New York City Tourist Scam | Due to high cost of living New Yorkers are forced to be an ingenious bunch to survive. Everyone is on a hustle. If there is money to be made, someone is already making it. Primary target: tourists. We all know that visiting New York City is expensive enough. Tourists plan and budget for their trips. They shouldn’t leave Big Apple feeling as if someone took advantage of them, because hotels already take that.
Most scams are well-known: the good old MetroCard scam, or selling fake tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Staten Island, “You-broke-my-lasses” scam or wrapping single AA batteries in saran. But recently some smart asses added peer pressure to squeeze even more money out of tourists. These New York City street performers have simply taken things too far. Their shows involve four to six muscular guys, break dancing and flipping like Olympians. It’s definitely entertaining, but the money scam starts right before the finale. One of the break dancers will take a running and leap over the heads of volunteers. Some of these volunteers are part of the break dancer team – just pretending to be tourists, some are real tourists. Right before the jump, they pause and demand money from the crowd in order to see the trick. So far so good. It’s fair to do that. The disturbing part comes now …
After collecting money from the crowd, the group’s leader goes up to the volunteers and demands $20 from each of them, hinting that the jumper might miss his mark if the tourist didn’t fork over $20. If a tourist resists, the break dancer will reach into the tourist’s back pocket and retrieve his billfold. The dancers usually bring up as many as eight volunteers, ask for money, and only end up jumping over four of them. That means the other four people were pulled out of the crowd just to function as human ATMs. Interesting side note: These break dancers tend to target older white men and Asian tourists in their scams.
What can you do about it:
– Don’t volunteer
– If you volunteer, be strategic
– Stand strong
Street performers in New York are not licensed and cannot demand money. Our advise to tourists: It’s totally ok to say no. You do not have to give them money, even if you snap a photo.
New York City Tourist Scam. By Chili & Churp | © International Destinations | Visit our -> Travel Alphabet