Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Gold Ring and “Do You Speak English?”

The Gold Ring and “Do You Speak English?”

Along with the ever successful, please sign this petition while my small colleague takes your wallet, are two other frequently performed scams: Look! A gold ring on the sidewalk! and “Do you speak English?” They pop up in every city, but I happen to see them in Paris, because this is where I spend my time.

I can't imagine anyone fooled by the gold plated ring. The perpetrator is walking toward the mark and stoops to the ground to look as though he or she has just discovered a solid gold ring. Being an honest person and assuming you are not, he/she says it is half yours, as you clearly saw it at the same time. You should split it with him or her, yes? I think you are supposed to be so greedy that you offer the trickster a fraction of what it should be worth. You give the money and take the solid gold ring that is only thinly plated. I have never seen anyone fall for that silly trick. The would-be-scammers probably only do it from boredom. When I see someone perform this slight of hand trick, I walk past and then offer a critique, like “use more gusto!”

“Do you speak English?” is an old stand by with a new twist. Previously, It was run by people who did not speak English on unsuspecting American tourists. Why would someone with a heavy accent need help from an American rather than someone who spoke their native language?  The crook would be carrying an empty old suitcase, another mistake - a suitcase no one in the USA would ever buy. One premise is they are lost and while you try to give them directions, an accomplice pilfers your valuables. The more common ploy is they have been robbed or somehow lost their money and need to get a taxi, or bus, etc.  Give them something to help a fellow American get home. That can't possibly work. Yet, yesterday I encountered a new variation.

A woman with a Brooklyn accent is handsomely dressed. She is in fact an American. She runs the same scam. Danger.  I stopped and told her that by starting her ruse with “Do you speak English?”, it sounds like a scam. I wished her good luck and good bye.

Later on I discovered my wallet was missing.

Not really.

Paris 2017 #59

Sandy Kinnee

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