Metro ticket scam

Metro-ticket-scam-ParisIn this scam, the swindlers are inside the metro stations, especially those below the train stations at which all the tourists arrive in Paris. They are constantly on the lookout for tourists just arriving in the city, who are inexperienced with the ticket vending machines and who are uninformed on the ticket prices. They pretend to be friendly commuters trying to help the tourists buy metro tickets, but in reality their only goal is to rip the tourists off. And the really bold ones try to pick their victim’s pockets at the same time.

The scam goes as follows: a tourist or a couple of tourists is trying to figure out how the ticket vending machine works or which type of ticket they should buy. Then they are approached by a local who asks them if they need any help. He will ask them if they’ve just arrived in Paris to check whether they are an easy victim. He then asks them where they want to go and how long they are staying in Paris. But no matter what the answer is, he will then quickly browse through the menu and select the most expensive ticket available from the machine, usually a multi-day, all zones, all services ticket. When the tourist has entered his or her credit or debit card for the payment, he signals them to remove it, as he claims it has been rejected because it’s a foreign card. Paris-metro-ticket-rip_offHe offers to help them out by using his card, and they can pay him back in cash. He will enter his card while his other hand secretly pushes the cancel button. He then pretends to finish his payment and unnoticeably takes a ticket he already had out of his pocket. When he pretends to take out a freshly printed out of the vending machine, it’s actually the ticket he from his pocket, which is a single fare for children, the cheapest ticket available. The tourist then pays the scammer the amount of the expensive ticket that he just pretended to have paid by card, and he will sometimes even finish his act by accompanying his victim to the correct entrance of the trains.

As the gates are operated automatically, they will open with any ticket that’s entered, including a children’s ticket. The tourists won’t find out they’ve been scammed until they reach the station of their destination and the gates refuse to open because their ticket isn’t valid for this zone, or even worse: when they’re being fined by a public transport officer for traveling on a cheap children’s ticket.

Meanwhile, the scammer has just sold a 60 cent ticket for over 20 Euro’s and is nowhere to be found. Be aware that a one-way ticket to anywhere within the city center can cost you no more than 2 Euro’s and a full-day-ticket is less than 7 Euro’s, so if you’re asked to pay anything more than that, you’re being ripped off.

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


  1. This was tried on me. I was at the station and a man of Indian or Pakistani decent approached me with semi good English speaking abilities while I was at the ticket machine. He started typing the ticket and chose a 50euro ticket. I then said I need cash and he tried to accompany me too the atm. On the way to the atm, I told him to go away I do not trust him. He said no problem and hid while I walked to the atm machine. As I approached the atm I saw him hiding around the corner so I walked up to him to tell him to get lost but he ran away so I walked outside to see if he was following. I was then approached by a undercover police man who I was also suspect on. I told the police everything and decided to walk to my hostel.

  2. Exactly that happened to me and I could kick myself for being so stupid. If you give the tout Money in excess of the amount charged he’ll give you the difference in Change. Next time I’ll have a few forged 50Euro notes at the ready so that at least I’ll get something back.

  3. We are still in Budapest. We two ladies are tourist from Sri Lanka. I have read long before I came here about tourist scam. I also read Metro Scam story. So we were carefully travelled here and we always bought tickets and also before getting to bus we showed our tickets and asked if these tickets are fine to travel. But yesterday we faced a horrible insident which we never expected in our life and we are frequent travellers too. We came to Budapest after traveling in 5 other countries which we enjoyed throughly.
    So, yesterday morning we went to Keleti Staion and bought two tickets to go to Rozedome. We went to Blaha M2 and got on to metro. We got off at Betthny. We heard an announcement ” ticket checkers are waiting please keep your ticket with you. We followed that and got on to the high escalater. As we come out from the escalater, there were about 10-15 checker in a que to check tickets. I have never seen this funny way of checking ticket in anywhere in the world. So two checkers stopped both of us and they winked each other. Then they said these tickets are not valied. We asked what is the reason. But they haven’t had any reason they also didn’t know English. They kept on telling “no valid no valid ” and took a peace of paper and showed us please pay 160000 forint. We argued we are hornets people from well reputed family we never cheat. They never listen to us they threaten us saying if they don’t pay they call the police. We said of course please call the police. But they didn’t call the police. They forced us take the credit card and come with me I ll show you an ATM. We said we don’t have credit cards I showed my volet . Fortunately I had only €40. One checker grabbed that 40 and asked where’s your ID we said those are in the hotel. Then repeatedly asked pay 16000ft. We said pleas call the police we are unable to pay. Then he asked where are you going I said Rozdome. He said come with me to show the map. We went behind him. There is a map in a hidden place. He just showed ” this is rose dome and gave us 4 tickets saying, ” these are return tickets” .
    We took that and went out sadly. Then we saw a policeman we went to him and told the story he couldn’t understand English. But there were a women police we went to her and told the story. She was great. She was very angry and told us to come with her to Sho the man. We went with her and another policeman. When we went there he was shocked. His supported ( other checking officers) slowly moved. Firstly this WPC asked how did you give these 4 tickets to these ladies” he said No no no I didn’t give tickets. But she understood he lied. Then she asked where the €40? He soon pulled out from inside his coat and showed saying these ladies dint have valid tickets. By that time he had hidden the tickets he took from us. WPC said he is saying you dint have valued tickets. Then we asked him to show our tickets but he had no answer. More than half an hour we were there. But ultimately more police came after WPC called some.
    Then one police officer got and €40 and gave it to me. But he was given tight by the WPC. Though we couldn’t understand the language, body language showed it. Finally we thank the police and wen away.
    Please be aware this metro scamp. I also thought why this country can’t have a system like England check tickets. It’s so funny standing a que of elderly checking officers ( thieves). If this government can fix sky high escalated but why can’t they fix checking machine like Germany and England. I wonder weather they encourage country people to ripoff tourists?
    These thrives are inhuman because they haven’t an ounce of brain to think that tourist spent so much money in their country and they survive from them,
    What a nasty people. We are thouroughly disappointed in Budapest.

