Pickpockets, Beggars and and Street Scams, London
Beware of pick pocket wherever you go in London, either inside the shops, tube, bus, walking and waiting for bus or friends.
Fun Alternatives: Just keep an eye for your own stuff right in front of your eyes or where you can feel it all the time. Be alert of your own things and always aware of the surrounding. You can never judge an innocent looking people can be a pick pocket.
A person will approach you and strike up a conversation and ask where you are from. When you tell them they will offer to show you something that relates to the historical links between the UK and you. Afterwards they give you a sob story about their troubles and you feel obligated to give them some money. I was approached at Buckingham Palace and the fellow found out I was born in Texas. He offered to show me the building that housed the Texas Legation when the Republic of Texas existed in 1836. It was there and had a plaque to commemorate it. He then gave me his down and out story and I gave him 5 Pounds. After this I was warned about this ploy by a Londoner. I have been approached since then, but just politely decline any offers.
there will be people at about 5pm everyday asking for your travelcard tickets...
they will sell these on to other people, but more to the point it's actually illegal for you to give them the ticket so don't do it
Fun Alternatives: just do what all londoners do and ignore them...
At the larger train stations in London, such as Victoria and Euston, there are young men that are looking for tourists using the ticket machines. They will wait until you are about to buy a ticket, then they will approach you and act as if they want to help you buy the right ticket. However, they will wait until your money if in the machine, then lean across the machine, secretly pressing the 'cancel' button, and pocket your cash. They will then quickly disappear, leaving you not knowing what happened.
Unique Suggestions: Do not accept any ticket buying advice from anybody without a uniform. Do not put money in a machine when there are young people near it.
Fun Alternatives: The way to completely avoid this trap is to buy your ticket from the ticket counters, where you will be served by a member of staff
London is a great place for criminals and crooks to sell there goods. You'll notice these as they will just be standing next to a wall, with a bag of goods, shouting some kind of "special deal". Just the other week, i tested out these schemes. I brought a pack of 24 batteries for just £1. I got home and not one worked. Be careful! The shops should sell all you need!
At one time, it was extremely rare to see a beggar in London or anywhere else in the UK. Now you will see many beggars especially in Central London. Most are not a problem and it is entirely up to you whether you give them money or not. Some people say that it just encourages people to beg and you should give the money to a homeless charity like Shelter instead. Others give money directly to the street people. Very few beggars in London are aggressive. Occasionally, you might find one the worst for drink who is ranting. Just keep your distance and don't make eye contact and you don't get involved
These are not as common now as they once were but you still need to be aware that you could get involved. Mock auctions take place in empty shops and a gifted salesman whips the crowd into a buying frenzy by offering apparently amazing bargains. Again, accomplices in the crowd will start buying and then innocent people join in. You won't get a bargain, just like the street sellers, you will end up with rubbish worth a fraction of what you have paid for it.
Street Sellers - There are a lot of street sellers, particularly on Oxford Street. They will show you real and sell you fake. They are breaking the law whatever they sell you and so are you if you buy it. Don't bother with them, go to one of the many shops in London where the stuff is real, all be it expensive.
Be careful of thieves and con-artists. The people begging on the streets may just be doing it for extra income before they go home to their soft bed.
I wouldn't say that pickpockets are common... but watch your bag or wallet.
Beware of Mock Auctions!
These have been the bane of tourists visting Oxford Street and elsewhere for years. For the curious a mock auction is a empty premise which has been temporarily leased by a criminal gang - at one end of the shop an auctioneer stands on a platform behind a table loaded with goods such as Sony Walkmen, CD players etc. which they promise you can buy for 10 pounds. Of course no one ever buys these things, instead the 'auctioneer' whips the crowd into a frenzy by selling these 'lots' to ringers in the audience so the rest blindly start putting up their hands even though the brandnames have long gone and the prices are going up and up. Worse still, much of the stuff you buy is actually broken and with electrical goods broken could mean lethal.
Most of the victims are tourists won over by the charming 'cockney' banter of the auctioneer - don't be fooled, these people are thieves and you'll be left with junk!
Something to be aware of is a shop in Oxford street that works like a auction. You are lured inside the store with a sales talk by a man with a microphone who tells you take they sell TV’s VCR’s and laptops for 10% of the retail price. The reason they give is that the packing has been damaged in transport and normal shops cannot sell it anymore. Fact is that the packing is original but the item usually a walkman or camera is a cheap nameless brand. The items mentioned above are just to make you greedy. Once you are in the store together with 40 other people mostly tourists they close the door and the show starts. First they hand out cheap things like cassette tapes for a penny and clock radios for a pound to 4 people. Then they promis a whole bag with goodies for a fixed price. Once you paid this 5 pound they give you cheap immitation parfum and move in for the kill. A group that seem the most eager are offered a expensive looking camera and this is sold for a few hunderd pounds. Then they open the door and everybody has to leave because they are closing for today. Outside you open your interesting box and what you see is not what you bought. A camera worth 15 pounds is all you got as a reminder of your greed. The police can do nothing because you bought it on an auction and you had to be more carefull…
When I arrived at the airport someone was offering me cheap tube day passes. I am glad I did not take it. When I arrived at Russell Square station someone else was having trouble with her ticket. She got the ticket from one of these hustlers.
Be careful of those plausible photographers who say they will take a wonderful picture of you .You need only pay a small sum. You will come across them at popular tourist spots such as Oxford Street,near Harrods and in Covent Garden.