Deaf Mute and Fake Petition Scams in Europe

BY Beth Williams

Tourist Scams in Europe Include “Deaf Mute” People with Petitions 

 Thieves and scammers make a living preying on the kind hearts and naivete of tourists.  Familiarize yourself with these scams and save your money. The Deaf Mute Scam and the Fake Petition Scam typically involves women or young girls as the scammers. Some are pregnant, but on occasion young boys may also use this scam. Women and young girls find this scam as a fairly easy one to get money from unsuspecting tourists.

There are people who are legitimately disabled and may use this method as a way to obtain money. Scammers are exploiting sympathetic feelings of visitors. Sadly, the majority of the women who approach you and identify themselves as a deaf mute, or solicit you with a fake petition are simply trying to scam you and take your money. vary, but the ones that have the most pull on your heart strings works best for them – those include orphanages.

Fake Petition Scam and How it Works

When it comes to the Fake Petition Scam, know that the majority of the time the petition the scammer shows you is not official. It is not even a petition.  The fake petition will be some type of official looking paper that is asking for some type of donation to a charity. The types of charities crippled, homeless, deaf, and or blind children charities – it does not matter what is printed on the form. The most devious use the name of an official charity, but the money never goes to them.

The petition is usually in English – which should immediately raise your suspicion as you are in a non-English speaking country. You are being targeted as an American tourist. French is the preferred language in Paris, so why is the petition in English? It is only a ruse to swindle you out of your money.

If you give a small donation, many times the scammer will draw your attention to the clipboard they are using that has the petition you signed and point to the part of the form that states “Minimum 2, 3, 5 or even 10 Euros” the scammer will use a paper with different rates depending on how much money they think they can scam you out of. If you
refuse or challenge them on the amount, depending on the scammer and how well they think they can pressure you into giving more, some will become belligerent, yell, cuss, and even spit at you. Here is a photo of what one of these petitions looks like.

What’s interesting about the above petition is that you can see how much money people have given – most around ten Euros – or at least that’s what is being shown to the tourist – the scammer could be writing in that amount – or it could be the true. If that is the case, this scammer made over 180 Euros today for just a simple scam – not bad tax free work.

How the Deaf Mute Scam Works

The scam is straightforward. A young girl approaches the mark (usually a tourist) with a piece of paper and a pen, pretending to be deaf. The paper names a couple of charities, both real and fake, and bears the signatures of a few previous marks.   The current mark is asked for money, and if he/she is naïve enough, they give money. In some cases, the paper and request for money serve as a distraction for stealing a wallet or purse.     As mentioned, most of the time these girls are not deaf – they are just acting to prey on a traveler’s sympathy.   In Europe, most of these scammers are from former eastern bloc countries, and are usually under 18 years of age, making it difficult to prosecute due to the laws of the western European countries protecting children.


Hot Spots for the Deaf Mute Scam

This scam is committed anywhere tourists can be found.  Paris is one of the most popular locations for this scam, especially after the French government ruled a few years back that begging is legal – with opened the flood gates to this scam.  In Paris popular locations for these scams include the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysées, Notre Dame, as well as the Arc de Triump. Another popular place for scammers to operate this scam is on train and subway station platforms, as well as inside the trains.
For instance, in Italy, France and Spain, you will find scammers board the train and while tourists are in their seats. They walk down the aisle and hand out very well written and translated pieces of paper or cards which ask for a donation due to their made up impairment, or for some made up organization.  After they pass them out, these scammers return after they have given a card to everyone one in the train car and will come “collecting” a few minutes later.Fake_petition-1

Videos of the Deaf Mute – Fake Petition Scams

This is a video of a tourist who had the fake petition scam pulled on him as a ruse for a thief to steal his iPhone.