Destinations

From Classic to Creative, Tourist Scams and Schemes Abound in New York City

Excerpt from AM New York

Jul 29, 2013 9:46 am

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From the fake “tourist tax,” to hidden credit card charges, visiting New York City has come to mean running a gauntlet of tourist scams.

— Eliza Ronalds-Hannon

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La Citta Vita  / Flickr

Tourists in New York City's Times Square La Citta Vita / Flickr


Crime is down in New York City and our tourism industry is richer for it. But the hustlers, sharpies and connivers who make a living exploiting the naiveté of outsiders have developed an ingenious array of strategies — many of which fly under the radar of law enforcement — to part tourists from their money.

“The predators got job training! They’ve developed new skills and came up with new ways to make money,” as a result of crackdowns on serious crime, said Larry K. Gaines, chair of the criminal justice department at California State University in San Bernardino. Criminals who target tourist areas “have moved from predatory crimes to games and scams,” to elude arrest, Gaines said.

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