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Warning: Scam Near Akropoli Metro in Plaka

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New York, USA
posts: 69
reviews: 2
Warning: Scam Near Akropoli Metro in Plaka

The famous scam (written about in Lonely Planet and elsewhere) of “Where are you from? My daughter lives there… Let’s go for a drink,” and then you are charged huge sums and threatened — this scam is alive and well by the Akropoli Metro station in the Plaka.

One of the main perpetrators is a very distinguished, elegant-looking older man (in his 70s). He sometimes carries a cane or umbrella and speaks very good English. He tried this on me and failed, but I saw him succeed with a young English traveler a couple of days later. He has colleagues around who look out for him, so if you see this happen, don’t try to interfere.

He stands in the intersection of the street leading uphill from the Akropoli station and the Acropolis promenade (Dionyssiou Areopagitou), which is the entrance to the Acropolis and museum.

There is no danger so long as you just keep walking and don’t accept any invitations from him or his friends.

Athens, Greece
posts: 652
reviews: 7
1. Re: Warning: Scam Near Akropoli Metro in Plaka

I see one of them every day because I work in the area, the short guy. If I ever get a photo of him I will put it up one day.

I disagree with what you said about not interfering though. I mean, I'm not telling people what to do, but I personally can not live with myself if I witness it happening and do nothing. So I have intervened many times, I just simply say to the 'victim' DO NOT GO WITH HIM! IT'S A SCAM!' and that's usually enough to ruin the whole thing as I can see they're already hesitant to begin with. He tries to yell at me a bit but that doesn't bother me.

It's actually a disgrace that the police let these scumbags circulate and prey on tourists... Only in Greece!

Athens, Greece
Destination Expert
for Athens
posts: 11,809
reviews: 8
2. Re: Warning: Scam Near Akropoli Metro in Plaka

In fact the "drink" scam happens in many countries.

Turkey for example, here: turkeytravelplanner.com/details/Safety/Singl… or Spain, Italy and Portugal.

Indeed: Don't follow for drinks any person you don't know, except of course your local friends :))

Magog, Canada
posts: 27,691
reviews: 550
3. Re: Warning: Scam Near Akropoli Metro in Plaka

Yes, that's a pretty universal scam as is the advice of never following a stranger somewhere.

Jacksonville...
posts: 10
4. Re: Warning: Scam Near Akropoli Metro in Plaka

I returned Sunday from Athens (with a work colleague who is male), stayed at Athens Gate (right next to this station) and had the unfortunate luck of running into this scam 4 nights in a row. The first night, the man (shorter of the three I encountered) told me he has a bar and that beautiful women will be there just for me. I laughed and said to him that I'm married to a Greek (I am) and that she would be quite mad at him for taking me to such as place. He asked if she was with me, I said of course she is (she was back home in the U.S.). That was enough as he just shrugged and walked off.

The second night, he approaches again and then remembers me from the night before as the one who is married to the Greek and he just walks away.

The third night we are approached by a different man, same story of bar and women and I tell him about my wife, etc. and he backs off and walks away, albeit a bit more reluctant than the first night's encounter. As we round the corner to the hotel, there is the man from the first night. He now knows us from the previous encounters and just yells at me in English that I'm stupid for being married and that I'm really just afraid to spend money and that I'm cheap. I really think he was trying to goad me into showing him that I was really not cheap and follow him to the bar -- got to give him credit for his efforts, although again not successful.

On the fourth night, a new man approaches and with the same line of "where are you from?" I immediately react with "Now hold on -- this is night four of you idiotic attempt to get me to go to your bar with your beautiful women. What kind of idiot do you think I am???" I was pretty loud and abrupt and caught him off guard as they are usually on the offensive. He stammered a few words and just turned and walked away. I was a little upset with my behavior, but to be honest, it was getting old and quite tiring. I realize this scam happens in many cities, but it's just frustrating how prevalent it was on this trip and it just gets annoying. I'm glad some of the local residents actually make an effort to confront these types of behaviors (see Panionara above). Anyway, I still thoroughly enjoyed the trip and will be back to Greece again as it's offerings far outweigh these kinds of nuisances.

Athens, Greece
posts: 1,140
reviews: 13
5. Re: Warning: Scam Near Akropoli Metro in Plaka

I also agree that those thieving parasites should be confronted.

Seeing it and doing nothing about it, is like being an associate.

If you saw a pocket being picked before your eyes wouldnt you alert the victim ?

New York, USA
posts: 69
reviews: 2
6. Re: Warning: Scam Near Akropoli Metro in Plaka

This business of breaking it up or not is an interesting question. What happened was the night I saw this happen to the young Englishman I stood there glaring at the scene and was about to say something when one of the other guys -- big and strong -- started to confront me.

If you want to intervene, just be aware that you might be in a Bruce Lee action movie before you know it. In an unfamiliar country it's hard to read the rhythm of who is who. Somone local is in a better position, I think.

That young traveller will never do this again -- and perhaps it's better he learn this lesson in a safe, civilized country like Greece than in a really dangerous place. I also remind myself that this old guy just had his pension cut in half: they're doing it to make needed money, not just to be mean to people.

Athens, Greece
posts: 652
reviews: 7
7. Re: Warning: Scam Near Akropoli Metro in Plaka

^ don't ever try and justify what there doing and sympathise with them. They are scum and have been doing it for years.

I'm not encouraging anyone to get invovled, I'm just stating what I happen to do when I see it. I'm big enough and ugly enough to take care of myself, so I have no hesitation in spoiling the party :)

Athens, Greece
posts: 221
8. Re: Warning: Scam Near Akropoli Metro in Plaka

Antlers10021,

I'm sorry but, since written speech can be a little misleading sometimes, can you explain what you mean by this "I also remind myself that this old guy just had his pension cut in half: they're doing it to make needed money, not just to be mean to people."?

New York, USA
posts: 69
reviews: 2
9. Re: Warning: Scam Near Akropoli Metro in Plaka

What I meant was that these scam artists need money in a country in which there is very little opportunity to make it.: Greek old-age pensions have been cut by more than 40%, and people are desperate.

The word "mean" in American usage (it's different in British usage) means "nasty" or "cruel." So I have a little bit of compassion for these guys.

Athens, Greece
Destination Expert
for Athens
posts: 11,809
reviews: 8
10. Re: Warning: Scam Near Akropoli Metro in Plaka

This scam has been here a long time, before any pension cuts.

If they don't have any way to make money other than luring "customers" and overcharging them, they can either jump in Kifissos River ( i hope they know no swimming ) or plant some food instead of what they do.

Pension cuts have nothing to do with the issue. We are talking about a specific bar that has been there for ages. Desperate people go to the soup. Don't turn to scam.