1) Pop up perfume shop or truck – Also, known as the free perfume scam
They use marks (fake buyers) to get you to buy either fake goods or overpriced goods. Often located in high-value neighbourhoods and often targeting tourists.
Sometimes, these locations will give away freebies to start with and then get marks to buy into other ‘deals’, this continues until you end up spending £100s on perfume that is worth pence!
2) 3 card monte or 3 cups betting
One of the oldest scams in the book, found in every tourist city worldwide. Always avoid!
3) Overpriced Rickshaw / tuk tuk drivers
Sometimes charged per minute, these bikers prey on those who don’t speak English and want to experience London. Some are legit but always agree a price up front first.
4) Flowers / Friendship bracelets / Heather given to you
You take it as you think it’s a gift, they then ask for money. They refuse to take it back, demanding up to £20 for it. Be forceful or drop it on the floor. Often they will approach on bridges or other tourist traps where people are taking photos etc.
5) Fake homeless people making up to £35K a year
Most homeless people are not fake but some are, be careful, offer food instead of money if you’re unsure.
Probably the worst of the lot as they can ruin your holiday. Watch this video around the 2 minute mark to see if you can spot how quickly it can happen.
7) Fake transport/theatre tickets
Someone in the street (often in a tourist location like Trafalgar Square or outside big theatres) says they cannot go to a certain sold out famous theatre production or sightseeing trip so wants to sell the tickets, they’re either fake tickets or the tickets aren’t as good as they say they are and by the time you find out it’s too late! Sometimes they’re copies of real tickets that get sold multiple times, the first person to use the fake gets in but the rest are left disappointed.
8) Fake monk
We’ve seen these fake monks in London, Prague, Edinburgh and heard of them in Australia, Hong Kong and Thailand. They go around giving out fake golden tokens, bracelets or blessings etc and then demand donations, sometimes showing you a clipboard with the amounts others have donated.
All monks on the street are fake if they’re asking for money, avoid them and call them out to other tourists nearby!
9) Spiked drinks / drugged
This happens worldwide and is less of an issue in the UK compared to most places in Asia/South America etc but it still happens. You get given a drink, then you wake up the next day/several hours later and you’ve been robbed.
10) Windscreen washing scam
Often Eastern Europeans will approach your car to wash your windscreen whilst you’re waiting at traffic lights, often they will pour soap on your windscreen whether you want it or not, they then ask for payment, it’s classed as begging which is illegal 1. Other reports indicate when you do go to pay they pretend to drop the money back into your car by mistake, you then feel like you should give over replacement money or even a bank note if you have no change, the ‘coin’ they dropped in the car was just a piece of metal rubbish using slight of hand.