10 Worst Tourist Scams in London


– Common tourist scams in London. I’m Chris, this is Yellow Productions. I do travel guides that
are fun, informative and entertaining and in this video I’m going to be sharing with you some common scams that often
target tourists in London. This is part of my series on London if you want to see more
videos about London like things to know and cheap eats, you’ll find links at the end or in the description below. But let me tell you how important this is, actually a couple of these
scams I was the target of. Actually some of my stuff was stolen, my video camera and things like that. So if you’re watching
this and you’re like, “Chris this video’s
kinda shaky, the audio’s not as good.” Well that’s because my main camera was actually stolen two days ago and I recorded a similar version of this video but with less of this personal experience of the thievery. So I’m gonna be talking about scams first, things that will rob you
of your hard earned money and then I’m gonna be
talking about thievery and tell you my experience of having my stuff stolen here in London. Common tourist scam number one, this is something that will happen to you if you’re using a foreign credit card or foreign debit card. It happened to us as soon as we got here to the airport and I’ll start with the ATM use case and then tell you about the point of sale use case. So the ATM use case for
this currency conversion happens when you go to an ATM and you use your foreign card, you put your card in, you
go to withdraw some money, and then the ATM will kindfully offer to withdraw it in your local currency instead of Great British pounds. So in my case the ATM
came up with a message and said, “hey, instead of withdrawing 300 Great British pounds, I the ATM could withdraw US dollars for you and you don’t have to pay
that foreign conversion fee that your bank will charge.” “And for the convenience of this, we’re just gonna charge you 12%.” Now most banks charge somewhere between 1 and 3 percent
for currency conversion. To give you an example, I pushed no and took out money as
Great British pounds, 300 Great British pounds in
US dollars was 362 US dollars. Great British pounds the offer for the ATM in US dollars was 410
so just by pushing yes, and accepting this offer I would of been scammed out of $50. So if you’re at an ATM make sure you do not select the currency conversion. Same thing happens at
point of sale terminals. So if you’re at Harrod’s
or you’re at Selfridges or high end department stores, you will see these same things, you’ll put your credit card in and it will come up and
offer, “hey, do you want to make this purchase in
Great British pounds or your local currency?” Here’s the picture of
actually what it looks like and at Selfridges when we told the staff we weren’t interested in
the currency conversion, we wanted Great British pounds, then the lady says, “well, you know what, Selfridges really recommends that you take it out in your local currency.” You know why they really recommend it? Because they make a lot of money on those currency conversions. And you might just be pushing yes because you think that’s
what you have to do to make the purchase and actually on these point of sale terminals to say no to the currency conversion you generally have to push the red cancel button which makes it seem like you’re canceling your transaction, in
fact you’re just saying no to this lousy offer. Okay, this one’s called
the newspaper distraction. This happens when you’re seated outside at a restaurant or a cafe, actually could happen inside. Anytime you’re seated at a table and you’ve got your valuable items in front of you on the
table like a cellphone, what happens is some friendly stranger comes up and they sit down at your table and they put their newspaper on top of the table and they start asking you, “hey, how’s it going? Where are you from?” You kind of brush them off because you’re not really interested in talking to them, or you are interested in talking to them but when they leave they pick up their newspaper and your stuff. So if anybody comes to your table and puts down a newspaper,
you should be concerned and make sure you didn’t have anything that was under it maybe say hey, right? Or actually, better yet,
don’t put your phone on your table and let it sit there because when people see
valuables in London, unfortunately it’s a target for them and they would like to
take it away from you. This one happens particularly on the Tube, with the rise in contactless card use to enter the Tube, meaning
you don’t just have to enter with your Oyster card, you can actually enter the Tube or the London Underground or the subway with a contactless Visa card. So because people do that, then there are people who will come up alongside you, they’ll watch
you use your contactless card and put it in your pocket, they’ll brush up against your side with a contactless card
reader and skim your card. And then use your card to buy things. The contactless card
limit is only 30 pounds, and so it’s not a lot of money but the way you can
