10 Worst Tourist Scams in London


– Common tourist scams in London. I’m Chris, this is Yellow Productions. I do travel guides that
are fun, informative and entertaining and in this video I’m going to be sharing with you some common scams that often
target tourists in London. This is part of my series on London if you want to see more
videos about London like things to know and cheap eats, you’ll find links at the end or in the description below. But let me tell you how important this is, actually a couple of these
scams I was the target of. Actually some of my stuff was stolen, my video camera and things like that. So if you’re watching
this and you’re like, “Chris this video’s
kinda shaky, the audio’s not as good.” Well that’s because my main camera was actually stolen two days ago and I recorded a similar version of this video but with less of this personal experience of the thievery. So I’m gonna be talking about scams first, things that will rob you
of your hard earned money and then I’m gonna be
talking about thievery and tell you my experience of having my stuff stolen here in London. Common tourist scam number one, this is something that will happen to you if you’re using a foreign credit card or foreign debit card. It happened to us as soon as we got here to the airport and I’ll start with the ATM use case and then tell you about the point of sale use case. So the ATM use case for
this currency conversion happens when you go to an ATM and you use your foreign card, you put your card in, you
go to withdraw some money, and then the ATM will kindfully offer to withdraw it in your local currency instead of Great British pounds. So in my case the ATM
came up with a message and said, “hey, instead of withdrawing 300 Great British pounds, I the ATM could withdraw US dollars for you and you don’t have to pay
that foreign conversion fee that your bank will charge.” “And for the convenience of this, we’re just gonna charge you 12%.” Now most banks charge somewhere between 1 and 3 percent
for currency conversion. To give you an example, I pushed no and took out money as
Great British pounds, 300 Great British pounds in
US dollars was 362 US dollars. Great British pounds the offer for the ATM in US dollars was 410
so just by pushing yes, and accepting this offer I would of been scammed out of $50. So if you’re at an ATM make sure you do not select the currency conversion. Same thing happens at
point of sale terminals. So if you’re at Harrod’s
or you’re at Selfridges or high end department stores, you will see these same things, you’ll put your credit card in and it will come up and
offer, “hey, do you want to make this purchase in
Great British pounds or your local currency?” Here’s the picture of
actually what it looks like and at Selfridges when we told the staff we weren’t interested in
the currency conversion, we wanted Great British pounds, then the lady says, “well, you know what, Selfridges really recommends that you take it out in your local currency.” You know why they really recommend it? Because they make a lot of money on those currency conversions. And you might just be pushing yes because you think that’s
what you have to do to make the purchase and actually on these point of sale terminals to say no to the currency conversion you generally have to push the red cancel button which makes it seem like you’re canceling your transaction, in
fact you’re just saying no to this lousy offer. Okay, this one’s called
the newspaper distraction. This happens when you’re seated outside at a restaurant or a cafe, actually could happen inside. Anytime you’re seated at a table and you’ve got your valuable items in front of you on the
table like a cellphone, what happens is some friendly stranger comes up and they sit down at your table and they put their newspaper on top of the table and they start asking you, “hey, how’s it going? Where are you from?” You kind of brush them off because you’re not really interested in talking to them, or you are interested in talking to them but when they leave they pick up their newspaper and your stuff. So if anybody comes to your table and puts down a newspaper,
you should be concerned and make sure you didn’t have anything that was under it maybe say hey, right? Or actually, better yet,
don’t put your phone on your table and let it sit there because when people see
valuables in London, unfortunately it’s a target for them and they would like to
take it away from you. This one happens particularly on the Tube, with the rise in contactless card use to enter the Tube, meaning
you don’t just have to enter with your Oyster card, you can actually enter the Tube or the London Underground or the subway with a contactless Visa card. So because people do that, then there are people who will come up alongside you, they’ll watch
you use your contactless card and put it in your pocket, they’ll brush up against your side with a contactless card
reader and skim your card. And then use your card to buy things. The contactless card
limit is only 30 pounds, and so it’s not a lot of money but the way you can
