Tourist scams in Munich and how to avoid them

by amuc001

What are tourist scams?

A scam is actually defined as a fraudulent act or illegal trick, with the purpose of getting money. Tourist scams are scams that are mainly made against tourists, because they are unsure about local customs or because they don’t dare to say „no“ due to their receptiveness.

Are there tourist scams in Munich?

Munich is a very safe city, if not one of the safest cities in Europe. Therefore scams are quite rare and by far not as common as in other European metropoles like Paris or Rome. The city police do a very good job, but even in Munich, there can be situations of fraud from time to time. To prevent you from falling for these rare scams, you will find below the scams that you may possibly encounter.
Please note that in this article I will exclusively focus on fraudulent tricks.

1. The friendly buddhist monk

Especially in the summer months, you can see here and there individual Buddhist monks walking through the streets. From time to time they speak to passers-by and engage them in conversation. If you meet a friendly smiling Buddhist monk in Munich who speaks to you, just keep walking!

These monks are scammers! All of them!
Either they are fake monks who are actually begging for money („for the construction/renovation of their temple somewhere in Asia“) or they are members of the Hare Krishna sect who give you a „free“ book from their great guru – but then want to see money for it.

  • dangerousness20
  • annoying level20

2. Petition charity scam

Throughout the year, but especially during the summer and around Christmas time, there are people in Munich, especially young people or teenagers, who approach you and explain that they are collecting signatures for some charitable purpose.
Often this happens in the evening hours when there is hardly any daylight and you can’t really see what kind of signature list this is.

You can already see what I am pointing at. Never never never sign anything with your signature where you don’t know a thousand percent exactly for what you are signing.

With this scam, you have agreed to make a donation in at best case. If you refuse, the scammers will start a public scene and sometimes also threaten to report you to the police.
In the worst case, it is a distraction and an accomplice will try to reach into your handbag, jacket pocket, etc.

How do you bypass this scam? Just go on without words, or (if you want it to be more public) yell „No, I don’t want that!“

  • dangerousness50
  • annoying level30

3. Fake beggars

In Munich, especially in busy districts such as the Old Town, and Schwabing, you can sometimes find beggars. They usually sit at house walls or in rarely used doorways. Most of them are fake beggars and members of the so-called „begging mafia“. Most of them come from Eastern Europe and Southeastern Europe (especially Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary). Some of them are staying illegally in Germany and have to beg for money for their immigrant smugglers in order to pay their smuggling debts.
Sometimes they have (more or less real) handicaps, children, or animals (e.g. dogs) with them to warm the hearts of passers-by so that they will give money.
Often the animals are also given drugs so that they sleep most of the time and look particularly weak and suffering.

In Munich aggressive and/or active begging is forbidden, the beggars draw attention to themselves by jingling with their cup of coins or greeting each passer-by.

How do you bypass this scam? Just go on without words.

  • dangerousness10
  • annoying level30

Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

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