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The Latest Scam

Pont des Arts

The “Excuse me, is this your ring?” scam may not be new, but I’ve had three people in one day try it on me (I was in a very fashionable shopping district of the 16th arrondissement, too, not in a touristy area).

It works like this: someone walks near you on the sidewalk and appears to pick up a (rather ugly) gold (or probably brass) ring off the ground and ask if you’ve dropped it. Of course you say no, but while you’re looking at it they ask if you’d like to buy it. Wide berth, folks. Watch for wandering fingers.

This actually happened to me last year during a tour in St-Germain-des-Prés, but in a slightly different way. A woman pretended to find the ring (same exact ugly ring, I might add) on the ground near me and when I said it wasn’t mine she insisted I take it. Then she said it was her birthday and asked if I had any spare change so she could get a sandwich and coffee. I was in a good mood and gave her a euro. She asked for more, the cheeky monkey!

Anyway, be careful, and don’t be shy about just saying no and walking away. All big cities have pick-pockets and scammers trying to get your dough. They don’t need the money to eat (there are soup kitchens all over town for every meal — I volunteer at one and there are always leftovers), so don’t let the sob stories lure you in or you may find yourself without a wallet.

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  • Yes – this happened to me just today! I was caught off guard because it was a middle aged man and his son who was probably about 7 or 8. I didn't realise at the time that someone was watching us and about two minutes later he cycled over to me and explained what had happened and advised that I be careful in future as I was obviously from out of town!Ironically I've been to Paris many times (my best friend lives here) and this is the first time anything like that has happened to me. I'll be keeping my wits about me from now on!!

  • I used to live in Paris, and one of my dad's work colleagues had this scam pulled on him, I guess you would say. When the woman asked if it was his ring, he said 'yes', took it, and kept walking.

  • I even had the same person try that scam on me three times. He didn’t seem surprised at all when I told him so. The man in question "works" around boulevard Raspail in the 6th. I wouldn’t tell the police. They would just laugh in your face. The best tactic is just to keep on walking.

  • Just had the same thing happen to me in very residential and non-touristy areas of the 7th. Do you think the local police are aware of it? Usually they keep miscreants out of residential areas.