Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Europe > France and Monaco
Reload this Page >

Scam in Paris -- anyone know what the end result is?

Scam in Paris -- anyone know what the end result is?

Reply

Old Oct 24, 06, 11:40 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Santa Monica
Programs: UA Gold, MR Plat (life gold), SPG Gold
Posts: 896
Scam in Paris -- anyone know what the end result is?

My wife and I were in Paris on a recent trip and had a great time. One curious thing happened, that I am sure was a setup or some scam, but we successfully avoided it and walked away. I am curious however what these people were trying to do.

We were crossing the Alma bridge and a guy steps in front of us and picks up a gold ring. My first thought was.... scam, probably wanted to "share" in this great find, and let me keep the ring, while I give him half the cash value -- of this likely priceless gem laying on the ground. We pushed past him. During the walk on the bridge I told my wife that I ignored the guy because there was something he wanted from us -- that I did not want to give -- she was not sure, until at the other end of the bridge, the same thing happened -- although with a not a slick 15 YO girl who sort of tossed the ring down in front of us for all of us to "discover" together. Being pretty amused -- we also pushed past her.

Does anyone know what was going on? The scam I pictured, or were they hoping we would just stand around and wait for a pickpocket???
Tiojelly is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 24, 06, 12:44 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Denver CO
Posts: 3,595
There seems to be a bunch of "ring finders" in Paris right now. I never stop for anyone in the street, but I've heard they try to sell you the ring for a "bargain" price since they need the cash.
Mountain Trader is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 25, 06, 6:06 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 8,129
That happened to us a few times in the Alma/Eiffel Tower area. They try to give you the ring (as if they just found it) and then want you to give them money for it. The bus stops are a common place for this trick. They put a gold colored ring on the ground when no one is around and then when you go to look at the bus map they walk up and make it seem lioke they just found the ring. Then they try to give it to you and ask for money in exchange. BTW, I did look at the ring. It's brass.

Another way they do it (we saw it when we sat on a bench near the Tour Eiffel) is someone will walk along and drop the ring. Of course most people don't see this happen. Then, about a block back, another person walks up (when they see tourists approaching the area) and go through the routine again.
b1513 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 25, 06, 6:16 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Yellowknife, NWT, Canada and Sacramento, CA, US; UA Explorer Elite
Posts: 2,129
Easy Response

The easy response to all things like this is "no, no", followed, if necessary, by "no, no".

You're on vacation; you're not trying to earn money. So, you're not interested. Period.
Reindeerflame is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 25, 06, 6:25 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: DCA, IAD
Programs: UA 1k, SPG Gold, Hyatt Plat
Posts: 21
I had this tried on me several times in Paris a few weeks ago near the Tour Eiffel and throughout the Jardin de Tuileries. Several times I could see them palming the ring as they put it down right under my nose- so obvious! We never stopped (an annoyed look and firm NO worked like a charm). I have also heard that they try to sell you the ring. I wonder what they would do if when they asked, "Is this yours?" you said "Oh yes, thank you! my ring!" (they'd probably want a finder's reward) Though I didn't witness this at all, I have also heard that while the scammer is distracting you with the ring finding rigamarole an accomplice picks your pocket. Don't know if that's true but I would try to be aware of people in the surrounding area if someone tries the ring find on you.
waterstrider is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 30, 06, 9:42 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Freeload Univ. Where are you sitting?
Posts: 13,168
There's another scam we ran into a month or so ago. You will be approached by (usually) a young woman dressed in some sort of Slavic peasant garb, and she'll ask you, "Do you speak English?". When you say yes, she thrusts a hand-written piece of paper at you, purportedly written by her brother in Bosnia who is being held prisoner and, I guess, needs some help (money) to get out.

It's just another variant of the old Spanish Prisoner scam.

Later, we were having lunch at a little sidewalk cafe near the tower, and we saw a bunch of them heading off to "work", smoking and laughing like office workers anywhere.

I'm not sure what they'll do if you don't speak english, but they seem pretty adept at spotting tourists.
BigLar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 8, 06, 12:54 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,511
We had the "Do you speak English" thing happen to us a few times walking from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe. Thanks for explaining what this was about because we curious about this on too but forgot about it.

