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As the popularity of Paris continues to soar, so are the number of scams tourists need to look out for. During the last year, France has stolen multiple titles from some of the top tourist destinations in the world. This development is far from shocking, since this European nation boasts some of the most revered attractions in the world. From the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, there are plenty of reasons to fall in love with Paris. In 2018, over 19.1 million tourists descended upon the French capital. This was a 9.7% growth from the previous year, which allowed Paris to dethrone London as the most visited city in Europe.
Despite reaching record heights, this tourism bonanza is poised to get even bigger. Due to its strategic location between the UK and Italy, France is easily the most visited country in the world. In 2018 the country welcomed 89.4 million tourists, and they are projected to exceed 100 million international visitors in 2020. All these visits translate to big business for Paris, since this booming metropolis makes its way onto most visitors’ itineraries. In 2018 alone, tourists spent a staggering $14.06 billion in French capital.
On top of catching the eye of many corporations, this huge amount of investment isn’t overlooked by scammers. Faced with a never ending amount of fresh faces, plenty of crooks are cashing in on this bonanza. Even though a majority of tourists have a great time in Paris, there are a few tricks to look out for. Knowing what to avoid will help save your trip from unnecessary headaches. For this reason, we compiled a list of the top scams to avoid in Paris. These tricks are just as complex as they are creative, so get a crash course on what to look out for in this gorgeous city!
Scam #3: Ball Trick – When walking around major tourist attractions, visitors will see a group of people huddled around a man shuffling various cups. This spectacle sticks out from the other attractions, since everyone is gambling vigorously. Shouting loudly, they fail miserably while attempting to guess where the ball is under the cups. Even though this street trick is entertaining, spectators rarely leave with their finances intact. Unbeknownst to the visitor, most of the gamblers are in on the trick. They purposefully bet on the wrong cup to incentivize the victim to start gambling.
Once you start participating, the real games begin. Through a sleight of hand or removing the ball completely, the shuffler ensures that you lose your bet. These settings are ideal for pickpockets, since the unsuspecting tourist is focused exclusively on the cups. Avoid this pitfall by not gambling with strangers. Even if it appears to be an easy win, the odds are rigged for you to lose.
Scam #2: Fake Taxis – Even though the city is cracking down on these con artists, visitors still need to be careful when picking rides in Paris. While a majority of taxis are licensed and have meters, some unscrupulous characters execute a slew of scams. From sleight of hand change tricks to robbing luggage, the list of tricks they implement is endless. At the very least they will overcharge you, so be on the lookout for warning signs. Don’t take rides in battered cars, taxis with no meters or vehicles with overly pushy drivers. The safest thing to do is catch an Uber, or use the public transit to avoid taxis all-together.
Scam #1: Golden Ring – Out of all the scams to look out for, this is one of the most novel tricks we heard in France. When visiting tourist hotspots, foreigners are regularly approached by a woman with a ring. She will claim to have found it on the ground and ask you if it’s yours. When the victim declines, the woman will point out how valuable the ring is and attempt to sell it to them. Even though the ring says 18K gold, don’t fall for this scam. This is a cheap knockoff that’s cloaked in platinum plating, so it isn’t worth purchasing. Avoid overly helpful strangers, since their creativity knows no bounds.
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