Fake police

Part of this scam is also shortly described in the Budapest money change scam, beware of fake police officers targeting tourists and intimidating them into handing over their wallets or bags. They are in plain clothes and may shortly show some kind of identification that an uninformed tourist may believe to be an official police ID. Their tactic is to accuse their victims of some kind of crime and then ask for an ID and a wallet or bag. As they are as light-fingered as pickpockets, and use intimidation and distraction tactics, they are able to steal money or other valuables from the wallet or bag before handing it back.

Budapest-scam-fake-policeThey always work in teams, with some of them discreetly on watch for the real police, while another one who’s in on the scam approaches the tourists as a local asking for a light or for directions or just trying to make conversation. The fake police officer will then step in during the conversation or after the tourists have dismissed the other scammer, accusing the tourists of an illegal transaction, like illegal money change or even a drugs deal. The other scammer will quickly show his ID and had over his wallet to be searched by the fake cop, this is done to make their victims believe the cop is real and don’t ask for an additional identification.

The fake police officer will ask the tourists for identification and their wallets for proof of counterfeit notes (in case of an illegal money change accusation) or their bags to search for illegal drugs. If the tourists resist or are still hesitant to believe the cop, they will use intimidation tactics like not letting them leave the spot and threatening to take them to the police office.

If you are approached by someone claiming to be a Budapest police officer, ask for their identification and examine it carefully. If still in doubt, ask them to either take you to the nearest police office to handle the matter or to have a uniformed cop present on the spot before they continue their search and before you hand over anything. A real cop will have no problems with this, while a scammer will trade off the risks and the potential reward and is likely to leave you alone. If you are near a hotel or bank where a security guard is on duty, try to get their attention and have them check the police ID for authenticity.

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Budapest and Hungary Tourist Scams Forum.


  1. Wu Christina says

    I experienced fake police two guys after I had down the Keleti Station of the Budapest.
    The fake police are wandering around the Hotel of Hungarian City Centre.
    As I heading to Hungarian City Center Hotel, the Fake police were wandering.
    Please notice.
    They were asking my passport and later asking for my wallet.
    Luckily my wallet have few old FT dollars and they notice i didn’t have other euro.
    They went away.

    If anyone see the Fake police Please report.
    They are near the Hungarian City Center Hotel.
    One guy is Arabian look, 35-45. Another is a Fat man White guy aged around 50-60.
    They are wandering around the street to see any tourist.

    experienced fake police date: Aug 8 2016

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