Brits warned of lesser-known travel scam that could leave you £250 out of pocket | #ukscams | #datingscams | #european

A common scan that is regularly deployed against tourists in Paris, France can see people separated from their belongings or several hundred pounds out of pocket

Watch out for the scam when it touristy parts of the French capital (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A common scam in tourist hotspots could leave you hundreds of pounds out of pocket or without some of your valuables.

While no one wants to assume the worst of their fellow humans, it is often useful to have the notion that not everyone has your best interests at heart somewhere at the back of your mind – especially when travelling.

Not knowing the local language, having a bright “I love (insert city here)” cap on or wearing a large bum-bag may all make it clear you’re a tourist, and a potential mark for those trying to separate you from your holiday cash.

One ruse that is particularly popular in Paris is the clipboard scam. If you ever find yourself being approached by a group of people smiling eagerly and offering you a pen in the City of Love, then make sure to have your wits about you.

The scam is regularly deployed in Paris(Getty Images)

“(It is) often carried out by a group of girls who approach you with a clipboard, this scam seeks to distract you by making you sign a petition to help people with disabilities or to fight some evil in the world,” writes Urban Insider.

“If you make the mistake of signing, they will generally relieve you of some of your valuables. In another version, they’ll demand you give money to their ’cause’ as soon as you sign. A good rule of thumb? Avoid people with clipboards!”

Although the shakedown post-signing is often minimal and limited to a few euros, the amount demanded has been known to far exceed this. One Reddit user recently recalled their experience.

“Random French women in Paris asking you to sign a petition to protect the stray dogs (written in French) but preying on tourists. So as soon as you sign it they then tell you you owe them €300 because that’s what the petition actually says,” they wrote.

The good news is that a contract signed under duress is not legally enforceable in France, so the scammers have no official means of making you pay. However, it can be easy to forget this when under pressure in a foreign country.

“If anything like this happens to you in a crowded tourist area just start speaking very loudly. In this case ‘I signed your petition for stray dogs and now you want me to pay 300 euros? That’s insane!’ Make sure you say it loud enough so the people ‘at the back’ can hear you,” one person advised.

On Tripadvisor one traveller recalled how they had been walking by Notre Dame when they saw a young American woman opening her bag to give a woman with a clipboard some money.

“The clipboard girl steps closer to the American girl. This gets the clipboard fairly close to the American, and blocks the view of the American girl from part of her bag and purse. So while the American is pulling a €10 bill from one end of her purse, the younger girl’s hand is reaching into the other end of the purse to extract an extra twenty euros.

“‘HEY!’, I yelled. The €20 euro bill falls to the ground. ‘She’s taking money from your purse!’, I exclaimed at the American. ‘I dropped it,’ she says , since she doesn’t yet understand what was going on. ‘No you didn’t. While you were taking money out, she was stealing more from you. They are thieves’.”

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