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Paris Street Scams

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Paris Street Scams

Having just returned from a week in Paris which was wonderful, it is worth mentioning a couple of scams which are being pulled on the streets to catch out the unwary tourist.

The first is when a person approaching you bends down and picks up a gold ring from the ground, claiming to have just found it lying there, and then tries to pass it onto the approaching tourist as "good luck" for having found it, in return for some Euros. This happened to us 3 times during the week. The 2nd and 3rd time we actually saw the "slight of hand" as the individual already had the ring in their hand as they bent down to pretend to pick it up.

The second is being approached by people (usually working in groups of 2 or more) carrying what looks like official forms and being asked "Do you speak English?". I am not sure what exactly the scam is - possibly to distract attention whilst one of the group attempts to get into your bags or pockets? But I do know that after being approached by 2 women in this way, they were swooped upon by the local Police and taken away. On other occassions we saw tour guides quite forcibly declining approaches of this nature made to members of their group. We always just said "Non" at the initial approach and moved on.

Experienced tourists may well be aware of these scams, but hopefully this post may stop someone less aware from being taken advantage of.

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Essex
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1. Re: Paris Street Scams

Yes, well known, but thanks for the reminder.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Paris Street Scams

Hey PJE_Guernsey - Thanks for your insight and warning though this topic has been greatly covered on the forum this is the first I've read that the local police are attempting to do something about it. Nice to know!

the big blue marble
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3. Re: Paris Street Scams

The official forms scam is a petition they are asking you to sign for some fake charitable group. After you sign they tell you you've promised to donate ten euros, or so and they get really aggressive with you, if you don't.

Victoria, Canada
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4. Re: Paris Street Scams

I have always noticed the police presence and when you see police you will notice the scammers are not around,, but there are only so many police and they can only be in so many places at once.. and there likely hundreds of scammers etc in Paris working in various places at once. So its not that the police do nothing, they most certainly try , but its like bailing a lake with a teaspoon. The thing is all they can do is check their papers, possibly see if they are wanted on any outstanding warrants, or ask to check if their bags( possibly for stolen items) but really how can they arrest and throw anyone in jail for any real length of time for these crimes, like here these are petty crimes,, so they may arrest someone one week and see them back on street the next week. Must be frustrating for them too.

I have seen police stopping and talking to what appears to be certain types of folks,, but once again, they are checking papers, if the people are not actually in act of commiting a crime then what can they do?

You will not see police ignoring people harassing tourists.. as evidenced by above post.

New Hampshire
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for Paris
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5. Re: Paris Street Scams

<<it is worth mentioning a couple of scams which are being pulled on the streets to catch out the unwary tourist>>

For sure, this is worth mentioning...the point being to be wary...

It's truly best to ignore any approach, particularly anyone, obviously foreign, asking if you "speak English" or "dropped something".

It's illogical to believe that signing a "petition" in a foreign country would be useful, or giving any attention to someone who declare you've "dropped something" when you, clearly, have not.

Best bet is to ignore anyone who approaches you. Do not even respond...just keep going...

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Paris Street Scams

As previous posters have said, the best way to avoid these encounters is to just ignore these people, walk past, and move along. Do not engage with them if at all possible.

Paris, France
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7. Re: Paris Street Scams

why tourists look like tourists.....

Lords Valley...
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8. Re: Paris Street Scams

Enter "Paris Scams" in the search box at the upper right of the screen and you will find 584 posts describing every imaginable scam. No need for everyone to chime in on how someone dropped a gold ring in front of them. Search....learn.

United States
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for Copper Harbor
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9. Re: Paris Street Scams

The petition scam isn't unique to Paris either. I've been approached in Minneapolis and NYC with that one. A scowl, a wave of the hand, and a firm "NO" is universally recognized.

New York City, New...
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10. Re: Paris Street Scams

Hey joan1 -I did not mean to imply that the French authorities do nothing about this problem and I most surely hope they do. I was only stating that This was the first post I've read where someone actually saw them in action.