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Budapest Scam - Warning

London
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5 posts
35 reviews
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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.

Mansfield, Texas
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106 posts
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51. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

O.K., my question is what value is a stolen passport other than possible identity theft? Why would they want it? Also who are we required to show our passports to other than immigration officers when entering the country? thanks, afraid this is frightening my wife and adult daughter. We are frequent travelers but have never heard of these two scams.

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

juergna sorry to hear you tale,but as a previous reviewer said the prices on the menu are astronomical,yet this apparently is legal

you have been the victim of a confidence trick,but legally a crime may not have been commited as the prices are on the menus

sorry for your loss

tony

Scottsdale, Arizona
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4,974 posts
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53. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

Number One to Bumpkin: I have never had any one but border agents (including crossing in cars, trains, buses and air planes), local police IN CARS if I did something stupid like stop at the light while on the tram tracks, and my hotel upon check-in ask for my passport. Any one else, I suggest you tell them to pound sand until they can produce a uniformed police officer. You may be asked for photo ID on the public transit if you are using a multi-day pass that requires it. A passport will work, as will your drivers license (either your local license or your International Driver's Permit...which you should get from you local AAA) and I have even used my gym card once. Most of the agents can't read it anyway so just about anything with a photo will do.

Number Two: The number of people who have posted here telling about how they got scammed just underlines the need to read your TA posts BEFORE going to a new country. Coming back here to tell us how you got skinned after there were plenty of warnings by the experts and regulars only tells us you didn't bother to do your homework before leaving home. Next time, read TA FIRST before going abroad!!!

Edited: 22 November 2013, 16:43
Brno, Czech Republic
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for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Train Travel
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14 reviews
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54. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

If you are with your wife and adult daughter and you go about your business as any other visitor, it is highly unlikely that you will fall for anything like this. You won't even show your passports on entry to the country, unless you are flying directly to Budapest from the USA or another non-Schengen country. A legitimate police officer will look like one and they aren't in the habit of asking all and sundry for their ID.

I would fancy my chances more in Budapest that I would in Mansfield, Texas :)

55. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

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56. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

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57. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

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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!

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58. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

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Removed on: 17 April 2014, 16:44
Brussels, Belgium
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267 posts
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59. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

Hi ugeved2,

I say exactty the same to my friend complaining about scam in Budapest.

Peaple are so happy to be accosted that they forget it could be a scam.

San Francisco...
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60. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

I have heard of similar scams both in Budapest and Prague (they have lot in common). Even though it can happen anywhere (it did happen to me in a Paris strip club). But nonetheless it "seems" to be happening a lot more in some places like Budapest. I have heard worse stories- use of drugs (spiked into drinks), people getting beaten up, and forcing people to withdrawing monies out of ATMs.

But good warning - I will avoid all girls and bars on my upcoming trip.

Lot of it simply boils down to how tourist friendly (or un-friendly) a city wants to be - rules and enforcement will be accordingly- some cities have clear policy - we depend on tourists - nobody is allowed to mess with them. Budapest certainly has a very (very) long way to go. They have not yet even figured out a simple ticket system for public transportation (I am excluding the scamming taxis etc). They have the transportation system in place (the big hard task) - just have a simple 1/2/3 day all inclusive pass (like most (all) cities in the world) - but no. You just hear horror stories on public transportation in BP.