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I just stopped a scam!

We just reached our hotel in Munich. The taxi driver was nice and made small talk, and the bill with the tariff added to it totaled 13.20 euros. I handed him a 20 euro note and didn’t take my eyes off it (this forum is very helpful and I learned from reading your posts!!). He handed me back 1.80 euros. I told him it wasn’t enough and then he pretended like he was just learning math for the first time ever. I am so proud that I taught him subtraction. 😏

Posted by
1097 posts

Good for you. Although since there is no €15 note, it was a daft scam. Perhaps he just made a mistake? I bet that's the real reason.

Posted by
175 posts

Public transport is really good, but with all of our luggage I chose the easier route.

The cabbie could have easily made change with a 5 euro note and a couple coins.

Posted by
4777 posts

I would agree, not that clever of him. For the benefit of others, I have also seen a bill switch, "Oh, you handed me a ten, see"; also a handful of coins returned, a euro or two short, or in the case of a waiter I had, I let him know I wanted to pay for a 6 euro beer, gave him a 10, then he just never appeared again, I suppose thinking I would just walk off. Had to track him down for my change. Also in cafes, make sure you get a bill, preferably from their ordering system, just asking "how much" opens the door for a bit of padding (same goes for taxi's as well and meters.)

Posted by
1932 posts

Good for you! I hope your traveling companion(s) were impressed.

I don't think I would use public transportation to avoid getting cheated by a cab driver. You're just swapping one risk for different ones.

Posted by
12 posts

Good for you. I guess my wife and I were just unlucky--
On a recent trip to Paris we were on a bridge going from the Eiffel Tower to the Trocadero when we both spotted a gold ring several steps in front. A lady scooped it up and told us that we had dropped the ring. Clearly, she had gotten there first. Our bad luck!

When we got to the other side of the river we paused for a rest on a bench when nearby a young man attracted a crowd by placing a small ball under one of three cups. He moved the cups into different positions and then challenged an elderly lady to identify the proper cup (50 E) was involved. She won every time! I could tell EXACTLY which cup had the ball! Unfortunately. the group moved on (including the elderly lady) before I could get off the bench

We're happy to report that the rest of our trip returned to good luck--great food, awesome hotel, wonderful tour mates, and an unbelievable RS Tour guide.

Posted by
20565 posts

I always make it a practice of identifying the bill as I hand it to him. This is a 20?, 50? -- like I am not sure of the number. Dumb tourist who doesn't know local currency. Or I might had to said to him also, give me a 5. Implying a 1.80 tip. Had the fare been 14.20, probably without question, I would have said, "I will take a five." And to the best of our knowledge we have never been short changed although a couple of times at ticket windows the second half of the change has been slow in coming. In those cases, I leave the money in full view until all has been received.

Posted by
12084 posts

Great! "...learning math for the first time ever." ....Nice answer from him. Maybe he was "bescheuert" (idiotic) and should try arithmetic before moving on to math. Too bad you didn't have exact change to hand over.

"They" play this bill switching game, I would have barked at him, "Sie haben sich um fünf Euro verrechnet."

Luckily, those very few times I've taken a taxi in Germany, I never ran into this sort of scam . I am also choosy as to whose taxi I get into.

Posted by
2760 posts

we paused for a rest on a bench when nearby a young man attracted a crowd by placing a small ball under one of three cups.

That's the well-known Three Card Monty (not to be confused with The Full Monty). I almost got sucked into one 40 years ago in London. I guess I had been watching too intently, and was invited to participate. I was able to squirm away.

Posted by
1834 posts

Athens, about a decade ago....took a taxi (and I had researched to find the general approx fare from the airport to our hotel). When we arrived, the meter was showing in that ballpark,but then as we arrived at the hotel, the driver added a significant amount (maybe 20) to it. I calmly just told him that I only had cash for a certain amount, to wait (while my husband stayed outside with our luggage...I am not that stupid) so I could go inside to the small hotel's front desk to get more cash. He smiled.

I explained what we were presented with to the front desk who confirmed that was not right.....the driver was nervously pacing in front of the entry door......they came out and set him straight....we paid what the front desk advised and off he went.

The local newspapers at the hotel had a lot of stories about taxis overcharging. Since then, a couple of years later, Athens implemented a mandated flat rate for airport transfers.

But, the ole adage: "If something does not seem quite right," check it out in a safe manner before falling for what is presented.

Posted by
4062 posts

Could have also been an innocent mistake. I hate that everyone assumes everyone in Europe is scamming them all the time.

Posted by
175 posts

To those who think this was an innocent mistake - there is no way this was the first time in this man’s life that he performed simple subtraction. He was about 55 or 60 - not 7 years old. This is what he does for a living - drive people around, take money, and give change back. He absolutely was attempting to rip me off.

Posted by
4062 posts

I’ve had people give me incorrect change and then realize their mistake all the time. I still hate that you think everyone is trying to rip you off over here.

Posted by
175 posts

:o) I don’t want a medal. I just don’t assume that others are inherently good. If they happen to be good people, it’s a nice surprise for me. I am rarely disappointed in people because I understand that goodness is uncommon.

Posted by
5817 posts

Im sorry, but what a sad way to go through life!
I deal with 'death and destruction" (sometimes literally) as part of my job and I still think most people are inherently good.

