Fake signature campaign scam

Fake-signature-campaign-scam-handicapped-children-ParisThis scam is especially popular under and around the Eiffel Tower and is run by mostly Roma or gypsy teenage girls, asking tourists to sign a petition as a sign of support for an organization that supports handicapped children or a similar “good cause” that usually nobody would be able to refuse. Except, when you’re signing your name on their petition form, which looks officially but is really just copied and distributed by a criminal organization that controls these girls, you’ll notice there is a number written behind every name above yours. The lady who asked for your signature will be quick to inform you that this is the amount of money those people also donated to the good cause, on top of their signature. Surprisingly, those other people seemed to be very generous, donating between 5 and 20 Euro’s each. Of course, this is all just a mind trick to get you to Fake-petition-handicapped-children-scam-Parisdonate such a large amount in cash as well, without pushing you to do anything.

The scam behind all this is that in reality there is no fund for handicapped children. And even if it existed, it sure isn’t going to receive any of the money you are donating, because this will go straight into the pockets of the criminal organization that is running this scam.

The most audacious of these scammers are collecting signatures (and of course a donation) in support of deaf children, and they actually pretend to be deaf and mute themselves, just to gain the tourist’s sympathy and pity, so they are likely to donate more. Don’t fall for this, and it’s easy to test them out, because they really aren’t that good as actors, pretending to be deaf and mute. If you call them out on their scam, they’ll take the easy way out and just walk away to find their next victim.

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


  1. This isn’t just limited to Paris or France – the gangs are operating in many tourist hotspots across Europe (I’ve been approached in Rome, Berlin, and Hamburg, for instance).

    It’s amazing this still seems to work, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it. Even the forms are still the cheesy obvious fakes they were 5 years or more ago.

    • Nathalie says

      We saw this all over Venice, Rome, and Florence this month — they want you to sign to stop drugs. I thought it was a distraction to pickpocket so never got close enough to see the form!

  2. Heracles Theodoros says

    I am aware that in Paris these bitches would ask the travelers whether they speak English. I did not fall in this trap. Instead of getting money, they would get my fist 🤛 in the face.
    I would say in French, dégages vieille salope, which means go away bitch. I am wise and too clever for these dogs to get money out of me. I avoid strangers and that is a good thing. If you are in Paris just avoid people whom you do not know. I speak English, ελληνικά, español, français, português, italiano et Latinae.

  3. Last week I got caught out for 5 euros for the deaf children. The hackles on my neck went up but she got nasty when i wouldn’t pay anymore , it was easier to pay something in this case. I was asked again on three occasions from the Eiffel Tower to Gambetta and I was really annoyed for getting caught but they can be scary. When I refused again, I was called all sorts.

  4. This exact scam happened to my group of friends in Vilnius, Lithuania today. 2 women in their 20’s approached us with these clipboards. We called the police and, while one ran away, we managed to have one arrested!

  5. I am completely sick of being approached in Paris. I saved my money for a year to go on vacation and I feel harassed everywhere I go. I’m from Los Angeles so I’m pretty street wise, I used to live in lofts downtown LA and had to deal with homeless people daily. But this is different, I think the French are too soft allowing these people to violate tourists non-stop. I am going to take off my shoe and start beating people. I think it’s really a good idea. I know there are thieves in the USA, but we would never put up with being harassed on a daily basis. I came to Paris to paint watercolors and it’s so difficult to even sit down. I’m really angry.

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