prevent that is by using some RFID blocking sleeves
or get an Oyster card that doesn’t have that much money on it and don’t carry your
contactless cards with you. I have no contactless
credit cards in my wallet. Beware of pedicabs and rickshaws, particularly around Covent Garden. Why the rickshaws and the pedicabs? They’re basically unregulated, they sit around waiting on tourists, people who don’t speak English very well. There is no set rate for
a pedicab or rickshaw in London so they can charge
you as much as they want to. That five minute ride might end up costing you 50 Great British pounds. If you are going to take a pedicab make sure you negotiate the price up front and be pretty firm about it. If I were you I would
just walk or take a taxi and avoid the pedicabs entirely. Beware of where you buy your
hop-on hop-off bus tickets. The problem with this is
a lot of hop-on hop-off bus tickets are sold
by people on the street but they might not actually be the people that work for the company. They might just be selling you tickets and their own tickets and
when you get to get on the bus they’re not the tickets for the bus. The bus driver knows
what the heck this is, so if you want to do a
hop-on hop-off bus tour, the best place to buy them is
an actual physical location. This is the location, probably legit, because if it’s not you
can come back to them be like, “dude, what’d you sell me?” Be careful of people who are too friendly and too helpful in the train stations. A common scam is people helping you at a ticket machine
or a parking machine where you have to use your credit card or money and they might
be helping themselves out with your wallet while
they’re distracting you on the machine and if they’re not helping themselves to your wallet, they may be helping themselves to your ATM or your debit card when
you put it in the machine, when you’re putting in your pin card, they’ll be watching as
you put in your pin number and then they’ll distract you somehow, while they do that they’ll
take your debit card and pocket it for themselves and tell you that the
machine ate your card. You should also beware
of people on the street selling you theater tickets. There’s a lot of theater shows in London, and particularly the theater district people will approach you
with discount tickets. They’re half priced, they’re VIP tickets, don’t buy theater tickets
from anybody on the street. Buy them from the TKTS booth which is in Leicester Square or from the actual theaters. Now you might be saying,
“Chris, what if I get a really good deal?” You know really good deals are usually too good to be true and sometimes the other ticket vendors, they might tell you things like, these are VIP tickets or
they’re special tickets and it turns out they’re
really not that VIP. Beware of fake designer
goods in street markets. A lot of times a lot of street markets will camp the target in
particular is one of them. If you find designer goods
that are really cheap like that Louis Vuitton handbag that’s 50% off chances are it’s not a real Louis Vuitton handbag. Also something that happens
in the street markets are fake auction. You’ll be walking by and a bunch of people will be bidding on something, but it’s not really a real auction. They’re just trying to get excitement up so that they hope you bid on it too and you don’t really pay attention to the fact that it’s
actually not a real article. But it’s a Louis Vuitton
purse and it’s 20 pounds, you wanna get that right? Well you won’t be scammed, why? Because you’ve seen this video. Okay so we’re back in the hotel so you can hear me well
because this one is important. A common tourist scam, whether this is a scam or illegal, well I mean it’s both, is theft. Pick-pocketing, theft, and so
we’ll start with pick-pockets. Pick-pocketing is super
prevalent in London. Pick-pocketing wallets,
pick-pocketing things out of your bags, you
really need to be careful to make sure you know
where your things are and you don’t have any things
that say rob me immediately. You can buy these anti-theft bags. I like bags from Pacsafe, we’re gonna talk about that a little bit. I’ve had these bags for nearly 20 years and they’ve never been
pick-pocketed from the bag so in this case my bag was stolen entirely but we can talk about solutions
about how to solve that. Another type of theft is moped theft. What happens here is you’ll be standing around and you’ll be using your cellphone and when you’re using your
cellphone on the street on the sidewalk somebody
will come up on a moped, it’s often two people on the moped, one person’s driving it the
second person’s on the back. The second person is just
there to grab your phone out of your hands as they
continue to go by on the moped. And yes you saw who did it, but you can’t chase after
them because they’re already gone by the time
you compose yourself. If you are standing
around and you’re looking at your phone, maybe stand by a wall, don’t have your phone out. If you like to talk on your phone a lot, maybe use some wireless earbuds and keep your phones in your pocket. There have been signs across the city to warn people about moped thefts that have happened in that area. You could imagine that
