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The "ring scam" and "petition girls" in Paris.

Just trying to help out those who have not heard of these scams.. they are not new, and they are fairly common.

In both cases your ability to IGNORE strangers .. WALK on,, and NOT respond at all will keep you safe.. but most of us are used to answering people when spoken to.. or trying to help people. In Paris, just don't.

The ring scam is simple. You are walking along and someone ( can be man or woman ) will stop in front of you with a ring in their hand.. they will proclaim they just found it.. they may ask if it is yours( especially stupid when you consider they are in front of you .. so how would your ring get lost in front of you ..lol). They will then offer you the ring.. they will make up some tale that they cannot keep the ring.. its against their religion or some such thing.. and while you are now holding the FAKE gold ring they will then ask you for some money.. after all,, you have the "gold" ring.. isn't it worth it to give them 10 or 20 euros.. its obviously worth so much more.

ITs not , its polished brass. DO NOT STOP to chat in first place,, but if foolish enough to do so.. at least DO NOT allow them to hand you the ring or touch it.

The petition girls.. and they usually are youngish females.. will often be outside some touristy site.. asking people to sign a petition that has some vague cause like "to help deaf people" or " to keep children off drugs" etc.. They may start with a simple "do you speak english?" . WALK ON .. do not stop for them. .first off.. once you sign this phoney petition they will demand some money..making you think you HAVE to donate.. and secondly.. as they are now standing close to you.. there may be a few of them, one will try and pick pocket you while others distract you.

These scams are easy to avoid if you can simply learn to walk on,, don't slow down, do not respond to their "do you speak english"( think about it,, in your country do your petition gatherers walk up to tourists and say "speak Japanese" or "speak German" and try and get the tourists to sign petitions.. no of course not for goodness sake,,only citizens signatures are good on petitions anyways.. not tourists...

Ignore
Walk on

Posted by Vanessa
Kingston, Washington, USA
88 posts

We were in Paris over this past New Years week and saw this scam happening every place we went, especially at the Eiffel Tower. Usually it was one person who approached us, but one day there were at least 10 kids with petitions. We just walked past, but they are clearly targeting English speaking tourists.

Pat is right, just ignore and keep on walking.
Vanessa

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
7272 posts

The ring scam only works for the scammer if the "scammee" is also dishonest! If the tourist says "oh, yes, that is my gold ring! Thank you so much!" and pays 10 or20 euro to the scammer, who among us will sympathize when the gold ring turns out to be brass? It actually is very clever.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
3181 posts

We met some Canadians at a McD's (of all places - don't judge me, I needed free wifi..lol) near Versailles who got nabbed with the ring scam. And I've learned to ignore the petition ones after getting hit with it a few times in Italy - they were quite aggressive in Avignon outside the Pope's Palace...I just walked away with my hand up but one of the 'deaf and mute' girls grabbed hubby by the shoulder and said You Sign - despite being 'mute'. He just walked away. And they had signs in the gift shop of the PP telling people it was a scam and to ignore them.

Posted by jayhuf64
1 posts

My daughter had her phone stolen last week on the Champs-Elysees by people asking her to sign a petition for disabled children , two of them shoved the petitions in her face while a third robbed her...these people sound scarily agressive. I wish I had seen this post before she left for Paris!

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
7272 posts

All over the world, including the United States of America, tourists lose their cell phones to thieves. It doesn't just happen in Paris. Thievery takes place in your own home town.

Posted by Larry
Elkins Park, PA
1693 posts

And in my town, Philly, people have been shot and killed for their phones and handbags. I've not seen many (if any) reports of violence with the petty theft in Europe.

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
2302 posts

Keep in mind that the people working the rings, petitions, bracelets, etc, are all working. If you're not going to be profitable because you know their scam, they would rather move on to the next person. Show them by a brief shake of the head, facial expression, or hand gesture. They won't chase you down to sell you a gold ring. There's a sucker right behind you they'll go after. I can tell you from experience that they do get angry when you stop to tell another tourist to keep away. But I have survived the curses and hexes just fine.

Posted by Larry
Elkins Park, PA
1693 posts

"Working". Really? Are they also reporting their income and paying their taxes on this? And do they advertise this business, including a list of charges for their products? Do they have a place of business for you to come to for their services? Do they advertise (these questions are part of the IRS and SSA definitions of "employee" and "business" which are in their Regulations.) In Philadelphia over the past years there were a series of horrific street crimes with people beaten and/or killed for their pocket money and possessions when they resisted. The justification was that the perpetrators were simply "getting paid." That phrase is actually used on the streets. So I suppose these folks were also just "working" and should be allowed to do their "jobs".

