flagged as a tourist and then be harassed by everyone. By simply dressing all in black everyone will assume you are a native Parisian and never bother you!
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May 27th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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I know you're joking, reisender, but a good rule of thumb these days in Paris is that if you see someone dressed all in black -- it's probably an American tourist (especially in the summer). Thousands of them arrive daily with their completely black wardrobes.
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May 27th, 2008, 10:47 AM
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Neo, just to be safe my DW and I both also wear black underwear. That way we are totally protected. Sadly she looks much better in her black undies than I do in mine!
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Jun 27th, 2010, 09:23 AM
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Here is a video of the gold ring scam if you want to see it in action - It was filmed in Paris. The below website also has numerous pages of Paris pickpocket scams too. Hope it helps someone

http://www.corporatetravelsafety.com...e-eiffel-tower
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