Two years ago I published a hard hitting expose on the “Rose Scam” in Italy. Basically, all over Italy young men approach lady tourists, offer them a rose as a gift and after she is swept off her feet, they demand payment.
Here is an excerpt:
It is straight out of every girl’s Italian fantasy. She is at an iconic landmark like the Spanish Steps, the Rialto Bridge or the Piazza Navone, and she is approached by a handsome, charming Latin Lover with a bad boy look but a soft heart.
He tells her she is beautiful. He offers her a rose. She takes it. She rides on the back of his motorbike all over Rome, they fall in love, get married and have a giant wedding and live happily ever after.
It starts out like this:
This above scene does play out countless times per day in Rome, Venice and Florence, as young men approach tourists and offer them a rose, trying to steal their hearts, or scam them out of a few Euros, to be precise.
After getting the rose, the girl takes a closer look to realize the man who just gave her the rose is not the Latin Lover of her dreams, but a guy from India or Bangladesh. And he wants money for the rose.
Recently in Mexico, I encountered something even more nefarious. A clown in the park in Merida was giving children “free” balloons. After the little kid was all stoked with his gift, the clown would then demand payment from the parents. To make matters worse, the clown was pushing around an old man in a wheelchair in an attempt to get sympathy.
Listen: If the clown was asking the parents in advance for payment, you know, like a salesman, that would have been okay. To first offer it as a gift – to a kid! – and then expect to be paid is a dirty trick. I saw one dad get totally pissed by this con and returned the balloon in a heated disagreement even though his poor kid was crying.
In addition to creepy con artists, Mexican clowns can be ruthless assassins. One of Mexico’s most powerful drug lords was once shot dead by a clown during a children’s party. If the cartels aren’t safe against clowns, then no one is!
To be on the safe side, all parents around the world should make their kids watch “It” at a young age and hang posters of Pennywise the clown in dark corners of the house in order to traumatize them so they run from clowns and do not accept balloons. This is the only way to ensure you are not cheated out of a few pesos or assassinated by a cartel next time you are in Mexico.
Have you fallen victim to a scam while traveling?
Have you ever dressed as a clown in order to assassinate your enemy?
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