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Scam questions

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Ruhr Area, Germany
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Scam questions

I don´t know why the whole "scam warning" thread has been removed but I think this wasn´t a good idea. Why couldn´t TA just remove any inappropriate posts, if necessary?

Even if we didn´t agree with everybody and with each contribution there have been numerous important hints and advices for upcoming travellers to Istanbul. It has even been a "Top Question" which is now just a topic without substance.

And IMO it was absolutely travel relevant. We have a similar topic in our german Istanbul forum and I hope sincerely that nobody will ask for removing it.

Edited: 27 August 2012, 07:40
Surrey, UK
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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1. Re: Scam questions

I agree Patara.

While Istanbul is a safe and welcoming palce to visit, there are people who do try to make money out of unsuspecting tourists. Many visitors to the city have commented on how helpful it has been to know about the bar scam, the shoe shine scam and the taxi problems before they went as it enabled them to avoid them and have a much more pleasant stay. Forewarned is forearmed.

This forum is in danger of turning into somewhere that you can only talk about the positive aspects of the city - and that lulls people into a false sense of security, makes them perfect fodder for all kinds of scams, and perpetuates the historical Disneyland view of Istanbul.

I love this city and want everyone else to discover just how amazing it is - but I want them to be realistic about it too!

Istanbul, Turkey
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2. Re: Scam questions

GTTD and Patara, I can't agree more! I think while we sing the praises of Istanbul, we should not forget to talk about very obvious problems which are easily prevented by taking simple precautions.

Borus

Kayakoy, Turkey
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3. Re: Scam questions

Weird, very weird! But İ agree also the initial post was important, since every city can have a typical kind of scam, this seems to be the scam especially single traveling men should be warned for. The post was good because it was a travelers own experience. Now we can only wait for the next victim who is not embarrassed enough to post his experience about this scam :-(

İ hope TA will bring the initial post back to the forum!

Istanbul
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for Istanbul
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4. Re: Scam questions

Well, I disagree with Patara and GTTD. I have checked the Berlin forums, London forums, and Rome forums and none of them have such a thread under their respective Top Questions Sections, whereas when you insert the word scams into the forum search boxes for Berlin, Rome and London you get a lot of references to scams committed in those cities. In fact, at Berlin forums, I have come across the following useful website that talks about scams all over Europe: "http://tinyurl.com/5tncfhm".

We have chewed this scam issue to death and even in that long "Beware.....don't be put off" thread, there are lots of one time posters who have never reappeared and whose accounts are very dubious. Same thing with taxi scams. Ten people are scammed by taxi drivers and we see them all complaining at the forum immediately thereafter, but a thousand people have excellent taxi rides and we never hear about them. DE, Busy-retired is a frequent traveler to Istanbul and she uses taxis a lot. She says she has never been scammed by any taxi driver. We also have the responsability to protect the reputation of honest taxi drivers but also our responsability extends to all our potential visitors who, because of this constant barrage of warnings at Top Questions, are really very afraid to take a taxi in Istanbul. Is this what we want to accomplish? That people do not take taxis at all, but use other forms of transport. Of course, for the situation of airport transfers, this would be an extremely beneficial bonus and push for private airport transfer companiies who would love the visitors not taking a taxi (and thus eliminating an important competitor) but instead using private transfer companies. This is unfair to all taxi drivers in Istanbul, but especially to the ones queuing at the airports.

The "scam" thread remains at the forums. Any one, trying to emphasize this issue, can simply bring it up as a thread to any post.. This forum does NOT perpetuate a historical Disneyland view of Istanbul at all. In this forum everyone talks about whatever they want. Just a few days ago someone here was talking about a carpet sellers scam but revealing further bits of info, it turned out to be something different. A while ago, there was a poster who ridicilously was accusing Turkish Airlines perpetrating scams on its customers.

Istanbul is a huge city of more than 15 million. All sorts of things do happen in such a city. Berlin, Rome , Paris, London, etc. also have all their fair share of scams. However I do not see in their forums DE's or long time posters dwelling on these issues day after day, ad nauseum. Being realistic is one thing but scaring people in advance of their trip is something else. I always like to see balanced views at these forums but at the same time I do not want my city to get a bum rap.

enigma...

