Urban Scams Series
This is the second review in a series of “Urban Scams” presented to you by Urbansome.com. “Urban Scams” will help you become extra careful and avoid falling for various frauds when travelling to different cities around the world.
Today, we will look into a popular “Friendship Bracelet Scam” in Paris, France.
Friendship Bracelet Scam
Paris.. The hub of romance, love and friendship. Millions of tourists go there every year to feel that special vibe, see Paris’ iconic places and strengthen their relationships. And yes, if you have read our first “Urban Scams” review you know what I am going to say next – scammers know that too.
When people, especially couples, are in Paris, they enter this “Paris has special romantic powers” mode and believe that anything in this city will help or save their relationship. Unfortunately, people in this mode are an easy target to fraudsters.
Let me explain.
While you enjoy your time gazing at the iconic Eiffel Tower you will be approached by a “smiley” scammer who will say something like: “You look very happy, you need this magical friendship bracelet to make your relationship last forever”. And he will not give you a choice. While saying that, he will be already holding your hand and in a matter of seconds the piece of string (Yes! it is just a piece of string) will be on your wrist.
What happens next? You probably know already.
He will then demand to pay him for this “relationship quality booster” service he just performed. Well, OK, you might think: “that is fine I will give him a Euro, who cares”. It is not as easy as that. They will ask for much more than that – 5, 10 or even more Euros.
PLEASE REMEMBER THIS: if you have been lured into this so quickly that you could not do anything about it, NEVER pull your wallet out! Once the “Friendship Bracelet” scammer sees your wallet and notes inside, you will not get away without paying at least 10 Euros.
Why? Let me explain.
Normally, if you are approached by one of these people, it means that there are many more of them around. They always keep an eye on each other. If one manages to put the bracelet on “victim’s” wrist, the affiliates start approaching slowly. Suddenly in a matter of seconds you’re surrounded by them.
What happens if you try to avoid giving him money?
You will have to pay even higher price. As you are surrounded by group of these people, you have no choice any more. And because you tried to avoid doing so, you will have to pay them all to leave you alone. Therefore, as I mentioned below, if they see notes in your wallet, you are in trouble.
Unfortunately, they do not just stand there waiting for you to share the cash with them. While the main scammer is “negotiating” with you, his affiliates will very often try to pickpocket you.
The bottom line: if you see that you are being approached by one of these people, tell them straight away that you are not interested and quickly put your hands in your pockets, ignore what they are saying and if possible try to walk away.
I would recommend you have a few Euro coins in your pockets all the time in case you forget about scams like this and fall into their trap before remembering what you have just read.
Found this tip useful? Share it with your friends and spread the awareness. Also, have a look at popular “Cups and ball” scam on Westminster Bridge in London, UK.