Paris Gold Ring Scam
Paris is safer than many large cities, and you're unlikely to get murdered or mugged while riding the Métro or rubbernecking at the Moulin Rouge. However, the city is famous (or perhaps infamous) for its pickpockets, and scam artists--such as the String Men of Sacré-Coeur or practitioners of the "Petition" Scam--can be a minor annoyance.
One of the best-known Parisian cons is the. Here's how it works:
While walking near the Eiffel Tower on a Saturday, we were accosted by three separate "Gold Ring" scammers within an hour. Cheryl had fended off a ring scammer in the 9th arrondissement earlier in the week, so she was prepared:
"Is this your ring?"
"No. Did you find it? This is your lucky day!"
"You can have it for fifty euro."
"Oh, no. You keep it.
[Scammer looks perplexed, obviously thinking that she's encountered a tourist who doesn't know how the scam is supposed to work.]
"No, it's yours. You're so lucky that you found it!"
More photos of a Paris "gold ring" scammer:
In this photo, a ring scammer (blue sweatshirt) talks to a couple on a walking path above the Seine. The child is her son or apprentice.
After failing to con the couple or us (see dialogue above), the con artist goes down a staircase to look for better pickings along the quay.
Within a couple of minutes, she's found two victims. (The man in the center is taking money from his wallet.)
is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on European cities and transportation.
After 4-1/2 years of covering European travel topics for About.com, Durant and Cheryl Imboden co-founded Europe for Visitors (including Paris for Visitors) in 2001. The site has earned "Best of the Web" honors from Forbes and The Washington Post.