  4. This scam was tried on us too. We tried to buy tickets from chatelet to the disney parks, and were just about to complete a purchase when a chap in a blue jacket, but no name tag, came over to help. He said the tickets we were about to buy were for the bus and then proceeded to thoroughly confuse us by selecting much more expensive tickets. But when he wanted cash for buying the tickets for us alarm bells started ringing and we walked off. Thankfully, the staffed ticket window had opened by then. The ticket lady sold us the correct tickets to marne le vallee chessy for 7.60 euros per single ticket. She said the ‘helpful’ guy was most definitely a thief. Beware of official looking people without proper badges or id.

  5. Kristien says:

    I got scammed today at Porte Maillot station. It happened pretty much as how described in the article and I lost €25 b/c of it. I cannot believe how unscrupulous these lowlifes are and how I fell for it! Advice and note to self: never give someone cash money when you feel bewildered, b/c in that moment you are probably getting scammed.

  6. Nearly had the same happen to me today in paris – wasn’t lining up at the information desk to ask about a tourist pass, and a man wearing some kind of uniform came over and pointed us to the ticket machine. He selected a zone 1-5 – I said no, 1-3 is what we need – he picked it and then as I went to put in my card, he said “no, French cards only, cash only” – I queried this, having used my card just fine yesterday. He then swiped a pass and got tickets, leaving me somewhat confused. At this point a genuine official appeared and he ran off. Fortunately nothing seemed to be stolen, and we hadn’t given him any cash. Left us a bit shook up though.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I got scammed €171.50 today, tickets for 7 people. I ended up getting the lady arrested, it took several hours but I got my money back. If these people scam you, notify the information desk, or any security people asap. The lady was still scamming people after 15 minutes of me realizing it and coming back. I would have just confronted them and got my money back, but it was nice that I found security and just got her arrested instead. She was scamming other people when I got back. Someone else thanked us because he had got scammed a lot too, for fake Disney World Train tickets a few days ago.

  8. nom de plume says:

    just after we arrived at Gare du Nord we went to the metro ticket machine as directed by station employees. As we were reading the information on the machine a tall man of European descent dressed like an employee (one piece blue jump suit) approached us and offered to help. Result: we were scammed for E140! We knew about all of the scams and were trying to be careful. We went to the police and made a report. And they took me on a running tour of the whole station to try to find the scammer. They have a full description of him – and maybe they will see him on the cameras. Just before he spoke to us he had tried the same thing on other tourists.

  9. Myself and my husband were scammed in a similar way in Paris a couple of weeks ago. We were at the information/ticket office deciding which ticket to buy. We decided on the 3 day ticket costing E26.50 each. A man suddenly approached us and said we couldn’t buy tickets at the desk and took us to the machine and showed us how it worked. At first it showed up as a 5 day pass and I said that was too much we wanted a 3 day pass, so he went through it again, then he asked what zone we wanted, kept asking questions trying to distract and confuse us it now seems. He got up the 3 day pass for zone 1 and I went to put my card in, nothing happened so tried again. The man then said “no” cash only which I thought was odd and was looking to see where to put the notes. He then said come with me and took us over to the map and asked us where we were going, he then handed us tickets to put through the machine onto the platform. At this point I was totally confused because I hadn’t seen him pay for any tickets (he must have had them with him all the time). I then stupidly handed him the cash 53 euros for two what turned out to be single tickets costing E1.80 each. The train them came he went in a different door to us and when we sat down and looked at the tickets realised we had been scammed.

  10. We got scammed too. Exactly the same way. 5 tickets purchased by cash to one of these cnuts for 89. Euros. Hats off to their slickness. Cant work out how the machine rejected our credit card

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