What they are doing is indirect theft (by scamming) and direct theft while one is distracted.

And one is supposed to respect their right to do this when they get in your face, and not warn others when they do the same?

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
2302 posts

No, they are not working a legitimate job. They are not paying taxes; they are dishonest at best and likely to steal from you. I do not approve of the way they make a living, and I don't want to contribute to it. BUT, it is what they do, and they do not want to waste their time on a non "customer." So, if you wish to avoid them, you need to show them that their efforts would be useless. You don't need to engage or lecture them. Just a quick shake of the head lets them know to move on. No muss, no fuss.

It does amuse me to see them stop working the crowds and take a coffee and smoke break together.

Posted by gone
2081 posts

i had both those scams tried on me in Paris.

it was text book examples too. the girl that did the petition scam on me near the Eiffle Tower i saw later that day near the Grand Palace. I told here that she asked me near the Eiffel Tower and she turned and walked away. Apparently she can read lips real well even in english.

The ring scam was pulled on me but not until i stopped and pulled my camera out of my pocket to take pics on Champs Elysees. The guy went out of his way to do the scam. Not really subtle either. sort of like a changing directions and crossing 3 lanes of traffic.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1750 posts

Omg, this has gotten so far off the topic. Suggest some people here take a breather and go back to the original topic.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
3181 posts

May be time for a moderator to step in and delete some of this. Karen ((Edit - justkaren...not Karen!)) seems a bit...confrontational...one of her other postings to a question was a little rude-ish as well. But that's the bad thing about faceless internet postings - we don't really know how to 'read' things and a lot of times things are taken the wrong way (tho, not in this case, I guess). Now, my New Years resolution was to not reply to posts that annoy me, life is too short for that crap...so this is my final say (even if provoked...lol)...but I think maybe this post should be cleaned up a bit. Have a good one!

Posted by Larry
Elkins Park, PA
1693 posts

And although I too know not to get involved in the vitriol that pops up on the internet, there comes a point where you simply cannot let someone get away with what they are saying when it leaves the assumption that, since it is not contradicted, that it is essentially the final opinion of those involved.
Especially when it comes to blatant racism on a forum that encourages the appreciation of all cultures, and has nothing to do with the express purpose of the forum other than to incite.
I sincerely hope she is done trying to justify her bigotry.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
4912 posts

Fortunately 'justkaren''s posts have been deleted (either by her or the webmaster). Unfortunately several responses now sound pretty strange - the old 'hanging chad' thing again.

Posted by Larry
Elkins Park, PA
1693 posts

Webmaster took them off, just heard from her. So I am deleting my no-longer needed responses. Nice to see the support I had once I took it on
This post will also destruct in a day or two...

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
3181 posts

Applause for the Webmaster - and I should have said 'justkaren', not to be confused with the other Karen posting replies... :)

Posted by Larry
Elkins Park, PA
1693 posts

BTW Nicole, passed through Truro summer 2012, overnight stop, very pretty place.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
3181 posts

Larry - hope you made it to Victoria Park - that's usually where we direct people :)
BTW - check out the 'What If' post in this same section...more of the same at the bottom ;p

Posted by Larry
Elkins Park, PA
1693 posts

Oy--"What if..." had seemingly ended. And now she's on that. At least it's not as blatant there. Let's let Pat deal with it, especially the anti-Canadian stuff (or you can have at it...)
I believe we were right by Victoria Park at a very nice Saturday AM farmer's market. Truro was our stopover going from Halifax to Hopewell Rocks.

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
2302 posts

I may change my name to So Much More Than Just Karen.

Posted by pat OP
victoria, Canada
10805 posts

Just came back from work, stepson karate class.. and dinner out .. whew.. Removed my posts because of course then now make no sense. I am a very "spirited " poster myself.. but that other stuff that appeared was as bad as I have seen on any forum.. and certianly not suitable for a travel forum.
And Karen.. I think " so much more then Karen" is two thumbs up.. lol

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
3181 posts

Larry - I'll leave the defense of Canada to Pat ;)

Glad you saw the farmer's market! Too bad you missed the park...now...back to the scams!

Posted by Larry
Elkins Park, PA
1693 posts

But we did see the Tidal Bore twice. Fascinating. Watched the river for close to an hour the first evening.
I must tell you, given that Truro was only a planned stopover, we had just spent 4 days in Halifax and absolutely loved the city. What a great vibe we encountered there. But I think next time we go there (and we will return to Nova Scotia) we will fly in from Philadelphia. It's just too many car hours between here and there. Which will bring us through Truro after renting a car, as what we did not get to do on that trip, because of the length, was the Cabot Trail.

