Urban Scams #1: Cups and ball scam - Westminster Bridge - Urbansome.com

Urban Scams #1: Cups and ball scam – Westminster Bridge

Urban Scams Series

This is the first review in a series of “Urban Scams” presented to you by Urbansome.com. It 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 “Cups and ball” scam on Westminster Bridge in London, UK.

OK, let me tell you more.

Scam explained

For every Londoner scams and various attempts to be tricked into giving money is just a part of everyday life in the capital. From minor ones like fake charity collections to massive frauds where all the assets are stolen. However, people who are only visiting London are not aware of many of them, therefore, they are often easily tricked which means they lose money or valuable possessions.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear London? Big Ben? Yes, that is what most people think about straight away. Including scammers. As this iconic tower attracts nearly 17 million tourists a year it is a perfect place to be for scammers as well. This is normally what happens: people spend a bit of time near Big Ben, take some photos and then proceed to cross the Westminster Bridge where London Eye awaits on the other side. This is where it all starts. When crossing the bridge, which is quite long and opens beautiful views of river Thames and London’s panorama, tourists notice groups of people standing around phony “street performers”. The idea is simple: there are three cups and one ball. The “performer” then hides it under one of the cups and shuffles them around for 30 seconds or so. All you need to do is tell him which cup is the ball under and you win £10 (depends on how much you bet).

PLEASE REMEMBER THIS: YOU WILL NEVER GUESS IT RIGHT! It does not matter how quick your reaction is, you will NEVER win. Let me reveal another secret. 80% of these people watching them “perform” are their accomplices. They have signals and show each other which cup to select after the shuffle. You will see, normally women, making a correct choice and winning money which is meant to lure you into playing. You will see multiple “performers” on the bridge which actually belong to the same scam network. The “winners” change their location regularly so they do not look suspicious.


The bottom line:  “Cups and ball” is one of the most popular scams, yet a lot of people still fall for it. Be clever and do not be one of them by simply ignoring them and walking away. Have a look at the video below which shows these scammers in action.

Found this tip useful? Share it with your friends and spread the awareness. Also, have a look at popular “Friendship Bracelet” scam in Paris, France. Our “Urban Scams” series will cover many scams like this in different cities around the world, so do not forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and bookmark Urbansome.com.

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