In Paris, Someone Will Try To Sell You A Gold Ring
Paris, best known as the Big Eclair, has no shortage of scammers looking to exact revenge on tourists who think that French is just English spoken slowly and with increasing volume. One of the most common tricks is the gold ring scam, whereby someone will "find" a gold ring at your feet, ask if it's yours, then offer to sell it to you when you say no. Usually there's an excuse for why they don't want it themselves, like a male scammer approaching a woman and claiming it's a woman's ring, but lucky for you they could use a bit of cash and will happily hand it over for 10-20 Euros. Or there might be a sob story. They would love to keep the ring, but what they would love even more is to feed their children. The ring, of course, is about as worthless as one from a cereal box.
Marco Verch/flickrIf they persist, feel free to show this photo and let them know that you're good for pretend gold, thanks.
It sounds moronic, but like with so many scams, it works because the crook is talkative and pushy. They can shove the ring into your hand and start badgering you for money before you've fully processed what's happening, and then you're the foreigner worried about being rude or making a scene in a strange city. But they usually give up when challenged, because scams like these are all about the raw number of targets. So you just have to stay calm and collect yourself.
Travel forums tend to be full of the latest sightings and strategies, and Parisian police have started to crack down by putting officers around major tourist hubs. Just be wary if a stranger is suddenly claiming to be an expert jeweler, especially if there's someone with them who might be stealing your wallet while you're distracted.
The scam is so ubiquitous in Paris that frequent visitors treat it like a rite of passage. In 2018, a variation was spotted in Northern California and western Canada wherein someone supposedly desperate for gas money will try to sell you their "gold" jewelry. Whatever you may encounter, you can pretend to not speak the language, or just keep saying no until they move on to another target. If they're unusually determined, maybe try spinning a story about how the last time you wore a gold ring, it led to a terrible war.
New York Has A Fake Statue Of Liberty Tour (Which Alec Baldwin Fell For)
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, which of course means that grifters are trying to milk all they can from the huddled masses of suckers checking it out. If you want to visit Liberty Island, there is only one official way to do so, and that's by taking an $18.50 ride with Statue Cruises, who have an exclusive government contract. But when you approach the harbor, aggressive touts will try to sell you on their own cruise.