We just kept our mouths shut, gave a puzzled look, shook our heads, and continued walking. We're Chinese so I think we got off a bit easy by blending in with the non-english speaking Japanese tourists. Of course, it started getting annoying when the street hawkers in Trocadero kept trying to get our attention by saying konichiwa or arigato.
Jay71 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 8, 06, 12:01 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: NYC
Programs: AA PLT 1MM; UA Sil; DL GM
Posts: 2,023
Originally Posted by waterstrider
I had this tried on me several times in Paris a few weeks ago near the Tour Eiffel and throughout the Jardin de Tuileries. Several times I could see them palming the ring as they put it down right under my nose- so obvious! We never stopped (an annoyed look and firm NO worked like a charm). I have also heard that they try to sell you the ring. I wonder what they would do if when they asked, "Is this yours?" you said "Oh yes, thank you! my ring!" (they'd probably want a finder's reward) Though I didn't witness this at all, I have also heard that while the scammer is distracting you with the ring finding rigamarole an accomplice picks your pocket. Don't know if that's true but I would try to be aware of people in the surrounding area if someone tries the ring find on you.
I'm just back from Paris, and while the ring scam didn't happen to me there, the other day, Sunday, on 125th St. in Harlem I spotted a gold bracelet, marked 14K and a bit pavement-scratched, on the sidewalk. It seemed odd. When the guy in the wheelchair a few feet away asked me what I'd found, I said, "Hey, this is your corner, you handle this," handed him the bracelet, and walked on. Then I read this thread!
Fornebufox is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 8, 06, 12:08 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 8,129
Originally Posted by BigLar
There's another scam we ran into a month or so ago. You will be approached by (usually) a young woman dressed in some sort of Slavic peasant garb, and she'll ask you, "Do you speak English?". When you say yes, she thrusts a hand-written piece of paper at you, purportedly written by her brother in Bosnia who is being held prisoner and, I guess, needs some help (money) to get out.

It's just another variant of the old Spanish Prisoner scam.

.
Yep, we had that happen too about 5 minutes after the ring scam.
b1513 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 8, 06, 10:14 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: DEN
Programs: UA 1P, Omni Gold, Hilton Gold, *Wood Gold
Posts: 1,208
We had the Bosnian note outside the Orsay, but that was the only time we had anything like this. We just kept walking...
jneugeba is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 10, 06, 12:57 pm
  #11  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 22,791
Originally Posted by Jay71
We had the "Do you speak English" thing happen to us a few times walking from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe. Thanks for explaining what this was about because we curious about this on too but forgot about it.

We just kept our mouths shut, gave a puzzled look, shook our heads, and continued walking. We're Chinese so I think we got off a bit easy by blending in with the non-english speaking Japanese tourists. Of course, it started getting annoying when the street hawkers in Trocadero kept trying to get our attention by saying konichiwa or arigato.
We were approached with the same question a few times. I had read about it here already. Every time I shook my head in rersponse to the question and kept walking. I wondered if they thought "Why is he indicating a 'no' if if does not understand English!"
Yaatri is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 10, 06, 1:40 pm
  #12  
rjh
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Berkeley, CA USA
Programs: Hotel 81
Posts: 1,409
Originally Posted by Jay71
We had the "Do you speak English" thing happen to us a few times walking from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe. Thanks for explaining what this was about because we curious about this on too but forgot about it.
I find saying "对。我懂英语。" is helpful in this case.
rjh is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 10, 06, 1:48 pm
  #13  
cpx
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: 99654
Programs: Many
Posts: 6,448
Originally Posted by rjh
I find saying "对。我懂英语。" is helpful in this case.
or carry a few rings like those.. and put a counter offer for half the price '
once in NYC, I was bargaining with a street vendor for a cellphone case..
and one guy walks buy. offering to sell a cell phone.

I took couple of them out of my pocket... and asked em if he
wanted to buy them.. for a lower price he walked away.
anyway.. my phones werent hot.. one was mine.. and one was
from my employer.
cpx is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 10, 06, 1:50 pm
  #14  
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Anchorage, AK
Programs: Lifetime AS 1MM & MVPG, AS MVPG75K, AA, DL, HH-G
Posts: 7,167
Originally Posted by jneugeba
We had the Bosnian note outside the Orsay, but that was the only time we had anything like this. We just kept walking...
I really liked the Bosnian note scenario when the woman was trying to pass herself off as pregnant (NOT!!!) at the Tuleries.
BOB W is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 20, 06, 4:59 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: SIN, dreaming of SFO and YVR
Programs: BD *S, SQ nada
Posts: 761
the "do you speak english" girls also appear at gare du nord. just note that scamsters appear everywhere.

just something curious. i find that the "do you speak english" girls seem to enunciate their catchphrase with a seemingly british accent... no offence to the brits. just wondering where they come from.
kaysquare is offline  
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: