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Another Paris scam - "Bird Poop"

This happened to us in June 2019 in Paris. We are a retired couple traveling on our own. We were reading a sign outside the Palais de la Decouverte near steps down into a park so our backs were turned to the walkway. Suddenly drops of liquid hit both of us. A woman came over and pointed up to the tree and said, "Oh madam, a bird has hit you." There were large drops of green "poop" all over us. The woman just happened to have a purse full of wipes and she started handing them to us. Then she said this is very bad, you need to come down here where there is water (pointing to the park) to wash this off. I started to get suspicious since out of the corner of my eye I had seen the man who was with her shake out what I thought was his water bottle, the attempts to get us to go with them continued, and the wipes which seemed to be the only contents kept coming out of the purse . Finally the couple left as we kept backing away. I still wonder what could have happened if we had gone to the restroom to wash but I'm glad we didn't find out the hard way. So, keep an eye out, know your surroundings, and do not turn your back!

Posted by
577 posts

Normally the bird poop scam involves pickpocketing. This new situation seems more sinister to me, since the thieves were apparently trying to entice you to a location where they could attack/rob you more openly. How alert and smart you were to recognize what was happening and back away. Thank you for sharing, very sorry you had to go through this.

Posted by
5727 posts

You were correct not to follow a stranger anywhere. Even what seem like benign encounters may lead to trouble. An example, is an art student offering to take you to see his paintings, etc. That poop encounter was rampant in Buenos Aires a few years ago.

Posted by
2796 posts

Good for you for not falling for this scam.
Were you actually covered in something, or was that going to be smeared on you from the guy's bottle of 'whatever'? If uou did jave sk ething on you, how washable was it.
I will admit I would be really ticked if they squirted something that ruins clothing.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you for the supportive comments. I thought I had read all the scam/warnings that had been posted before we left but unfortunately I missed this one.
I'm pretty sure the accomplice shook the "poop" out of his "water" bottle. This is the movement I caught out of the corner of my eye. When I looked over at him, he had his hands behind his back. It did wash out of everything except a spot on my hat - now my "souvenir"!

Posted by
1 posts

Last week we were a group of five Americans who were returning to the stop for the Batobus at the Pont Alexandre III near the Grand Palais. A couple started shouting something like "boats" or "bouds" at us. Then it became clear that they were warning us about birds. We found that we were covered with green liquid. The couple started swarming us by giving us wet wipes to clean us up. All five of us were hit.

I spoke to the couple in Spanish, even though they said that they were Italian. We never saw a bird, but we're covered with smelly green stuff. We walked back to the Metro to return to our apartment to clean up. Leaving the Metro station, One of our party grabbed a hand out of her handbag. Another found that her handbag was unzipped. The third found that two credit cards were missing from his wallet.

We were unaware of the bird poop scam and that the individuals that were helping us were the perpetrators of the scheme. They were an older couple and we were so overcome with the smell that we were not thinking is clearly as we should have been. It certainly showed us that perhaps we needed to travel individually or with one other person, because the larger group was vulnerable.

Posted by
7146 posts

Sorry this happened to you nan and merrie. Good to spread the word, although this scam and many others have been around for decades, it’s good to keep warning people that don’t know.

Posted by
613 posts

Had a similar in Barcelona. The thieves dropped coffee with cream off a balcony onto my wife. Sure did look like a bird with diarrhea.