Last week we talked about minor scams in the City of Light but this weekâ€™s ones are far more serious. Weâ€™re not talking a couple of Euros here and there – with these scams, you stand to lose not only your wallet but potentially, your entire holiday and hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars as well.
If you go into the MÃ©tro, and look like you donâ€™t know what youâ€™re doing at the ticket machines, you run the risk of being offered gentlemanly â€˜helpâ€™. These smartly-dressed men are no gentlemen however because while they are helping you, they are actually helping themselvesâ€¦ to your walletâ€¦ and have the gall to demand you pay them for their â€˜assistanceâ€™. The best thing to do if you donâ€™t know how to use the ticket machine is to either ask one of the station staff, or get in line for one of the manned ticket booths.
Be aware that itâ€™s not only in the main tourist areas that scammers will pretend to pick up a ring, which they â€˜thinkâ€™ you may have dropped, sometimes they operate off the tourist routes too. As ridiculous as it sounds that someone might drop a ring, the point of this scam is to get you to stand still long enough for their â€˜colleagueâ€™ to pick your pocket. You know what to do â€“ just walk on by, and donâ€™t stop for a second.
Renting an apartment for the duration of your visit to Paris is a common thing â€“ weâ€™ve done it ourselves, and we think itâ€™s much nicer than staying in a hotel â€“ but not all landlords are created equal. In fact, some are not even landlords at all, yet will place ads on rental sites for apartments they donâ€™t own, most of which may not even exist. It goes without saying that you should always check reviews before handing over any money, and if the â€˜landlordâ€™ is asking for payment via Western Union, then steer clear of them. Our advice is simple – always make sure you use a reputable agency, such as AirBnB, when booking an apartment.
Increasingly popular in tourist cities is the selling of counterfeit luxury goods, usually purses, bags, luggage, and perfume. This really is a no-brainer â€“ if they were the genuine article, they would not be sold on the streetâ€¦ sometimes quite literally on the street, from a sheet laid on the sidewalk.
Unless you are particularly fond of poorly-made knock-offs which are likely to have come from factories where there are no workersâ€™ rights, and where child labor is employed, we suggest you avoid these like the plague. Furthermore, another good reason to avoid these sellers is that pickpockets often hang around the pitches too. Should you still decide to not take our advice, you need to be aware that your purchases may well be confiscated at the airport.
Of course millions of visitors to Paris never fall victim to cons and scams, and the odds are in your favor; however, it never hurts to be a savvy traveler, and a little knowledge goes a long way. Always do your homework before you leave home, and certainly before you hand over any money, and be vigilant when out and about. If you feel particularly troubled, then find a member of the police, and voice your concerns. And of course, if you are unfortunate enough to fall victim to one of these cons, then you should definitely report it to the police.
If you know of any scams we havenâ€™t covered, please let us know in the comments below.0