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Budapest Scam - Warning

London
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Budapest Scam - Warning

I have just returned from a business trip to Budapest and much to my annoyance I fell for a scam. I am widely travelled and normally veer well away from situations like this but this one time my guard was down and so I feel obliged to let others know - forearmed is forewarned.

I was simply wandering about near the river on the Pest side and these 2 friendly girls asked for directions, (i was looking at a map and looking for a bar). They were in their late twenties. They wanted to go to a bar, and asked me to join them. I said no way but in the end they persuaded me to come along for one. It was only about 7pm and I thought what was the harm in one beer after a days work ? I suppose the fact they seemed to know exactly which bar we should go to should have raised an alarm bell - but it didn't.

Anyway we had a few shots and their company was pleasant. At about 8.30 ish i thought i better head off. The bill came and I was expecting about £30 equivalent maybe more but I knew how much drinks should be so wasn't expecting anything much higher. It was £600 !!

I only had £80 on me. Conveniently there was an ATM outside which i was walked to. I stayed calm throughout but was thinking what the hell could I do ? At the ATM I pretended to start drawing the money but then withdrew my card and ran and ran. The owner and one of the girls were so surprised I got away.

Yes looking back there were many signs indicating this whole situation was wrong but I am always trying to believe in people's good nature. It is getting harder to..

So take warning from my story please.

Brussels, Belgium
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299 posts
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21. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

Hello,

Indeed it seems to be a scam.

Their goal is always to ask a street or bar then they propose to go with them.

I hope that for the rest you enjoy your trip !

Penzance
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634 posts
7 reviews
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22. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

Hi Mousehole,(Back in March)l had two that came up to me just off Vaci.They were asking for directions.I told them that they could find a free map at most hotels.They said about going with them.I then replied that l didn't want tobe conded that night.Don't get me wrong.They were certainly good looking!They looking quite shocked at first.Then walked off up the road.

Edited: 19 May 2013, 08:14
Luton, United...
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299 posts
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23. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

Just back from Budapest. Nothing wrong with Vaci Utca or the Mercure City Centre. Just avoid people displaying traits of these scams. Let's just say if 2 pretty girls who may claim to be from Kosice take to to Club Zeitt on Erzsebit Ter, near the 'big wheel', don't go in. The place, and the girls, are a scam.

Ontario, Canada
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24. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

When I was in Budapest in 2010 where Rakoczi Way and Baross Ter meet a shabbily dressed guy holding the most torn-up map I'd ever seen asked me for directions. I think it was at a set of lights and we were waiting for the walk signal. I replied that I couldn't help him then he said he was a tourist too, and "where are you from" and "it's a beautiful city, isn't it?" I was suspicious immediately but answered his questions anyway as we crossed the street. When we got to the the other side, where there are arcade-type columns, an older guy appeared from nowhere - well, presumably from behind one of the columns - wearing an unzipped coat with a professional looking outfit underneath it. He pulled out a badge, then quickly put it away and said politely whilst smiling that random security checks by police are normal in Hungary and then quite forcefully demanded to check my passport. I said I didn't have it (untrue). He replied it is the law for tourists in Hungary to carry it. I said it is at my hotel said then shrugged and said "sorry". He kind of grinned as if to say "you can't blame a guy for trying" then he and his partner disappeared.

If he hadn't been so quick to put away his badge instead of giving me a chance to really look at it - I wouldn't know if it was real or not anyway! - he might've been more convincing. However, I think his main problem was his fake tourist sidekick dressed like a hobo and carrying a torn-up map but who for some reason was not asked for HIS passport. I went away thinking they were a couple of amateurs who probably are new to scamming. However, the local person I sat beside on the train a few days later told me this passport stealing scam has been known to get decent results in Budapest as many tourists come from places (northern Europe?) where there's an instinctive presumption of trust in others, especially the authorities, or in this case the "authorities".

Budapest, Hungary
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25. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

Though he was right, one must carry an ID always, locals and tourists alike.

luton
Destination Expert
for Luton
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26. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

whys that rawlee?

is it a law?

i never carry ID and never will (in the UK there is no reason to carry ID)

It reeks of a police state

cheers tony

Brno, Czech Republic
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for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Train Travel
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27. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

It is the same in most of continental Europe, and nobody minds it. I asked a couple of friends in the Czech Republic about it, and also whether they minded the constant police controls in their brand new BMWs and the consensus is that as long as crime is kept down they are more than happy with the situation.

It is actually extremely rare to be randomly checked - the last time I was asked (aside from constant police checks when driving in Austria - a car with Czech or Slovak number plates puts you well down the food chain there), was in about 1992 when I was asked why I hadn't reported for national service. You have to be doing something suspicious in the first place.

Personally I would like to have a UK ID - it saves a lot of hassle and I really have nothing to hide - they know everything anyway :)

Budapest, Hungary
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28. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

Wether you like it or not lutonlagerlout, that is the law in the rest of the continent, you MUST have an ID or passport on you. If an officer asks for it, and you fail to provide one, they are authorised to take you in until you can prove your identity.

29. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

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Removed on: 10 July 2013, 13:35
Edited: 10 July 2013, 13:35
30. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 17 April 2014, 16:33