Beware of the Lost-Found Gold Ring Scam
The “lost ring” scam is one of the oldest and most famous of the tourist scams in Paris, France and has now spread all across Europe where many tourists gather. There are several versions of this scam and its delivery is dependent on the scam artist or thief presenting the scam. One common thread is that always the story told by the con artist ends in asking for a few Euros in exchange for you keeping the gold ring.
How the Con Works
In essence, the “lost ring” or “found ring” scam, is based on the simple act of duping the target to believe that this is their lucky day. The scam can be targeted to anyone, but almost always a traveler. The scammer walks up next to you and quickly bends down and picks up a ring on the ground (that they placed prior to walking over it.) The ring is often a gold men’s wedding band.
The scammer (often a woman) then offers to give you the ring but asks for a small amount of money in exchange for doing so. She pleads that she has no money or job and would appreciate a few Euros in trade for the gold ring.
Another “reason” to give you the band is that she has no husband, or that her husband already wears a gold band and has no use for this one.
Some con-artists claim that it is against their religion to wear jewelry and that is why they want you to have it.
She continues on saying that the ring is worth a lot of money and it is your lucky day because she only wants a few euros in exchange for the ring. She pressures you into thinking that you are doing a kindness by giving her a few Euros. Laying on to her plea for a few Euros is that if she has a young child at her side making her look more honest or needy.
In reality, the ring is worthless and made of cheap brass – but it looks like gold.
Variations of the “Lost Ring Scam”
Some victims of this scam have reported that the scammer begins to yell if you don’t give them a finders fee. Other variations have included a few accomplices who just “happen” to be walking by and verbally support the fact that the ring is valuable and you are very lucky to have found it.
The best course of action in these cases is to simply walk away and try not to engage them in a conversation.
Videos of the Famous Paris Found Gold Ring Scam
What to Do if You’re a Target of This Street Scam
If you are approached by someone handing you a gold ring, the best thing to do is to walk away, and not engage with the scammer. Be prepared that they may yell at you and accuse you of stealing from them, even if you didn’t take the ring. Their motive is to get you to give them money so they will go away. Don’t cave in to their bullying and public shaming tactics. Remember they are the bad guy, not you.
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