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 Going on vacation to Turkey? Read this first

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EU321
Master Baiter


Joined: 11 Jul 2011
Posts: 229


PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:05 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Single male travelers are targets for several sorts of scams that end in robbery.

One of these is the "Let's Have a Drink" Scam which results in your paying a drinks bill of hundreds or even thousands of dollars or euros. Here's how it works and how to avoid it:

In Istanbul, Sultanahmet Square, and Beyoğlu's İstiklal Caddesi and Cumhuriyet Caddesi are common places for this to happen.

While you wander around on your own in the evening, you're approached by a well-dressed man who speaks good English. He chats with you, then he suggests you have a drink together, and leads you to a bar or nightclub that's in on the scam. (He might lead you to a normal, innocent place first in order to gain your confidence, then afterwards go to the scam location.)

As soon as you sit down, women and perhaps other men also sit at your table and order drinks (usually, but not always, "champagne"). Sooner or later the bill will come, you will be expected to pay it, and it will equal or exceed the total amount of money you have with you; or your credit card will be forcibly taken and charged for a huge amount. Typical "bills" presented to victims are between TL1000 and TL10,000. (In fact, they will usually take all the money you have.)

If you protest the scam, you may be taken into a backroom "office" and beaten or even threatened with death until you agree to pay. You may also be forcibly taken to an ATM and ordered to take as much money as you can from it.

It's robbery, plain and simple, and in recent years it has gotten a lot rougher and more dangerous. According to a report published in Hürriyet, Turkey's largest-circulation newspaper, on June 26, 2008, Istanbul police staged coordinated raids on six nightclubs suspected of this activity and arrested over a hundred people including bar owners, employees and konsomatris (bar girls whose job it is to entertain customers with the aim of increasing their bills). The police seized weapons (including a Kalashnikov and pistols) and drugs as well.

According to the Hürriyet article, some police may have been part of the scam. If a victim reported the incident to police, the police might recover some of the money for the victim, perhaps half of it—which left the remaining half to pay the "well-dressed man" who speaks English, the club, and the police themselves. "Well-dressed men," called "translators" in the Hürriyet article, could earn TL4000 to TL5000 per month at this scam.

If the victim didn't go to the police, the gang kept all of the money.

Even in the best of circumstances, where the police are not in on the scam, the situation is against you: the nightclub owner may protest that you ran up a big bill, got drunk, caused a ruckus and didn't want to pay. It's his word against yours, and he speaks the local language and knows how to work the scam. He knows that few foreign travelers will go to the police, and that he may never be tried and convicted.

(If at some point the club owner offers to give some or all of your money back to you in exchange for avoiding the police, don't believe him! He's a crook! You will get no money back, whatever he says. Avoid any further dealings with him!)

—Here's a first-hand account of a (lucky) victim of this scam

—Here's another first-hand account

—Here are two more, the first with two male robbers approaching two male travelers, the second involving a taxi from the airport
A variation: you're sitting alone in a bar, café, taverna (meyhane) or restaurant area (perhaps Beyoğlu's Çiçek Pasajı). Two or three men sit down near you or next to you and strike up a conversation. You chat amiably. After awhile they suggest you all go to another place, perhaps because it's got "a good view," or "music," or "great food." In the car or taxi on the way there, they relieve you of your wallet, dump you in the street and speed off to parts unknown.

Here are the giveaways that you're being scammed:

1. The con man often begins his chat with "I just got off from work in [nearby hotel]." This is to convince you that he knows and is friendly with foreign visitors.

2. He will suggest that you go for a drink not to just any bar but "to a place I know." At first he may take you to one or two normal places, perhaps for tea or coffee, but eventually he will insist on going to a particular bar/nightclub that's in on the scam.

3. Your conversation will not seem normal. You may ask a question about Turkey, and he will say something on another topic entirely. In fact, he's following a script to lead you to the point of agreeing to go have a drink (and be robbed).

Here's how to avoid being scammed:

A. Mention that you're with two or three other male friends who have gotten ahead of you. "Let's go find them and all go," you can say. A Turk who's just interested in having a friendly drink and chat would probably welcome the suggestion. A scammer will pressure you to come alone.

B. Suggest another place for a drink, a very public one, such as a hotel lobby bar or sidewalk café. A polite Turk will agree—the point is to sit and chat, and it doesn't matter where. A scammer will insist on going only "to this place I know."

C. Say that you're meeting others in a few minutes (give no details, even if he asks), and offer to meet him for a drink some other time (say tomorrow) "with my other friends." The scammer will not want that.

If you think you're being scammed, excuse yourself and get away. "Sorry, I can't right now. Bye!" "I gotta go!" "Some other time." Most of the time this will work. The scammer usually chats you up on a public street, and won't want to be seen as part of a ruckus or scuffle.

Another scam is "New Traveling Companions."

Don't let these scams scare you. In general, Turkey is a safe and welcoming place. Now that you're aware of the scams, you won't let them happen to you.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/details/Safety/SingleMaleScams.html

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eddie shoestring
Not quite a Newb


Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 50


PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:06 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Good information EU, i just mentioned it to my teenage sons and they gave me this story straight back.
One of my sons friends was scammed in Malia, Turkey, with something similar.
He was very young and they convinced him to stay and have a few free drinks, 4 shots for the price of 1 etc, when he got the bill at the end of the night they had charged him for everything and a few drinks more. He didn't have enough money so took him out the back and beat him up while they got his friend to go and get the rest of the money.
Luckily he didn't have a credit card, he was only 16. And under age kids aren't going to go to the Police are they.

Yes, be very careful.

As a footnote Turkey is one of my favourite countries, with the most pleasant beautiful people. Out to make a living yes, talk you into buying what you don't need yes, try to sell you overpriced tat yes, get you on a boat trip you don't want to travel on yes, but very rarely will you be scammed or attacked. Police tend to take the tourist's side as they and the local Mayor know that the country would die without tourism. However, scams and beatings do take place, especially against the younger ones who they can claim were drunk and violent....so as EU321 thankfully posted, be aware.

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nathpesoj
Hello I'm New here!


Joined: 18 Sep 2011
Posts: 18
Location: Malaysia, +7 geological, +8 official


PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:53 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

hmmm, these scammer can be a stalker for me, the only way to loose them is get to crowd if ur in the city then get yourself aboard the bus, make sure you loose him 1st otherwise he will sit next to you, scam do happen on the taxi, in Kuala Lumpur some charge double to tourist, the only safe transport to get around is by light rail or citybus.
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