prevent that is by using some RFID blocking sleeves
or get an Oyster card that doesn’t have that much money on it and don’t carry your
contactless cards with you. I have no contactless
credit cards in my wallet. Beware of pedicabs and rickshaws, particularly around Covent Garden. Why the rickshaws and the pedicabs? They’re basically unregulated, they sit around waiting on tourists, people who don’t speak English very well. There is no set rate for
a pedicab or rickshaw in London so they can charge
you as much as they want to. That five minute ride might end up costing you 50 Great British pounds. If you are going to take a pedicab make sure you negotiate the price up front and be pretty firm about it. If I were you I would
just walk or take a taxi and avoid the pedicabs entirely. Beware of where you buy your
hop-on hop-off bus tickets. The problem with this is
a lot of hop-on hop-off bus tickets are sold
by people on the street but they might not actually be the people that work for the company. They might just be selling you tickets and their own tickets and
when you get to get on the bus they’re not the tickets for the bus. The bus driver knows
what the heck this is, so if you want to do a
hop-on hop-off bus tour, the best place to buy them is
an actual physical location. This is the location, probably legit, because if it’s not you
can come back to them be like, “dude, what’d you sell me?” Be careful of people who are too friendly and too helpful in the train stations. A common scam is people helping you at a ticket machine
or a parking machine where you have to use your credit card or money and they might
be helping themselves out with your wallet while
they’re distracting you on the machine and if they’re not helping themselves to your wallet, they may be helping themselves to your ATM or your debit card when
you put it in the machine, when you’re putting in your pin card, they’ll be watching as
you put in your pin number and then they’ll distract you somehow, while they do that they’ll
take your debit card and pocket it for themselves and tell you that the
machine ate your card. You should also beware
of people on the street selling you theater tickets. There’s a lot of theater shows in London, and particularly the theater district people will approach you
with discount tickets. They’re half priced, they’re VIP tickets, don’t buy theater tickets
from anybody on the street. Buy them from the TKTS booth which is in Leicester Square or from the actual theaters. Now you might be saying,
“Chris, what if I get a really good deal?” You know really good deals are usually too good to be true and sometimes the other ticket vendors, they might tell you things like, these are VIP tickets or
they’re special tickets and it turns out they’re
really not that VIP. Beware of fake designer
goods in street markets. A lot of times a lot of street markets will camp the target in
particular is one of them. If you find designer goods
that are really cheap like that Louis Vuitton handbag that’s 50% off chances are it’s not a real Louis Vuitton handbag. Also something that happens
in the street markets are fake auction. You’ll be walking by and a bunch of people will be bidding on something, but it’s not really a real auction. They’re just trying to get excitement up so that they hope you bid on it too and you don’t really pay attention to the fact that it’s
actually not a real article. But it’s a Louis Vuitton
purse and it’s 20 pounds, you wanna get that right? Well you won’t be scammed, why? Because you’ve seen this video. Okay so we’re back in the hotel so you can hear me well
because this one is important. A common tourist scam, whether this is a scam or illegal, well I mean it’s both, is theft. Pick-pocketing, theft, and so
we’ll start with pick-pockets. Pick-pocketing is super
prevalent in London. Pick-pocketing wallets,
pick-pocketing things out of your bags, you
really need to be careful to make sure you know
where your things are and you don’t have any things
that say rob me immediately. You can buy these anti-theft bags. I like bags from Pacsafe, we’re gonna talk about that a little bit. I’ve had these bags for nearly 20 years and they’ve never been
pick-pocketed from the bag so in this case my bag was stolen entirely but we can talk about solutions
about how to solve that. Another type of theft is moped theft. What happens here is you’ll be standing around and you’ll be using your cellphone and when you’re using your
cellphone on the street on the sidewalk somebody
will come up on a moped, it’s often two people on the moped, one person’s driving it the
second person’s on the back. The second person is just
there to grab your phone out of your hands as they
continue to go by on the moped. And yes you saw who did it, but you can’t chase after
them because they’re already gone by the time
you compose yourself. If you are standing
around and you’re looking at your phone, maybe stand by a wall, don’t have your phone out. If you like to talk on your phone a lot, maybe use some wireless earbuds and keep your phones in your pocket. There have been signs across the city to warn people about moped thefts that have happened in that area. You could imagine that
they do it for your phone, they do it for your bag as well so if you’re walking try to put your bag, if you have a shoulder bag, on the side that’s away from the street not towards the street. So I talked about pick-pockets, I talked about moped theft and now what happened to me, they
just stole my entire bag. OC Girl, my wife and I, we were eating at this restaurant called MotherMash, it’s kind of between Piccailly
Circus and Oxford Circus. We were seated outside but our table was right next to the
building of the restaurant. It was about 7:45 in the evening, we had just sat down to eat. I had a big shopping bag of some stuff, and I had my camera bag and I put it just to the left of my leg on the floor, in eyesight so that when
I’m looking at the table I can see my bag just down here and I’m like well it’s between my left leg and the wall so this is a
pretty good place for my bag. Well between the time I put my bag there and five minutes later my bag was gone. I looked down, I went to
actually take out Topher to take a picture of Topher
and realized that Topher, my lovely traveling panda was gone, along with my camera and
everything that was in the bag. They left the big shopping bag there, ’cause that was too
big for them to get out but my camera bag that I had on top of it, that was gone. Now I mentioned it was in my eyesight, what happened? Well, at some point the
bag’s right down here that I can see it and at
some point the waitress comes to take my order and now
I’m looking over here at the waitress who’s taking my order. I guarantee that is when
that bag disappeared. Didn’t see it, didn’t
notice it, but as soon as I noticed it there
was some people who said, “yeah, there was somebody behind you, he went that way but we didn’t notice that he took anything.” There were people sitting at a table just to the next of us who are actually kind of like at a counter looking at us, they didn’t see anything, I mean it was one of those where, I like to consider myself a pretty savvy traveler and this was one where
this person was good. Now that doesn’t mean it’s okay, it really sucks and I
hate them for doing it, and so what should I have done better and what could you have done better? Well I mentioned I carry
this Pacsafe metro safe bag what I did wrong was,
it wasn’t chained down. When we went to the police
station to file a police report about it the taxi driver
basically was like, “Yeah, anything in London now
that’s not chained down it’s basically gone.” And the Pacsafe bags,
they’re a shoulder bag and it has a strap
that’s designed to detach so you can loop it around something and then reconnect it again. I should of looped that around the chair, and so that way if they went to take it it wouldn’t go because the shoulder strap would be connected to the chair. Other option, put your
shoulder strap of your bag or your backpack around your leg or the leg of the chair or I should of kept the bag on my lap even though it’s uncomfortable, I’m seated outside. If I had my arm looped through that shoulder strap they
would not have been able to take it the way they take– These criminals they don’t do it by force, and I know in the video
that I put out earlier when I talked about as it happened I said I was robbed, and it wasn’t robbery because it wasn’t at gunpoint,
it wasn’t at knife point. They don’t wanna be noticed and so they’re gone before I even noticed and then when we called the police, what’s there to do about it? Nothing. Oh and a lot of people said,
“Hey Chris, you should of looked in the trash cans
or the dumpsters because the crook might of thrown
your bag in there.” We actually spent about 30 or 45 minutes after the bag was stolen kind of combing a three block radius just
going further and further out looking in the trash
cans and the dumpsters hoping that the bag was there and in our case it wasn’t, but there are many people that said they’ve been pick-pocketed, many of you fellow explorers that said when your bag was stolen
you were able to find it in a nearby dumpster. I can replace the camera but unfortunately our good friend Topher
is not as replaceable as those electronic items. When you come to London
don’t let your guard down, don’t think, “You know
what, this place seems pretty safe I don’t have to pay the same amount of attention to
my stuff as I might in Italy or Paris ’cause
I look at those places and I know everybody’s trying to rob me.” But you know what, in
London everybody’s trying to rob you here too. It’s really unfortunate
but it is the case, so please learn from me and
don’t be a victim yourself. Now if you are planning to come to London, you might enjoy watching
some of my other videos. You can click right here for
my London things to know video, you can click right here
for the entire playlist of my entire London series, videos on cheap eats, Camden Market, and weird things to do in London. Well I won’t say goodbye because I’m gonna see you in one of those videos.

