The City of Lights is exceptional in so many ways, from food to culture, but that doesn’t make it exempt from crime. Paris is one of the top travel destinations in the world, attracting nearly 100 million tourists each year. These record numbers make for a host of easy targets for scam artists, pickpockets, and thieves.
Don’t fall victim to the con artists. Be aware of these top scams in Paris and learn how to avoid them.
Well-dressed scammers wait outside the ticket booths at train stations to sell fake train tickets. They are quite convincing and insistent. Only buy tickets from official representatives who are inside the booth.
Peddlers will approach you at all major tourist attractions trying to sell anything from clothes to overpriced bottles of wine. If you happen to be interested, you can haggle them down to just a few Euros.
The oldest trick in the book, but it still works. While you’re cramming into crowds to snap a picture of the Mona Lisa, giving directions to “lost tourists”, or waiting in lines to climb the Eiffel Tower, thieves are lurking to steal your money. Keep everything out of your pockets and in front of you in a zipped money belt or fanny pack. A safety-pinned zipper serves as a great deterrent as well.
Scammers will offer you anything from friendship bracelets to flowers and once you accept, they will demand payment. Often hounding you until you finally give in.
People will dress in official garments and offer to buy your ticket for you by asking for your credit or debit card. The thing is, metro machines only accept cash. Avoid these people and do it yourself, or ask an official representative behind the ticket booth.
Young Girl Thieves
Gangs often pressure young girls into doing their dirty work because they tend to be the most unsuspecting thieves. These girls have a target amount of money they need to steal per day. Beware of any stranger who approaches you and stay alert, regardless of their age or appearance.
A common scam is someone asking you a question while you’re at the ATM machine or standing close enough to see your PIN number. Avoid this issue by withdrawing cash during bank business hours, shielding your PIN number and refusing to talk to anyone during your transaction.
Thieves come in all forms. Some cafes will overcharge you or bring you the most expensive version of your order if you don’t specify exactly what you want. Be clear and find out how much it costs prior to ordering.