Nine Most Common Scams in Paris and Tips to Avoid Them

Geschreven door Nikhitha Kumar

mei 29, 2024


Paris attracts millions of tourists each year, thanks to its romantic ambiance, magnificent landmarks, and rich history. Unfortunately, like many other tourist spots, the city’s popularity also makes it a hub for various scams that target innocent visitors. These scams that frequently take advantage of tourists’ unfamiliarity with the local customs can ruin an otherwise perfect holiday. Here is a list of the most common scams in Paris along with tips on how to avoid them.

The Gold Ring/String Scam

This is one of the oldest and most prevalent scams in Paris. A scammer will “find” a gold ring or a string bracelet on the ground and approach you to ask if you dropped it. They would then offer the fake gold ring to you, insisting it’s a valuable find. If you accept it, the scammer will demand money as a gesture of goodwill. Politely refuse and keep walking to avoid such encounters.

Friendship Bracelet Scam

This scam is often encountered near Montmartre, where tourists are approached in a friendly manner. The scammer offers a friendship bracelet as a “gift” and ties it around your wrist. Once it is tied, the scammer becomes aggressive and demands payment, sometimes with the help of accomplices. To avoid this, keep your hands in your pockets or firmly say no and walk away.

friendship band scam in paris

Petition Scams

Petition scams are common near major attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. You’ll be asked to sign a fake petition for a “noble cause” by scammers pretending to be deaf or mute. Their accomplices might pickpocket you while you’re distracted. They sometimes demand a “donation” after you sign. The best defense is to never interact with them.

Restaurant Scams

Several restaurants in tourist areas may charge for items you did not order, deliver substandard food at unreasonable rates, or add on extra taxes, such as expensive service charges. Ask locals for advice, look up online reviews before selecting a restaurant, and always double-check your bill before paying to prevent falling victim to these frauds.

The Rose Scam

Young people or couples are often victims of this scam. In this city known for its romantic charm, scammers will approach tourists and offer them free roses. Once the rose is accepted, the scammer quickly changes tactics and demands payment, often insisting on an inflated price. This creates an uncomfortable situation, pressuring the tourist into paying just to avoid a scene. If a stranger offers you a rose on the street in Paris, remember it is not a romantic gesture! Firmly decline and walk away. 

ATM And Credit Card Scams

Sometimes ATMs have skimming devices attached to them that steal your card information. Scammers may occasionally offer to assist you with the ATM and then steal your card or PIN. Use ATMs inside banks, exercise caution when accepting assistance, and routinely review your statements to look for any fraudulent activities.

Street Performer Scams

Some street performers use their acts to scam tourists. They might forcefully demand money after a performance—much more than the act was worth. Few others use their performance to divert your attention while an accomplice picks your pocket. Enjoy the performances, but be careful with your possessions and offer a tip only if you think it’s worth it. 

Taxi Scams

Scams involving taxis are frequent, particularly when drivers find out you are unfamiliar with the area. They may quote high prices, take longer routes to increase the fare or pretend that their meter is broken. Use trustworthy taxi services, settle on a price in advance if the meter is “broken,” or use ride-hailing apps that offer fare estimates to avoid this. 

Taxi Scams in Paris

The Metro Ticket Scam

Scammers posing as officials or random street vendors will sell fake or expired tickets. Purchase tickets from authorized sellers only. 

Paris is a beautiful city with so much to offer, but like any major tourist destination, it has its share of scams. By staying aware and cautious, you can avoid falling prey to these common traps. Always trust your instincts, keep your belongings secure, and don’t be afraid to walk away from any situation that doesn’t feel right.

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