It's a distinctly unpleasant feature of this site that people are "encouraged" to presume the worst in any situation. No one ever makes a mistake everythings a scam.

Posted by
688 posts

We had the RING scam tried on my mom on our first morning in Paris and again on our last day. I also caught a pickpocket eyeing us up on the funicular in Montmartre. No doubt in my mind on that one.

I think a pickpocket got $5 and some change from me one day in Paris too but I'm not 100% sure. Now i leave NOTHING but dirty facial tissues in those pockets....LOL

I had a cab driver in Paris pull the "I don't have change so we will need to go to the corner store down the street thing" I said sure....let's do that.....Magically he found the change, He lost out on a tip because of that stunt.

Posted by
688 posts

Emma, I think that maybe as a person who is in Europe or the UK, maybe you don't get targeted as much as "gullible" (not what we are but rather how the person that is committing the scam sees us) Americans or Canadians...... Maybe we get disproportionately targeted by these people because they might think we are an easier mark.

I traveled all over the US and Canada (Toronto, Miami, Montreal, Vegas) and never was the target or scams or pickpockets but on two 1 month long trips to France and the UK i was targeted more than once, Maybe that is why we are so fixated on this as it is new to us. Just an observation.

Posted by
4062 posts

I dress very American. All my clothes are from Target and we only speak English. I look like a tourist at all times, but in 12 years in Europe traveling just about everywhere, including Athens, Paris and Barcelona, not a single thing like this has happened to me or my family. Wonder why?

Posted by
273 posts

Michiganders are sharp Adrienne! Good for you - clearly a senior man driving a taxi knows arithmetic.

Posted by
23253 posts

I am rarely disappointed in people because I understand that goodness is uncommon.

How very sad.

I'm a realist and keep my wits about me but basically believe that most people are basically good.

I have just retired from a job where I dealt with some very nasty people over the years, and quite a few with some very serious problems, well over 99 percent of the people I dealt with were fine. Even the ones trying to end their own lives on the railway were mostly good people in a bad place in their lives.

I've seen buckets of goodness - even from people commuting every day in a tin can full to the ceiling.

Posted by
175 posts

I believe people typically do things that are good sometimes but I don’t believe that means they are good people. I think most people are ethically average. To be good, one must consistently act in an altruistic manner to humankind, to animals, and to the environment. They must also consistently choose to act ethically, and most of us don’t. So no, I don’t think humans are good on average. “Good” is a higher standard than most of us can achieve.

Posted by
8293 posts

Gosh. I know that where I live, my country, my city, my borough in my city, most people are good. Not perfect, but good. Yes, most of them are good. Not all are likeable but then I am not always likeable (hard to believe, I know) but most of the time I am good. Of course, much depends on your interpretation of the word “good”. If you mean “saintly” I have nothing more to say.

Posted by
12084 posts

The one time I got cheated that way by not getting the change due to me was a few years ago, not in Paris or by les français but in Austria. It was in Linz at a train station eatery where the price should have been a bit of 4 Euro but the woman charged 8 Euro. which I fell for.

While I was eating, I realised what had happened. What to do next, if anything? Let it go, confront this woman, start barking at her, etc. I had the impression it was deliberate on her part.

I decided against the confrontation scene, barking at her in High German , no problem doing that, but that would have been useless since she would've understood me but I would not have understood her Upper Austrian dialect, plus I figured she didn't know English anyway, plus why should she want to speak English anyway? Just for my sake? In the end I said nothing since the money means that much, almost like the incident in Les Miserables.

Posted by
6686 posts

Living in the country of robo-calls, constant upsell, hands out or counter containers for tips, stores asking if we want to round up for this and that and we're worried about other countries and losing a centime.

Posted by
1932 posts

Living in the country of robo-calls, constant upsell, hands out or counter containers for tips, stores asking if we want to round up for this and that and we're worried about other countries and losing a centime.

Good point, Bets! Your comment set my mind to thinking about how America came to be - by taking the land away from the people who were already here - and calling THEM savages!

Posted by
1097 posts

A year or two ago, I watched a TV programme about the lost property office of the London tube (not quite as dull viewing as it sounds!).

Every year tens of thousands of wallets, mobile phones and other valuables are handed in by people who've found them left behind on a train. Which suggests to me that (a) lots of people are good, and (b) perhaps some of those missing a purse or whatever weren't actually pick-pocketing victims but simply mislaid their own stuff.

There does seem to a bias on this forum that if anything bad happens to you in Europe then you must have been a victim - whether of gangs of pickpockets, individual dodgy taxi drivers or, indeed, whole countries apparently scamming Americans with traffic fines.

Posted by
4498 posts

Wow, this thread went from a feel good post about thwarting a scam to a diatribe against taking taxis, and accusations that the poor, gentle taxi driver was falsely accused by the horrible American.

Good for you Adrienne! You payed attention and saw you were being shortchanged. You spoke up and made sure to get your fair change. And you reminded the forum that this does happen sometimes and be on the alert.

BTW - I know of people that were shortchanged by attendants at the Paris Metro and with retailers. So it happens in lots of different scenarios, not just taxis.

Posted by
12084 posts

"...calling THEM savages....Not in New France, ie, the vast area of French North America. Most the tribes (there were exceptions) in that realm became allies of les français and stuck with les français until the end in 1763.