Edited: 27 August 2012, 12:15
Ruhr Area, Germany
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5. Re: Scam questions

So at least we know now who has asked for removing the post.

I agree with you , enigma, in one point: there are many scams in other cities as well.

But sorry, Istanbul is a much huger city than EG Berlin, and sorry again, for many people it has still a kind of "exotic " touch, somewhat mysterious and different to the other European capitals and cities . And as you read in many posts, there are always people asking if Istanbul and Turkey are safe.

So telling them that it is a very safe city/country but there might be a few uncomfortable incidents or scams which they can avoid easily if they just keep in mind "our" advices might give some of them a safer feeling. At least I got this feedback at our German forum. And I´m v ery sure that nobody would call your city a city of scammers because of these warnings.

You are right, meanwhile it was a very long thread, and you are perhaps right that some of the posts have been fakes or just overstated, but you never know it from other contributions too...

Well, this is just my opinion and nobody must agree:-).

Ruhr Area, Germany
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6. Re: Scam questions

I have forgotten to mention, that in other forums there are questions and posts concerning any scams too, and very often the regulars seem to be pretty fed up giving always the same replies and advices ad nauseum.

Our Istanbul forumites could just refer to this Top Question...

Istanbul
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7. Re: Scam questions

No, patara, you are wrong there. I did not ask for the removal of that thread and if you so wish, you can ask this to TA yourself. I think people should be very careful not to make such accusations at the forums, before knowing the facts. My views are totally independent from the removal of this thread.

enigma...

Chicago
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8. Re: Scam questions

When friends or colleagues travel to places I've been and ask about what to see, what to do, where to eat, etc., I definitely make recommendations. Scams are the last thing on my mind.

But because of the scam thread, it was a good reminder to mention the scam to them, in case they run into it, and offer suggestions how to deal with it, if it occurs. Having the thread deleted was an unfortunate decision, imo. If I were traveling, I would want that information. Forewarned is forearmed.

Surrey, UK
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9. Re: Scam questions

I suspect that part of the problem is that residents do not have the best grasp of the pitfalls faced by visitors to their own city. For example, I am unaware of the scams facing tourists in London (apart from the bar scam which is well known in Soho) - because I am a local and so do't fall foul of them (scammers don't prey on locals). That doesn't mean they don't happen - and I would be doing visitors a disservice in saying they didn't! It is an area I know nothing about - and so keep quiet.

As an example, for years Enigma has been playing down the taxi scams - saying that they are rare - because they don't happen to him. Of course they don't - he is a savvy local - but they do happen to virtually every visitor to the city especially if they are not warned. Nearly every trip report - even from people who love the city, more often than don't, mention it! This is the advantage of having a range of DEs that include frequent visitors as well as locals - which is a strength on this forum.

The same goes with the bar scams, the show-shine scams, the fact that you will get dragged into carpet shops or restaurants if you don't learn to say no (and mean it!).

Maybe some of these posts are false (in the same way some of the hotel reviews are false, transfer company reviews are false etc) but they are the best we have!

Istanbul is a fantastic city - it is romantic, evocative and magical... Utterly unique and a delight for the senses. Part of what makes it such a special place to visit are the people - warm, welcoming and generous. If we want people to fall in love with the city and have a pleasant stay however, we need to arm them with the information they need to avoid the minor irritations that if they do not know are there, can easily spoil their holiday. That surely should be a part of what TA is about (and given how many posts we get asking 'is Istanbul safe?', we need to be answering these questions fully).

But you are again right Patara - we will all never fully agree - but at least if the information is there, people can choose to read it or not.

Ruhr Area, Germany
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10. Re: Scam questions

I appologize if I was wrong with my suppose that you have asked for removing the post, enigma. But it was no accusation, just a statement:-).

I think the difference between Istanbul and other European countries is, that Istanbul has some pretty special scams which are unknown and not usual in other cities. There are no shoe shine men, no carpet sellers trying to get you into their shop and sometimes trying to cheat you, and no vendors of any gifts ASO, hanging around at touristy places( no scams but scaring for some people too...).

These are issues many people don´t know how to cope with. But that doesn´t mean that this city is more dangerous, shoe shine men EG are pretty harmless.

In other European cities you will mostly find the usual well known crimes, mostly even more dangerous and scaring but something we know from at home, unfortunately.

Edited: 27 August 2012, 13:36