Money change scam

Budapest-scam-money-changeMoney change scams are omnipresent (check also the Istanbul money change scam and the Jamaica money change scam), and in Budapest it’s a very sophisticated play. The scammers usually wait outside an official money change office, to approach tourists who have the intention to enter the office. They ask the tourist if he wants to change money, and offer him/her a much better rate than the one that’s advertised for the official money change office. Because of their excellent rate, the tourist is often encouraged to change more than he initially had planned.

However, what they pay for your Euros, Pounds or Dollars are not Hungarian Forints, but Belarusian Rubles instead, or a mix of both with the Forints on top. The bills of both currencies look very similar, especially to tourists who are unfamiliar with the money and who may not look twice at the notes. In order to distract the tourist some more, immediately after the hand-off, when the victim is about to check the notes before walking away, a second swindler asks him or her a question or says something in Hungarian. The distraction will enable the first scammer to get away unnoticed and will make sure the tourist doesn’t immediately check the received money again. They probably won’t find out they’ve been ripped off until they want to use the wrong notes to pay for something. Belarusian Rubles are worth about 50 times less than Hungarian Forints, so this scam can take a big dent out of your holiday cash.

Also read: Don’t change money with a stranger on the street!

Another known scam happens when a tourist refuses to change money on the streets is approached by two plainclothes” police officers. They accuse the tourist of changing money illegally and want to see their wallet to check this or to let the tourist proof that they don’t have any counterfeit money in their wallet. Of course, when you hand over your wallet, they’ll quickly and unnoticeably steal a few notes from it before handing it back. Never hand over your wallet to anyone and if they keep insisting or even become intimidating, simply tell them you want to handle the matter at the police office. The fake officers will then back off quickly. The real Hungarian police officers always wear uniforms, ID themselves and most of all: they don’t bother with simple things like money changes. Read more about fake cops in the Budapest fake police scam.

a money changer to go into the sea a little later approached blaming illegal to have changed. Them to him by two “plainclothes” They demand to see proof that he has not changed, and if that wallet is given back his wallet is the most money that it was gone. Advice: just refuse to give you, wallet and if they keep whining, say you want to handle the matter over to the police. The Hungarian police is in uniform and does not change things busy, so chances are that the men do not want them to a police station.

Never change money on the streets or from people who approach you with an attractive rate. If the exchange rate sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Only change money at your hotel service desk or in an official money change office. And check the money before walking out the door.

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

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