Navigating Scams and Deception on the Streets of New York: A Guide to Ensuring a Safe Visit


New York City, the vibrant metropolis known for its iconic landmarks and diverse culture, is a dream destination for many travelers. However, beneath its allure lies a less appealing reality – the presence of scams and deceit that target unsuspecting tourists. In this article, we will delve into common scams in New York City and provide valuable insights into safeguarding yourself against these pitfalls to make the most of your visit.

Common Scams in New York City

  1. Street Performer Photo Ops: Street performers, dressed as characters like superheroes or celebrities, might offer to take pictures with tourists. Afterward, they may demand high fees for the photos. To avoid this, establish any costs upfront or simply decline the photo offer.
  2. CD or Music Scams: Street vendors might approach you with seemingly free CDs or music demos, only to aggressively demand payment once you accept. Politely but firmly decline any unsolicited offerings.
  3. Ticket Scalping: Scalpers outside popular attractions or events might sell counterfeit or overpriced tickets. Purchase tickets only from official sources and authorized vendors.
  4. “Found” Ring Scam: Someone might appear to find a valuable ring in your vicinity and offer to sell it to you at a seemingly discounted price. In reality, the ring is often fake. Politely decline and walk away.
  5. Fake Charities: Scammers may claim to represent a charity and ask for donations. Always verify the legitimacy of the charity before contributing.
  6. ATM Skimming: Be cautious when using ATMs in crowded areas, as scammers may have installed skimming devices to steal your card information. Use ATMs in well-lit, secure locations.

Ways to Stay Protected

  1. Research and Knowledge: Educate yourself about common scams in New York City before your trip. Knowledge is your best defense against potential fraud.
  2. Street Smart Attitude: Maintain an alert and confident demeanor. Scammers often target individuals who appear lost or confused.
  3. Secured Belongings: Keep your belongings secure using anti-theft bags or pouches. Avoid displaying expensive items like jewelry or electronics.
  4. Group Travel: Traveling with companions decreases your vulnerability to scams. Thieves are less likely to target groups.
  5. Ignore Unsolicited Approaches: Politely but firmly decline any unsolicited offers, including free items or services, from strangers on the street.
  6. Official Sources: Purchase tickets, merchandise, and services only from reputable, authorized vendors or official sources.
  7. Verify Information: If someone claims an attraction is closed or inaccessible, double-check the information through reliable sources.
  8. Emergency Preparedness: Keep a list of emergency contacts and the local embassy’s information in case of any issues.


New York City’s dynamic energy and cultural riches make it an unparalleled destination. By familiarizing yourself with potential scams, staying vigilant, and using your intuition, you can savor the city’s offerings without being taken advantage of. Awareness, assertiveness, and a keen eye for authenticity will empower you to enjoy the wonders of the Big Apple while protecting yourself from scams and deception.