100 thoughts on “10 Worst Tourist Scams in London

  1. You might enjoy watching – Weird Things to Do in London: https://youtu.be/R-EK4oF4zQI
    London Travel Tips: https://youtu.be/wHSPVuPmPRw

    Or all my London Videos in this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOVadUHX1B-IWv6mDl5spifI_ZTA4QU4G

  2. I don't live for my phone like most people so I wouldn't have it with me. How about just telling people you'll be on holiday for a few days and can't be reached. If you do carry it then put it in a belt under the shirt or top. When sitting down with a bag, wrap the strap around your leg.

    A belt can also carry your money so your pockets are empty. In cold weather, have valuables zipped up inside a coat or jacket and move away from crowds if you want to access something. Trust no one.

    And as for pockets, we need something designed with painful downward angled spikes inside so the hand of the thief cannot be easily withdrawn. Or perhaps a mousetrap type device. Carry a worthless old wallet stuffed with newspaper bundled like money. They can take that with pleasure. And do not carry your passport with you. Leave it in the hotel safe and carry a photocopy instead.

  3. London is no worse than any other city, so please don't make out that my home town is bad. It is not! Any of these things can happen in any US city as well if you are stupid enough not to take sensible steps

  4. geez, if it isn't the street criminal then its the bank/credit card co's/retailers that are trying to steal from you. I think i'll stay home

  5. With all due respect I was born and raised and still live IN LONDON, and all the things you are describing happen in every single city I have been to …and I have travelled to many. So please don't SCARE MONGER and make it sound as though LONDON is a dreadful place and all these terrible things will happen to American Tourists. For goodness sake, people should be cautious in ANY CITY, because what you have described is occurring in every single one of them. LONDON is far safer than any U.S. city I know … and I've stayed in many of Cities in the U.S. – North to South & East to West. My family are from the U.S.A and still live and work there. smh

  6. I have been to London hundreds of times and never encountered any problems. So ofcourse be wary however it's unlikely that you will have an issue.

  7. Good tips in the vid, thx. I'll also add to keep your wheeled luggage in front of you when at the airport. If it is on your side, someone can do the distraction con with a map or whatever and the other person wheels away your luggage. Gone in 10 seconds…

  8. Beware also when standing close to the door on the bus, few years ago, someone tried to steal my brother's bag that he was carrying by hand when the doors started to close… we punched the guy's arm so he ran away but that can happen very fast too.

  9. The 2nd scam happens all over the world, not just the UK. Same with the the 1st “scam” you get that all over Europe 🤷🏻‍♀️

    Maybe it’s cause I’m from the UK but I’ve never seen any of these things happen in London. But whenever I’m in mainland Europe, I always look out for this stuff! 🙈

  10. GB is too expensive for me anyway. Great video for those going there though. I live in asia which is a very scammy place. It's funny, in 2015 when i first came here i must have had the "newbie" look. Now, hardly anybody tries. Oh, whenever i set a bag down, i put a leg through the strap while i sit.

  11. i travel alone and i use these trips also, use a cheap crossbody bag so its harder to get ripped, use the oystercard so you dont flash your cards and wallets, have pocket cash close by so you dont need the wallet out and i use a shopper (like a tote bag etc over my bags) in crowded places its easier to "hide" whats where

  12. I have had a few of these scams tried on me in London before. But, I am from Florida, so by nature my guard is always up in London, like it is back home. Plus, I am short guy, but a pretty strong guy, and the last time I was in London I had a few people I felt wanted to possibly attempt to see if they could try something, but I looked them straight in the eye balled up my fist, and they decided they did not want to test my resolve.

  13. i was with my girlfriend on a train, wanted to buy some drinks, took my wallet out, left it on the table, looked out the window for a bit, suddenly the wallet was gone. reported the matter at paddington police station, but of course nothing happened

  14. When warning the public about scams and such I wish that you could be more specific .For example. The Mopeds that drive around London stealing Cell Phones and Handbags are the MUSLIM GANGS . I know this from many reports of theft. They travel around looking for easy targets. Love your videos .

  15. Not everybody is trying to rob you in London – Just the scummy lowlifes. There are a lot of Londoners who welcome tourists to their fine city. Good video – Good Common Sense advice

  16. So, so sorry you had to have this happen to you in London. I've lived in the city or on the outskirts for most of the past 20 years, but have never had this happen to me. Ironically the only place I have had anything stolen from was my new iPhone from my clinic room (I'm a doctor in the NHS). I couldn't be sure who took it, but I suspect it was a patient or their relative. I let it slide as the risk of falsely accusing a low-income patient isn't exactly a good career move. What it taught me though was despite the replacement (phone, case, sim etc.) costing close to $1000, the feeling of invasion of personal space and property was far worse.