they do it for your phone, they do it for your bag as well so if you’re walking try to put your bag, if you have a shoulder bag, on the side that’s away from the street not towards the street. So I talked about pick-pockets, I talked about moped theft and now what happened to me, they
just stole my entire bag. OC Girl, my wife and I, we were eating at this restaurant called MotherMash, it’s kind of between Piccailly
Circus and Oxford Circus. We were seated outside but our table was right next to the
building of the restaurant. It was about 7:45 in the evening, we had just sat down to eat. I had a big shopping bag of some stuff, and I had my camera bag and I put it just to the left of my leg on the floor, in eyesight so that when
I’m looking at the table I can see my bag just down here and I’m like well it’s between my left leg and the wall so this is a
pretty good place for my bag. Well between the time I put my bag there and five minutes later my bag was gone. I looked down, I went to
actually take out Topher to take a picture of Topher
and realized that Topher, my lovely traveling panda was gone, along with my camera and
everything that was in the bag. They left the big shopping bag there, ’cause that was too
big for them to get out but my camera bag that I had on top of it, that was gone. Now I mentioned it was in my eyesight, what happened? Well, at some point the
bag’s right down here that I can see it and at
some point the waitress comes to take my order and now
I’m looking over here at the waitress who’s taking my order. I guarantee that is when
that bag disappeared. Didn’t see it, didn’t
notice it, but as soon as I noticed it there
was some people who said, “yeah, there was somebody behind you, he went that way but we didn’t notice that he took anything.” There were people sitting at a table just to the next of us who are actually kind of like at a counter looking at us, they didn’t see anything, I mean it was one of those where, I like to consider myself a pretty savvy traveler and this was one where
this person was good. Now that doesn’t mean it’s okay, it really sucks and I
hate them for doing it, and so what should I have done better and what could you have done better? Well I mentioned I carry
this Pacsafe metro safe bag what I did wrong was,
it wasn’t chained down. When we went to the police
station to file a police report about it the taxi driver
basically was like, “Yeah, anything in London now
that’s not chained down it’s basically gone.” And the Pacsafe bags,
they’re a shoulder bag and it has a strap
that’s designed to detach so you can loop it around something and then reconnect it again. I should of looped that around the chair, and so that way if they went to take it it wouldn’t go because the shoulder strap would be connected to the chair. Other option, put your
shoulder strap of your bag or your backpack around your leg or the leg of the chair or I should of kept the bag on my lap even though it’s uncomfortable, I’m seated outside. If I had my arm looped through that shoulder strap they
would not have been able to take it the way they take– These criminals they don’t do it by force, and I know in the video
that I put out earlier when I talked about as it happened I said I was robbed, and it wasn’t robbery because it wasn’t at gunpoint,
it wasn’t at knife point. They don’t wanna be noticed and so they’re gone before I even noticed and then when we called the police, what’s there to do about it? Nothing. Oh and a lot of people said,
“Hey Chris, you should of looked in the trash cans
or the dumpsters because the crook might of thrown
your bag in there.” We actually spent about 30 or 45 minutes after the bag was stolen kind of combing a three block radius just
going further and further out looking in the trash
cans and the dumpsters hoping that the bag was there and in our case it wasn’t, but there are many people that said they’ve been pick-pocketed, many of you fellow explorers that said when your bag was stolen
you were able to find it in a nearby dumpster. I can replace the camera but unfortunately our good friend Topher
is not as replaceable as those electronic items. When you come to London
don’t let your guard down, don’t think, “You know
what, this place seems pretty safe I don’t have to pay the same amount of attention to
my stuff as I might in Italy or Paris ’cause
I look at those places and I know everybody’s trying to rob me.” But you know what, in
London everybody’s trying to rob you here too. It’s really unfortunate
but it is the case, so please learn from me and
don’t be a victim yourself. Now if you are planning to come to London, you might enjoy watching
some of my other videos. You can click right here for
my London things to know video, you can click right here
for the entire playlist of my entire London series, videos on cheap eats, Camden Market, and weird things to do in London. Well I won’t say goodbye because I’m gonna see you in one of those videos.

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