Hand-readers and fortune tellers

fortune_teller-hand_reader-scam-ParisTourists in the streets of Paris, especially female tourists, are often approached by elderly ladies who unsolicitedly start to read their hand palms or tell their fortune. These ladies can be very persistent, even if the tourist tries to withdraw their hand or tells them their services are not appreciated.

The self-proclaimed fortune teller starts talking and giving information immediately, as a strategy to give her victim no chance to object. And once a few lines of generalities have been “predicted”, there’s no way she will let her victim off the hook without paying at least a handful of Euro’s. If the tourist actually stops and listens to what she has to say, she will just call out a few meaningless sentences that could apply to just about any other bystander as well, and after a few minutes she will charge ten or sometimes even as much as twenty Euro’s for her services. If the tourist then objects, the hand reader will become very persistent and even obtrusive. Sometimes a partner-in-crime then picks the victims pockets when he or she is distracted because of the quarrel. The result is that the tourist loses even more money, including credit cards and perhaps their passport or other valuables they were carrying. So if you’ve let her read your hand palm, most of the time it’s safer to just take your loss and give her some money.

If the tourist does actually manage to decline the offer to have their hand palm read, the fortune teller might switch strategies and simply start begging for a couple of Euro’s “for their handicapped children” or for cigarettes. The only way to dismiss them is to ignore them completely, avoiding eye contact and just keep walking, but keep a close eye on your valuables, especially rings, watches, bracelets or anything else their hands may come near when they take your hand to read it.

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

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