  17. Always pay in the local currency wherever you are when using a card. Thats something all savy travellers know. You make London sound a lot more dangerous than it really is. Just use common sense like in any major city.

  18. London's biggest scam is calling itself part of the UK the rest of the UK is much nicer don't bother with London its overpriced and unfriendly if you come here get yourself out of London

  19. Someone tried to take my cell phone near Picadilly circus. I was standing against a building with my back against it because I was tring to keep people from taking my phone and had a firm grip on my cell phone, which was not enough as a moped careened up onto the sidewalk and tried to grab my cell phone out of my hands. Two dudes were on the moped, but fortunately my death grip on the phone prevented them from taking it from my hands and it just fell to the ground. Had they stolen it, it would have put a huge damper on the trip as the cell phone was my plan for navigating and held all the information about future places I was going to go to. Also, not sure how I would have found my way back to my airbnb without it.

  20. The contactless card scam, ie scanning your card in your pocket has been dismissed as a non-scam, because each contactless card terminal reader is registered to a merchant bank account and only available to you as a merchant, so all trackable back to the bank…..

  21. I always wrap bag straps around chairs, tables, or simply my ankle. If you have a small, thin backpack, wear it on your front while you are sitting.

  22. Been to London hundreds of times, literally. Never had any of these issues ever, and I've been to the 'dodgy' bits of the city too.

  23. 4:26 Aluminum foil isolates you pass against theft. There are special wallets which will protect too for 20 dollars or more.

  24. There are of course many scammers in London. However when you compare to Paris, Rome and other parts of Continental Europe, London is pretty safe. Scam number 1 currency conversion – All over Europe, in fact in London the vendor advised me against it – that's a bank scam anyway.

  25. Good video, thanks for the warnings! Sorry you had your bag stolen, thevies are scum and move fast. Ive known several women who have had purses stolen, so I wear an antitheft crossbody, just big enough for my necessities & a bottle of water. Even when sitting down to a meal, I still wear it, or wrap/clip it around the arm of the chair. I've traveled a lot in the Americas, especially Mexico. I've never had things stolen, nor have I been scammed. But it's happened to people I was traveling with. Not excusing the criminals at all, my friends were victims, however, they were Not being smart, not paying attention to their belongings, or their surroundings. Even though we warned them not to, they left bags with expensive epuipment sitting on our bus "just for a few minutes" while they ran into a store for drinks/snacks/ bathroom. When they retuned, their gear was gone, they just couldn't believe it.

  26. Number 3 is not a big problem, because of the regulations for having a (portable) ATM/Contactless pay device.
    It is not possible to use them without sharing your passport and other personal information with the bank
    So the scammers can alway be traced.

    But it's not wrong to be careful

  27. I go London center all time and not had theses problems BUT my friend has been pick pocketed a few times by people that befriended him but there were Europeans who did that to him not British and In terms of Banks ripping you off that's a given they will rip you off all day long.

    These things will happen to people who are unfamiliar with how it works done South.

    Croydon is very Bad I wont walk around my self at night

  28. Those are great tips, as a Canadian I have been lucky in London but am usually there with friends who are locals otherwise I'd get lost on the Tube. Had the opposite experience elsewhere in the UK when I had a lady help me in Edinburgh train station and she was just being nice. Had pre-purchased train tickets online to York with a table so we could play cards with the kids to keep them busy, when we got to Edinburgh train station there was no one to ask for assistance, just large self serve units that would issue your tickets for new and pre-booked trips. My issue was when it asked me to enter my credit card to pay I did not realize it needed the same card I had used online or it cancelled the transaction. Luckily a nice Scottish lady advised me that I needed to use the same card I had booked the tickets with and it worked like a treat. It was a relief when travelling with young children to have such a friendly lady help a stunned dad out. I have to say, the same as Canada, if there was still decent customer service this would not be an issue.

  29. Lot of idiots here saying "I live in London & none of these things have ever happened to me". No moron, that's because conmen & thieves target naive tourists.

  30. 1) I pay with cash when abroad. No credit cards and or conversions

    3) I pay with cash when abroad (and buy a metro card for the time period I'm in the city). No credit cards involved.

