Hey people, I just made a list to help you AVOID scams in New York City! I took some of them from other sources and they are all cited at the end of the post 🙂 hopefully you enjoy!
2 rules for smart tourists:
– DO NOT take ANYTHING that anyone is trying to hand you on the street.
– IF A PERSON SPEAKS A WORD OR TWO IN YOUR LANGUAGE, DO NOT ANSWER
(they memorize a couple phrases to get their ”targets” attention)
As someone said in a website: “Don’t accept CDs, prayer cards, or pose for photographs with any of the
costumed characters. This is not Disneyland, this is New York City. I
would think it would be common sense among people, even tourists, to not
accept ‘free’ gifts from complete strangers. It will cost you.”
1- Times Square cartoon characters
As soon as you take a picture with them, they start screaming: “TIPS! TIPS! MONEY! MONEY!”
They are mostly immigrants who stand at Times Square for hours hunting for tourists and playing cool…until you are done taking your pictures. They will chase and scream at you if you don’t tip! Most of them are not even happy with a dollar; they demand $5, $10…
2- Sneaky Hot Dog Salesmen
Most street food carts
are a fine way to snag a quick meal on the cheap. Some falafel, taco,
and chicken-and-rice carts even maintain a devout local following (check
out the finalists of the 2009 “Vendy Awards“).
But not all can be trusted. Beware carts that don’t post their prices.
If anyone tries to bully you into a $3 hotdog, look appalled and walk
away. In many cases, the vender will then drop the price down to normal
“just for you.”
3- Subway car performers
Some of these scam artists will insist for money and if you do not look up, they will yell at you, say you have no love, no compassion and bla bla. A lot of children work inside the subway cars and I am pretty sure there is a whole structure behind of it! ( meaning adults trying to rip people off using kids dancing in the subway car)
“These groups of kids get on the train, blast really obnoxiously loud
noise (I won’t call it music, as it’s really just random beats, no discernible song), and then they beg for money. It’s really obnoxious,
really loud, as far as I can tell just serves to piss people off.
Busking is one thing, with hard work and talent, but this seems to
really just be harassment.”
4- Basketball team scam
“Excuse me. Sorry to bother you sir. I’m out here trying to raise
money to buy jerseys for my basketball team. Right now we only need
[20-40] dollars. Would you be kind enough to help?” At this point, the
teenager shows you his or her clipboard filled with text that you’re
never going to read about said scammer’s basketball team. You feel so
bad (“how are they going to play without jerseys?!”) that you hand over
$10, an act of charity that enhances your morale until the next day,
when you hear the same exact speech from another stranger. This scam
became so redundant that teenagers selling candy now often begin their
pitch with “I’m not raising money for no basketball team.” Finally, some
truth in this city!
5- Word Trade Center ”book with pictures of the tragedy” sold by a lot of scammers in front of the memorial
A looooot of people stand there trying to sell ”books” with the tragedy’s pictures. I have a problem with people
making money on the 9/11 events, while the families, and those who helped
at the site are still hurting; these SCAM artists are ripping people off with their stupid books.
6- FREE Comedy shows
”The pests of New York City are notorious. Sewer rats, pigeons
(“flying rats”), squirrels (“rats with cuter outfits”), bed bugs,
cockroaches, and the guys who sell comedy tickets in Times Square.
Tourists fall for their crafty sales pitches, locals avoid them, I fell
for one’s charm and good looks.
Like bed bugs in a street curb sofa, they infest the area, preying on
all those they come in contact with. A walk on Broadway from 42nd
Street to 50th guarantees multiple accostings: “Do you like stand up
comedy?” “Want to be part of a taping of a live show?” “What are you
doing tonight?” At best they are obnoxious, at worst aggressive to the
point where you buy a ticket just so they leave you alone. That’s
probably how they make half of their money. The other half comes from
sales made by promises of headliners who never show and exorbitant drink
minimums they neglect to mention.”
7- CD Scams
The CD scam is a relatively recent one that takes place in the crowded
streets of Times Square in New York City. Someone will come up to you
and hand you their CD. Almost instantly, he will accuse you of not
paying for it and a few of his friends will come around to make sure
that you do. To protect yourself against this, try to avoid taking the
CD or lay it on the ground if you do.
8- The MetroCard scam
New Yorkers know not to buy a MetroCard from anyone who isn’t an MTA
employee or machine. In fact, it’s illegal to sell them if you don’t
work for the Transit Authority. But tourists — who are easy enough to
spot — are frequently propositioned with cards of little or no value by
scammers who use intimidation to exploit the wide-eyed, sheepish
newbies and visitors into buying “discounted” cards for more than
they’re worth. Why? Because it works! Take a guy like John Jones,
for instance. The Bronx man claims he’s made as much as $20,000 in a
year selling cards he found on the street and in stations, all of which
have some leftover value on them. The MTA has acknowledged that lost or
unused MetroCards can account for as much as $52 million in revenue a year.
And they enacted a $1 replacement fee for cards in 2011, and now earn
$20 million a year from that. They’re getting your money regardless. So
maybe it’s the MTA we should be mad at for running a system that makes
the scam so easy. Guys like John Jones are just driving a truck — or,
more accurately, a train — through a loophole of the MTA’s making.
9- The “Money First, Keys Later” Scam
Steer clear of New York Craigslist apartment ads that, in a
nutshell, say money first and keys later. Are you a slightly naive
newcomer to the city of dreams? Have you heard friends tell you how
lucky they were to get apartments at miraculous deals off Craigslist?
Despite your misgivings, you give the ad site a go, reaching out to
owners of all the apartments and/or rooms you fancy. Some responses are
outright fishy. Others are more intricate in their guile, like the
elderly couple retiring in London and asking for $700 a month for a
furnished one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side, eloquently
stressing how long they’ve lived in it and the qualities of the tenant
they’re looking for. But ultimately the con is the same: out-of-town
apartment owners — at a new job in Indiana or retiring overseas — who
want you to take care of the apartment while they are away;
unfortunately, they left with the keys to the apartment because they
couldn’t find a buyer in time. How will you view the apartment? You can
“stop by the building to have a look at its surrounding.” S/he or they
will not let you access the apartment until you’ve signed a lease
agreement and paid the first month’s rent. This is sure to set off alarm
bells in some heads, so for the skeptics, the confolk add twists. They
are not asking for rent or a deposit, just the insured cost of shipping
the keys. The FTC says to be wary of rental agents
or apartment owners who say they are out of the country and tell you to
wire money or sign an agreement before you’ve met. As a rule of thumb
to apartment hunting in NYC, if the deal sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.