New York City like other cities have creative scam artists. We’ve compiled a list of scams to be aware when you’re visiting the Big Apple. New York is a safe city but we recommend you read our list so you don’t get scammed while you’re traveling.
Staten Island Ferry tickets
If someone approaches you and tries to see you a ticket for the Staten Island ferry, keep walking. The Staten Island is a free transportation method for those who need to get to Staten Island.
The Bottle scam
You’re walking when suddenly someone bumps into to you and you hear a bottle breaking. They immediately get mad at you and demand that you pay for what you just did. If they get aggressive, tell them that we will find a police officer that will resolve the conflict. They will immediately leave you alone. The scam artists are looking for those who will feel bad for what just happen and open their wallet to fix the fake problem.
The Times Square Super Heroes
It’s impossible not to see the Super Heroes or bizarre personalities in Times Square. Their goal is to ask you to take a picture with them. Sounds great until they ask to get paid for it. If you decide to keep walking after the picture without paying them, they can get quite aggressive. They will often ask anywhere between 5$ to 10$ per picture. When one of the characters get someone to take a picture with them, others often join in and they also want to get paid. It’s a scam so keep walking and ignore them.
The free music CDs
Another scams are the ones who want to give you a free CD of their music. If you take it, they will demand a donation. Keep walking!
The black cabs and fake Uber cars
If you get in a black cab, it will cost you double, triple or more than a normal cab or Uber. Be smart and refuse anyone’s offer to follow them for transportation. You will have no choice to pay, they have your bags.
You will also see at times someone will a Uber sign. Uber only works with the mobile app. This means it’s a scam artist just waiting to charge you a hefty price for his taxi service.
The lineups and wait times for a cab or Uber can be long but there are many other transportation methogs to get around Manhattan and other borrows. You can also try Uber’s competitors like Lyft.
The 30$ hot dog
If you thought food was expensive during the Superbowl, some of the “scamy” outside vendors don’t write prices on the food their selling. Walk away! Some will try to sell you a 20$ to 30$ hot dog when the honest vendors sell them for 1,50$ to 3$. Before dishing out cash for grub from a street vendor, look written prices.
The MetroCard and subway scam
You arrive at a subway station and there is an “Out-of-order” sign on the machine. You then have someone who opens the emergency door for you and demands money for the free pass. If you get caught without a subway ticket, you will get an hefty fine. You may want to check to see if the machine is really out of order or charge your card at a popular subway station with enough rides to avoid this type of scam.
The MetroCard scam is for those who are leaving New York. They want your card to resell the swipes. Your card is worth 1$ plus what you have on it. Keep it for your next visit to New York. Also, you will need your MetroCard for the Airtran at the airport so just keep it!
“Can I talk to you for a minute” scam
A conversation that usually starts with “Can I talk to you for a minute” is followed by a sob story and they need money. “My son is waiting me in Brooklyn. This is my car and I ran out of gas. Can you spare a few dollars”. The train and bus station have plenty of these guys and girls that have similar stories. The same person asking you for money today to solve his or her problem will have the same exact problem tomorrow. Don’t give them money.
The horse and carriage and peddling cabs
How does 4,99$ per minute with an added 18% tax sound to you? A 15 minute ride on a bicycle cab will cost you 120$. A 15-minute hors and carriage ride will cost you 50$ plus tip. Enough said.
If you want to bike Central park, rent a Citi Bike for 12$ for 24 hours.
The “find the ball” shell game
You may tempted to stop and watch a game of “Find the ball” shell game. These guys have one person doing the trick and his or her friends winning. The problem: if you’re not part of the group, you will never win. Also, while you’re waiting, others try to search your pockets and look in your bags for money or valuables. If you want my advice, keep walking.
Only use the ATM when they are inside of a known bank. The street ATMs have often been compromised and you may see unknown activity in your bank account.