    4) I use the ticket I bought with cash

    6) I buy it with cash

    More so I buy all (major) tickets before I arrive the city, and I never buy such stuff on the street.

  31. the biggest scam in London?

    ALL THE SCAMMERS PRETENDING TO BE DENTISTS!!!

    ANYBODY familiar with London's oral health knows NOBODY'S a dentist there!

  32. those pricks at the counter probably were SPOTTERS for the thief. Sorta like the spotters for poker teams. Instead of keeping a tab on how hot a deck of cards are, they look out for tourists with big bags.

  33. why doesn't London have THE DEATH PENALTY for street theft?

    Put a few of these pricks in the cemetery, watch The Artful Dodgers of the city find somewhere else to prey on tourists.

    the funerals of such scamps WOULD BE cute though! them in their coffins with faces covered in soot and whatnot!

    🤭🤭🤭 Always get a chuckle out of the poverty of the Victorian Age!!!

  34. Our first day in London we got robbed by Somalian thugs, then two days later my wife was sexually assaulted by a gang of youths with knives and the 'police' did nothing. London is overrun with Somalian thugs, drunken muggers, thieves, scum oh and plague now too. DO NOT GO THERE!!

  35. When I travel I never take anything I will miss. This includes my purse and clothes/suitcase. I only take what small cash I need for the day and take one credit card with a low limit. I leave the rest in my hotel room and always have a backup debit & credit card in there. I also bring a photocopy of my license, insurance card, and passport and leave it in my suitcase. You just never know these days!

  36. I don't know why I have a s strong feeling these are general scams that apply to any touristic area in this world. Most of them seem to be quite old tricks and long forgotten in London. Sorry you had your belongings stolen, but really, most of the scams listed are not things happening in London in this decade.

  37. Most of things you say are common sense. When I travel, I have a wallet with a chain that is attached to me and have never been robbed having traveled to over 45 countries. Your comment of having a strap from your camera bag around your leg is what I have always done if it is set down beside me.

  38. When I went to Norway I got a prepaid credit card and the local money was taken off the £s amount I had put on the card so I didn't need to worry about converting it into the local money.

  39. Omg so sorry you got robbed 🙁 I’ve live here for 10 years and never got robbed, never thought it could happen to an experienced traveller like yourself

  40. Man I've lived in London 7 years and have never even heard of these scams let alone seen them…. the few scammers I have come across have been so laughably obvious that anyone who gets taken in by them probably has it coming to them

  41. Number 1 – currency scam is a global scam and not specific to London
    Number 2 – Newspaper scam done by Thieves the world over

  42. It's still robbery. Robbery is when someone takes something from your person. What you described is ARMED robbery which is of course much more serious.

  43. Been to London dozens of times and nothings ever happened to me. I think it's safe, but like anywhere a bit common sense is always a good thing.

  44. I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience in the city where I was born, but it seems to be the same everywhere now and it's not just tourists who are targeted. This sort of thing really winds me up and It tends to spoil the experience somewhat when you have to be on your guard all the time in case some sneak thief is waiting to steal your stuff as soon as you are distracted. They probably had you in their sights before you even sat down to eat. The video was an eyeopener for me as I didn't realise that it had got this bad.

  45. I found that whilst traveling you always want to say 'yes' and accept the currency conversion, whereas if you say 'no' you will end up paying more. I'm English, and yeah you need to watch yourself in London. Check your pockets every 20 seconds, hold your bags tight, and don't present yourself as a target.

  46. as you can see this is a vlog about tourist's scams.I lived and worked in London and none of these things happened to me because I knew the places and never did any of the things he does when in a big city.the targets are obviously the tourist because they don't know the place,so they do many things we do not normally do.and the thieves they do know that.and all these things can happen in any big city.

  47. Great video! I appreciate the tips.
    Sorry to hear about Topher.
    Do you happen to have a P.O. Box where I can send fan mail btw?

  48. I just Spent All Day in LONDON yesterday, and I've here for a Week , and I Can tell You that London is Nothing but a third World tourist Trap.

  49. I think these are all your ideas of what is possible to happen… however never heard of this happened before living here for more than 12 years! I like your other videos but most of what you said about this particular video needs more context.

  50. the currency conversion thing is really scummy. Shameful that it's allowed. It should be against the law to be honest

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