But I suppose this is WAY off topic!

Posted by mike
Florida
5 posts

A few weeks ago in Berlin I was approached by a pretty young lady near the Reichstag building seemingly deaf asking me to sign a petition for (I suppose) for the advancement of services for the hearing impaired. I signed it and volunteered 5 Euros then was politely advised via some polite hand language/gestures that the minimum donation was 10 Euros. Having a close family member that is deaf made the cause more personal to me but I soon realized after walking away short some cash that I was scammed. I always thought if you look up "cynicist" in the dictionary you will see my picture. Sadly it is now next to the definition of "sucker." A cheap lesson for overall a great trip to Europe.

Posted by trtodd
2 posts

Just got back from Paris last Wednesday (June 11) and saw lots of the petition wielding "Romas" (aka Gypsies). I was approached at least 5 separate times, including near Notre Dame, Hotel de Ville, and some Metro stations. Always younger women, always asked if we spoke English, and one in particular was VERY aggressive, even grabbing my arm to insist that I sign. I was warned at Notre Dame that they were pickpockets, and I've seen the same warning on other forums. Give them a wide berth.

Posted by Diana
Michigan, United States
677 posts

We saw the same Romas/Gypsies or whatever you want to call them, in Paris. Young women asking for money or to sign a petition. They never asked me but did my husband a couple of times. I warned him about it so he knew they were trying to get his money. Once in Gare du Nord & outside of Notre Dame. As long as you know about these people and keep moving or say a firm No Merci, you should be fine. Just don't stop!

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
9818 posts

Quite true, they work the crowds both in and out of Gare du Nord, esp. as I have noticed, if you happen to be standing alone. I don't recall if they are at Gare de l'Est, most definitely nowhere as frequently, since these two stations I am most familiar with and am there (both) each visit in Paris. Bottom line, expect to see them, avoid and ignore them, keep walking.

Posted by gaonmnd
2 posts

We were in Paris June 23 and the "petition girls" were really working the Notre Dame area, we were approached three times. We just said NO and waved them away and had no problem. And near the Churchhill Statue we were checking our map when the ring man approached! It was possibly the biggest goldish ring I've ever seen--we laughed--he left.

Posted by Frank
Minneapolis, MN
34 posts

Here is how I handled both scams while in Paris this past June.

While walking outside the Musee D'Orsay a gold ring appears at my feet. Aware of this scam, I ignore the ring and keep walking. Five steps later the gold ring appears again at my feet, and I decide on a different approach. I throw up my hands, look to the sky, and exclaim "there are gold rings everywhere, where are all these gold rings coming from?" As I repeat myself, locals smile and tourists are perplexed, but the elderly gypsy lady behind me is not happy and is offering up multiple hand gestures and muttering something I don't understand. I think she put a curse on me. I smile and begin walking away. Since I noticed her following me about ten steps back, I duck behind a column. After a few seconds, I peak out and notice she is also peaking out from a column behind me. She sticks out her tongue at me. I laugh and wave to her. She smiles and walks away

At Eiffel Tower petition girls are present in full force. It only took a few minutes for one to approach me and ask "do you speak English?" I responded "no, but that Japanese family over there (poining) speaks English." I kept walking, but was still able to catch the astonished look on the girl's face.

Posted by pat OP
victoria, Canada
10805 posts

Just got back from 8 days on Paris( July 13-21) .
Saw petition girls once , they did not approach us however.
Didn't even see the ring scam once( usually I at least see it happen once, but this was a short visit this time) .
No " speak English? " girls approached us, bit then we were not in the very touristy areas much thisvisit, I recall them hanging out by the Champs and Notre Dame before.

Posted by Nancy
Beaverton, Oregon
669 posts

We've been in Paris for the past three weeks and have been approached by the petition girls as well as the ring scam people. We've been approached numerous times by the "speak English" people. Paris is packed with people right now, so lots of opportunities for them.

Posted by Colette
Home_Sweet_Home :-)
507 posts

Thanks to everyone for their input of their observations.

Has anyone seen these scams in the Charles DeGaulle airport, or are the police good at keeping the gypsies out? This is one trip where I will not be in Paris.

BTW, should you have an old nonworking cell phone, consider carrying it In an easy-to-get-to pocket if you want a smile. Why? B/c whoever should take it is in for a surprise when they find it does not work. I read a story where one American got rid of 4 nonworking phones this way. (be sure to clear memory 1st.)