6 Most Common Tourist Scams in Paris to Spot
Despite its popularity of being a beautiful and romantic city in the world, the tourist scams in Paris are something quite common.
If you aren’t careful, you may fall victims to some of these scams, so it is always wise to know some of them before you are going to this city.
By knowing these scams, you can spot them easily and avoid them. It saves you some time – and also your wallet – from dealing with those scammers.
The Gold Ring
Although this is one of the most common tourist scams in Paris, it can be super annoying.
The scam may take place often not far from Eiffel Tower or along the Seine, but it can also happen elsewhere. So, someone may approach you, stating that they have found a gold ring.
Or someone may suddenly exclaim, “Ah, what a tresure!” and show you the ring. They may have claimed that they found the ring and ask you whether it is yours.
They definitely expect you to say no. When you do, they will examine the ring and then stating that the ring is valuable.
Then, they will try to sell you the ring with a relatively low price. In reality, the ring is completely a junk.
How to deal with it? Just ignore them. Don’t stop or whatever – ignore them and walk away.
So, when you are walking at Sacré-Cœur (it is in Montmartre),
you may see a group of guys hanging around. They may approach you and being friendly.
They may also try to tie some strings around the wrist. If you let them, they will braid the so-called friendship bracelet on your wrist.
Afterwards, they will definitely ask you for money. These people can be pushy, so don’t be afraid to be pushy too. You can simply ignore them.
You can also cross your arms and walk away. Don’t sympathize with them – they will take advantage of your sympathy or compassion.
This is one of the most common tourist scams in Paris as pickpockets are scattered all over Paris.
One of the most common tricks is the clumsy jogger. You may walk around and encounter the jogger who accidentally bumps to you.
The jogger would then start apologizing frantically and then try to help you.
If you are knocked down to the ground, the jogger would help you to your feet. If you don’t, he/she may frantically ask whether you are okay and check your body (patting all over your body to make sure that you are okay).
While you are trying to say that you are okay and calm him/her, the jogger would steal or nick your backpack, wallet, or bag along the process.
To avoid yourself from being the target, don’t put all of your valuables or money in one place. Try to carry them in smaller amounts and scatter them.
Sew a hidden pocket inside your shirt or jeans. Have a hidden pocket inside your hat. Roll your money and tuck it in your shoes. You should also make copies of your traveling documents.
If it is possible, keep it in a deposit box. But if you are rather low on the budgets (to rent the box), the hidden compartment can be a good idea.
You can have these hidden secret compartments in your jeans, pants, shoes, shirts, and also hat. If you are smart, you’ll figure out a way.
This is another common tourist scams in Paris.
The tricks can be various, but they have one purpose in mind: to take your money away.
The scheme regularly involves someone that approaches you when you are at the ATM. Whether he/she is offering a help or telling you that the ATM is broken.
But he/she will linger around, waiting for you to enter your PIN. Once you are done, they will likely snatch the ATM card away and run off.
Or they may wait for you to take the money and snatch it – then run away.
Whenever you are using the ATM and then someone approaches you, it’s better to stop it and leave as soon as possible.
Even if you haven’t taken your money, just stop whatever you are doing and walk away.
It is better if you can use the ATM in the bank only. If it’s not emergency, you’d better make time to the bank and access the ATM.
Getting ripped off at Parisian cafe and restaurants is pretty common.
Some of them are commonly located in the Champs-Elysées and the Eiffel Tower.
Some of their tricks is to add items secretly – and you don’t even order them.
Or they may present you with menus without prices, and then charge you with exorbitant bill. Or, they may give you a special menu with prices, but those prices have been hiked up.
If you go to restaurants without any locals, be aware. Or, you can always make a thorough research before going to these restaurants.
There are some reputable establishments that you can visit, as long as you have done a research first.
Signing the Petition
Imagine this: You are walking down around Louvre/Tuileries Gardens or Notre Dame.
And then there are a few women coming to you to sign their petition.
They would choose a noble cause topic, such as supporting the deaf or women’s education. But don’t be fooled by them because everything is fake.
When you agree on signing their petition, they will suddenly act aggressive and demand you to donate.
Spotting these women is relatively easy. You will see them walking around with clipboards. Just ignore them.
If they come to you and say, “Can you speak English?” it would be best to look confused while walking away.
Don’t stop or whatsoever or be ready to have a long confrontation with them.
Some Handy Tips
Scammers are basically scattered around Paris, but most of them would operate in the touristy spots in the city. Expect higher concentration of these scammers around Sacré-Cœur, the Louvre, Notre Dame, Arc the Triomphe, and the one and only, the Eiffel Tower.
Be aware of peak tourist season between June and September. They are usually out within a full force, so be always careful.
What is the best way to deal with those scammers is to avoid them completely. If you have to go pass them, disengage yourself from them.
Don’t make eye contact.
Simply walk through passing them.
Ignore them completely.
It would be better if you pretend that you don’t understand them or you can’t hear them.
Pretending to be busy is also a good idea.
You can also make yourself less being a target for them. You can do these:
- Avoid dressing like a tourist. Wearing shorts, T-shirts, and fanny packs would make you an easy target. Don’t carry a selfie stick either – you have made yourself an easy target
- Don’t speak English (or any of your native language) loudly. When you do, you will only attract attention to yourself
- Avoid extreme crowds as they are the easy targets for pickpockets and theft.
- Always be aware of your own surroundings. If you walk around cluelessly with face sticking to the map or cellphone, then you are an easy target
- Don’t be scared of being rude. Most scamming targets are showing sympathies and politeness. If you ignore them, pretending that they don’t exist so you can’t hear them, then you will likely avoid yourself from being a target.
In most cases, the scams in Paris would try to appeal to your compassion and sympathy.
That’s why it is better to look ignorant and even rude to avoid them. Don’t give them the chance to make you their next target.
If you have done a complete and thorough research about the tourist scams in Paris and know how to avoid them, you can enjoy your travel more conveniently.