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Paris taxi scam

I thought I had educated myself enough on all of the possible scams when we travelled to Paris in October 2015, but we walked right into this one. After arriving at CDG we went to the taxi stand to queue up. We no sooner walked out when the young girl in charge of assigning taxis asked if we were American (1st red flag). She then took us out of the queue and sent us to a taxi not in the taxi line (2nd red flag). Had a very nice driver in a very nice car. When we got to our hotel, he told us he did not take cash, only credit cards (3rd reg flag). Of course, after running 3 cards, which all declined, he then took cash. We found out from the concierge at the hotel that all taxis take cash. Sure enough, within a few days money was being drained from our bank account ($1500 by the time we stopped it). Once we returned to the states 2 weeks later, the charge cards started getting hit. All of the losses were guaranteed, but we felt very foolish, since in hindsight, it was all so obvious.

Posted by
20972 posts

Actually the first red flag probably was the young girl in charge of assigning taxis. I doubt seriously if she was in charge but someone just working the line. How close were you to the front of the line?

Posted by
97 posts

thanks for sharing. try not to feel bad, these guys/girls are professionals

Posted by
707 posts

Don"t let these scam artist get you down! They love to hit us at moments when we're most distracted. Most all the people on this forum are honest hard working people who share a love of travel and we naturally don't automatically distrust everyone we come in contact with so eventually the chance of falling prey to a scam artist is ever present. Remember, your a good person and when our lives are finally over that's all that counts!

Posted by
2 posts

First, it seemed this young women was working there since she was helping other people on the queue. We just got in line when she asked us if we were American. Very possible she didn't work there.

Second, we had no other problems in Paris. We enjoyed our time there, and although we witnessed a few other scams, I.e., the girls with petitions, we never felt at risk. The taxi scam was very sophisticated. We just got off an 11 hour flight, so we weren't on top of our game.

Posted by
7311 posts

We need a giant sticky for the taxi lines. This is getting very bad. Thank you for sharing this terrible experience, and I hope it is of use to others.
Edit: did't catch that this was CDG. In any case everything I wrote is the same. Was your "taxi"out of view of the real taxis? Real taxis at CDG typically have to wait two hours in a holding area downstairs for their turn to come up to arrivals to pick up a fare. Not only are these crooks stealing from you, but they are also stealing from legitimate, trained, licensed drivers who have spent two hours waiting for a fare. It's not even legal for a cab to directly pick up a second fare when droping off a first fare at the airports and train station curbs. They must get into the line downstairs in order of arrival. If only the real drivers could spot the scammers.

For anyone reading this: the only person working the line is the man (yes in forty years I've only seen a man) at the curb or in the road next to the curb directing only the person at the very front of the line into a taxi. Two or three cabs may come up at once and only he will direct you into a cab. No one else is putting people into cabs. This is the best I could find for a photo:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2027/2350792207_cc1ceefdf9.jpg
You can barely make out the guy with the red jacket.

Unfortunately the police have their hands full with other problems at this moment, but someone should be out there shooing these crooks away. I hope you've reported this to airport authorities.

Posted by
2203 posts

nbraymond79 - I'm sorry this happened to you. Like you say, most of us aren't at the top of our game when we arrive in Europe after an overnight flight from the States. I know that my husband and I will be tired and disoriented when we land in Europe - which is why we make arrangements for a car service to take us to our hotel or train station. It is such a comfort to see someone holding a sign with your name on it as you walk out of the airport - no thinking required. That may not be "Europe through the Back Door", but it does make life easier.

Posted by
8009 posts

Thanks for posting. Thanks to this forum, I was very aware of the issues at Gare du Nord when I came thru there this Fall but did NOT think about it happening at CDG. I knew people approached you in the airport terminal after you exit customs or baggage claim asking if you want a taxi, but did not know they were working the line at the airport the way they do at Gare du Nord.

Posted by
646 posts

I've never been through CDG as we've always arrived in Paris by train from somewhere else, but Gare du Nord is scam city. I've met both the person trying to collect money for the deaf there and the person who would like to help you use the ticket machines. Rome Central Station is much the same. My basic rule is that anyone pulling you out a a line is a scam artist.

I don't blame you a bit though. Nice people trust people. Add jet lag on top and you have nice drunk person.

Posted by
11613 posts

Bets is right about taxi queues everywhere I've ever been - the expediter is at the front of the line and only one person or group at a time is directed to a taxi. I have been in taxi lines when someone in front of or behind me was approached by a "helper" and I have warned them to wait for their position in the queue to move up. Usually they take the advice.

Thanks for posting, glad you were not responsible for losses, but it still is terrible.

Posted by
3040 posts

At least once, we have arrived at an airport - - can't remember where - - where there is a kiosk selling taxi scrip just before the exit doors. This arrangement eliminates the scam possibility described here. The ride is paid for, and only official taxis can redeem the scrip. It also eliminates the practice of taking unsuspecting tourists on a "scenic" route and other shady practices. It's such a perfect solution to taxi shenanigans I can't understand why this arrangement isn't more widespread.

Posted by
8293 posts

So, Rosalyn, are you saying that the scrip price us the same no matter where in Paris you are going from the airport?

Posted by
12139 posts

Rosalyn; Budapest had a similar system to what you describe for years. The city was divided into 4 zones and each zone had a cost. I think they had to do it that way because prior the taxi service was pretty corrupt like it apparently is in Paris. Since then the government has gotten a handle on things and cleaned up the system and the quality of cars and drivers; and has established uniform pricing which now requires that the taxi companies compete on the quality of the service not the cost. The result has been remarkable and very positive. I haven't heard of a taxi complaint in years. How many cities can say from airport to tourist district hotel is under $30 with tip.