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Budapest Scam - Warning

London
Level Contributor
6 posts
49 reviews
Budapest Scam - Warning

I have just returned from a business trip to Budapest and much to my annoyance I fell for a scam. I am widely travelled and normally veer well away from situations like this but this one time my guard was down and so I feel obliged to let others know - forearmed is forewarned.

I was simply wandering about near the river on the Pest side and these 2 friendly girls asked for directions, (i was looking at a map and looking for a bar). They were in their late twenties. They wanted to go to a bar, and asked me to join them. I said no way but in the end they persuaded me to come along for one. It was only about 7pm and I thought what was the harm in one beer after a days work ? I suppose the fact they seemed to know exactly which bar we should go to should have raised an alarm bell - but it didn't.

Anyway we had a few shots and their company was pleasant. At about 8.30 ish i thought i better head off. The bill came and I was expecting about £30 equivalent maybe more but I knew how much drinks should be so wasn't expecting anything much higher. It was £600 !!

I only had £80 on me. Conveniently there was an ATM outside which i was walked to. I stayed calm throughout but was thinking what the hell could I do ? At the ATM I pretended to start drawing the money but then withdrew my card and ran and ran. The owner and one of the girls were so surprised I got away.

Yes looking back there were many signs indicating this whole situation was wrong but I am always trying to believe in people's good nature. It is getting harder to..

So take warning from my story please.

luton
Destination Expert
for Luton
Level Contributor
2,186 posts
308 reviews
1. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

lucky you had your trainers on fella

£600 is on the low side for what men have been stung by this the oldest of tourist traps

think of it this way

how often do attractive ladies approach you in London and ask you to go for a drink?

all the best

tony

Pecs, Hungary
Level Contributor
87 posts
74 reviews
2. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

First of all I apologize for this incident in the name of the Hungarian citizens.

On the other hand this can happen anywhere in the world.

I hope that you come back again to get better experiences.

Prior to your next visit please read the following:

hungary.usembassy.gov/tourist_advisory.html

Take care,

George

Hungary
Level Contributor
2,636 posts
12 reviews
3. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

This is a fairly common scam in Budapest (Police wouldn't bat an eye if you reported it). Most if not all the scams involve:

1) Girls

2) Bars/Clubs (Recommended by taxi drivers/girls)

Avoid the two and you'll be fine. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Nonetheless, glad you got away without any trouble.

Edited: 8:21 pm, March 06, 2013
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
509 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

sounds like you enjoyed some free drinks in the end then.

but thank you for posting this! It's important to take the necessary precautions and to be updated on what forms the scams may take.

Edinburgh, United...
Level Contributor
615 posts
157 reviews
5. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

Thanks for the info, glad you managed to get away from them

Norwich, England...
Level Contributor
3 posts
10 reviews
6. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

This happens in Budapest a lot but also in other cities. Best thing is to avoid the Vaci Utca area in the evenings. If I remember the legal position correctly Hungarian clubs are by law are required to display a menu outside with the prices on it. If you complain to the police they will tell you that you should have checked the price before you ordered the drinks. The trouble is some joints have two menus with different prices :-( . I also know of someone who got caught twice by the same scam.

It would help others if you could name the club! Would it be quite near C&A ?

Norwich, England...
Level Contributor
3 posts
10 reviews
7. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

Also, what sort of running shoes do you have ;-)

Liverpool UK
Level Contributor
4,173 posts
34 reviews
8. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

Re post 6.... Is Vaci Ulca area that bad? Getting slightly concerned, staying at the Mecure city centre in April. Small group of us and we won't be visiting any clubs anyway. Would welcome a few opinions/advice etc. Thanks

Edited: 6:19 am, March 12, 2013
Pecs, Hungary
Level Contributor
87 posts
74 reviews
9. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

Hi Liverpoolman,

do not worry. The area is not bad. Only the people :-))

Vaci utca is the downtown. The whole Budapest is rather safe. Of course you can meet bad guys and/or bad girls. You just have to apply the same safety rules like at home. See post #3. "If it looks too good to be true", then go away. Just use common sense. And read this one :

hungary.usembassy.gov/tourist_advisory.html

There is a list of clubs, restaurants to be avoided.

By the way. The British Embassy is about 200 metres from the northern end of the Vaci utca :-)

You can check also their website: http://ukinhungary.fco.gov.uk/en/sitemap

Once more, do not worry, just don’t take risks that you wouldn’t at home.

Have a pleasant stay in Budapest,

George

Edited: 7:24 am, March 12, 2013
Liverpool UK
Level Contributor
4,173 posts
34 reviews
10. Re: Budapest Scam - Warning

Thanks George. We are pretty 'street wise' just thought we had chose the wrong place. Appreciate the quick reply.