This article helps you identify the scams in Paris that you might face as a tourist. From pickpockets to street scams in Paris and other popular Paris tourist scams – we’ve got them all listed so that you can enjoy a “scam-free” trip in the city!
Paris scam #1- The lost jewellery scam
This one is the oldest trick in the book- If anyone approaches you saying they have found a valuable ring, and to ask if it’s your- it’s a big old tourist scam.
The ring is, of course a cheap fake, but they will try and convince you to buy this ‘lucky find’ off them. Sometimes this can be used as a decoy whilst a fellow swindler pickpockets you.
Paris scam #2- The ball and cup scam
What seems like a simple game, is a scam waiting to get you! It may be obvious to some, but many people get caught out with this trick. If you see a crowd watching someone move around upside down cups to hide a ball asking the spectators to make you bet money on where the ball is hidden, just walk straight past, unless you’re prepared to part with a lot of money on a complete scam.
The scammer will allow you to win for the first couple of turns in order to make you bet larger amounts and before you know it, you’ve been cheated out of crazy amounts of money. They might appear to be acting solo, but they are usually working in a group, with fellow scammers acting as participants in the crowd to encourage the unsuspecting crowd to place bets. Again, this can also be used as a distraction whilst you get pickpocketed. They also try and get children involved to place bets!
Paris scam #3- The fake signature scam
This is very popular in Paris, especially in the very touristy spots around the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Montmartre. It is often young girls asking tourists to sign their ‘petition’ for a good cause, they usually claim to be helping handicapped children. Upon signing, they will be quick to point out that the previous people to sign donated a generous amount to the ‘charity’ as a way of pushing you to giving money too. This petition is, of course, a fake.
Paris scam #4- The metro ticket scam
In this scam, the scam artist can be found near a metro station and targets tourists who are unfamiliar with the metro ticketing system. These metro stations include Porte Maillot, Gare du Nord and Charles de Gaulle Etoile. The scammers will pretend to be obliging commuters, or ticket officers and offer to sell you discounted metro tickets so you can avoid using the machines, whilst in fact they are completely ripping you off! This is a big Paris tourist scam and to avoid falling prey to this scam, use only the ticket machines to purchase tickets. Or ask an official officer behind the help desks, located in most metro stations.
Paris scam #5- The bracelet scam
This scam usually takes place on the steps leading up to the Sacre-Coeur. The scammers will extend their hand as if trying to shake yours then tie a string around your wrist to make a ‘bracelet’ and then demand money for it. To avoid, don’t even stop to converse with them, just walk straight past.
Paris scam #6- Fake taxis
To avoid being caught in this scam, we advise either booking your taxi through a recognised company such as G7, Le Cab or Uber, or stick to the designated taxi points at the airports and train stations.
Paris scam #7- Newspaper and phone scam
Whilst at a bar or busy restaurant, if you’re seated outside, beware of this scam! The scammer will suddenly com up to you and place a newspaper on top of a mobile phone, and while you are distracted by the newspaper, the scammer steals your phone.
Paris scam #8- The ATM scam
It may seem obvious, but you should always keep an eye out when you are withdrawing money at ATM’s to ensure that there isn’t anyone peering over your shoulder, especially young children, who will try to run off with your money/ card.
Pickpockets in Paris
Make sure you keep a close eye on all your belongings at all times especially the popular tourist areas like Eiffel Tower, Louvre etc. Read our article on Pickpockets in Paris for more details!