If you are a tourist in Budapest, be on your guard on the following scams and ripoffs faced by tourists. I was a victim myself and lost several hundred euros. So this is the wake-up call to all and avoids scam artists. From what I have heard, Asians and Americans and Canadians are usually targets for these con artists.
- Bar scams: When you walk on the main deck square or the Vaci shopping street, two nice girls will come up to you, ask for directions or initiate a conversation, too curious to know you and later will ask you to join them for a drink at a pub or a bar. Don’t go with them! If you go and have drinks and then when it’s time to settle bills, they bring you huge 600 euro bills, too good to be true and they will extort you.
- Fake police scam: When you walk in touristic areas or near chain bridge, one or two will come to you with a map asking for directions, where is this that? Then when you are in a conversation, the third guy will come and interrupt you, saying it’s a police showing fake id and then will try to extort you. Tell them that you can only show id to police in uniform and boldly tell them that let’s go to the nearest police station to sort things out. This will scare them away. These people work in groups and they will distract you throwing some currency on the ground and steal from you.
- iPhone scam: Ignore all the people who sell phones at cheap rates, usually near basilica. Those are nothing but stolen phones.
- Currency exchange scam: If you exchange currency at the shops, some people in the streets will come up to you and will lure you for better exchange rates. Ignore and don’t exchange with these con artists on streets, because they usually hand you over all fake notes or invalid notes, which is useless for you.
- Ripoff at shops: Most souvenir shops and restaurants will rip you off when you pay in euros. They give you very low exchange rates, usually 250 or 220 per euro. The EUR is approx 300 forints. So when you land in Hungary, always use the forints the local currency. Stop paying in euros!!!