It can make you want to pay cash for most purchases, like I do.
If a bargain seems too good to be true...it’s too good to be true.
The “Found” Ring: An innocent-looking person picks up a ring on the ground in front of you and asks if you dropped it.
If an elderly woman falls down an escalator, stand back and guard your valuables, then...carefully..in to help.
The “Helpful” Local: Thieves posing as concerned locals will warn you to store your wallet safely — and then steal it after they see where you stash it.
The “Friendship” Bracelet: A vendor approaches you and aggressively asks if you’ll help him with a “demonstration.” He proceeds to make a friendship bracelet right on your arm.
When finished, he asks you to pay a premium for the bracelet he created just for you. That’s when he reaches in his car and pulls out a “designer leather jacket” which he’d like to give to you as a thank you for your helpfulness.
But don’t think it can’t happen to more sophisticated travelers, too.
There are many subtle ways to be scammed — a cabbie pads your fare, a shop clerk suddenly inflates prices, a public Internet terminal records your password, or a waiter offers a special with a “special” increased price.
And, since you can’t easily take it off on the spot, you feel obliged to pay up. Oh, and by the way, his credit card isn’t working, and could you please give him some cash to buy gas?
(These sorts of distractions by “salesmen” can also function as a smokescreen for theft — an accomplice is picking your pocket as you try to wriggle away from the pushy vendor.) Salesman in Distress: A well-spoken, well-dressed gentleman approaches you and explains that he’s a leather jacket salesman, and he needs directions to drive to a nearby landmark. He takes off with the cash, and you later realize that you’ve paid way too much for your new vinyl jacket.
Some cabbies or waiters will pretend to drop a large bill and pick up a hidden small one in order to shortchange a tourist.