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4 Common Scams in Paris and how to prevent them (#4, Just happen in front of us)


In Europe or France, particularly areas where they are alot of tourist; You will encounter scams, petty crimes. There are definitely alot of creatives ways they can think of to scam you.

Because you are a tourist, you definitely have alot of cash with you around. In France, the locals prefer to pay by card or cheque. They don’t usually pay by cash. If you are going to Sacré-Cœur, Paris, take note of these tips to prevent being a victim.

1. Pick pockets

Whenever travelling to Paris, my friends will tell me. “Beware of pickpockets. They will pick your pockets in any way possible.”

  • In Metros especially crowded ones. They would have noticed your bulging wallet or personal belongings. And when you are hands full of your bags or shopping stuffs. You are the best target.
  • Surveys / Charity – They will distract you and try to get near to you. They usually unsuspecting teenagers, or woman.

    Survey/Petition Scams : Picture Source

    How to prevent them – If possible, try not bringing out a wallet. Stash your cash in several areas, best if it is in your inner pockets. When in metros, more than often, try not to be hands full. And since you wouldn’t be interested in their surveys or petition, just turn them down. No one knows you in Paris anyways. If not, get a Money Belt. Keep your handphone, cards and cash inside. In this way, you will have additional layer of security. Please get the one with zips!


2. Friendship Bracelet

Friendship Bracelet : Picture Source

Another common scam. It’s normally that when people offer a handshake, you will return that favor right? Bingo! You become a victim instantly when you do that. They will held on to your hand and tie a string bracelet around and demand for a premium for payment. If not, they will try to do a demonstration to your hand and tie it to your hand.

How to prevent them – Avoid them when you see them for afar. Put your hands in your pocket or fold your arms when approaching.

3. 3 Cups and a Ball

3 Cups and a Ball

3 Cups and a Ball (They don’t like photos taken) This is taken on our trip to Sacré-Cœur, Paris

This is a very interesting yet people still fall for this. It is a simple game. 3 Cups and you find the ball. You think you have 33% chance of winning? Fat hope. They increase this percentage to 50% with someone opening the empty one! It is usually done in a team. One vendor, and at least 2-3 accomplice (At least a female or couple). They would usually use their feet or step on the cup. Think about it, if you don’t know them, would you use your shoes to step on their livelihood?

How to prevent them – Just avoid staying too close to their play area. You will be invited to play for free, then this is where it starts. Here are a list of them being video-ed. There is a way to beat them. But, i rather you stay away.

4. Witnessing Snatch Thief!

And when we are ending our tour of the street, we witness snatch thief in operation! We heard a scream and split second, an adult, probably in 25-30s dash out of the street and disappeared into the crowd. All in just less than 1 second. Around 5-10 seconds later, we seen 2 chinese guys running towards the crowd after the thief but was directed by someone that the thief went the other way.

Then came the victim, an elder chinese lady. They are likely to be tourist, taking out their wallet or purse and became a target of theft. Poor lady. We wanted to help, but there is nothing we can do except to spread this words of caution around.

How to prevent them – Avoid taking out your purse/wallet and flung your wealth around. You, the tourist are just targets of the crime. Because, tourist usually bring lots of cash around with them. You feel unsafe when you put at the hotel, thus bringing them along everywhere is the only option. If not, just get a money belt!

READ:  How to get around Paris without Speaking French (Singlish Way)

About the Author Donovan

Don is a Kiasu Singaporean that blogs his journey while exploring Europe. A Singapore Travel Blog that provides travel guides and tips on how to travel free and easy in Europe.

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