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.

Comments

  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!

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