The Belgian guy is still going strong as of November 2013. He approached us on San Juan, asking if we spoke English then asking directions to the main square. Luckily we had read about him before so when he said he was Belgian alarm bells rung. He then tried to get friendly before mentioning that he hated Mendoza because he had been robbed. We just repeated the directions and walked away. The next day he tried the same con on someone from our hostel at the bus station..
We unfortunatly feel victim to this scam just last week. It is crazy how long this has been going on for!!
My spouse and I unfortunatly came into contact with a man on a street near the main plaza a few days ago. He came up to us and started normal small talk and seemed very friendly, then asked us how we were enjoying Mendoza. He then told us he ¨hated¨it here, because he had just arrived this morning and was mugged. He said that a few young guys sprayed him in the eyes and took everything. He was even tearing up and shed a few tears. He told us he called his father back in Europe and could not use Western Union because he had no identification and just needed to get on a bus to his embassy in Buenos Aires which would be $110 Pesos. He really had us fooled! We offered him money for the bus and more for food, thinking this was our good deed for the day. He was shaking and crying, he had blood on his shirt and a scratch on his face (we assumed from the mugging) he even tried to give us some of the money back saying that it was too much, and that he didn´t need it all. He is seriously so good at acting this part, it´s sick! The gross part is that he huged us both good bye and said he would contact us when we got to Buenos Aires in a a few days. The only reason we found out about it was because we were telling the story to some locals and they knew about him right away.
Hopefully any other travellers coming to the area are able to realize that this is indeed a scam, although it´s sad to say that I´m sure he will be successful again.
He is about 5 10´, blonde hair, big stomach, big blue eyes, and had a Dutch accent
Unbelievable! Still in February 2012 this scammer is still walking around the streets of Mendoza and doing his scam show. I read this warning BEFORE I went to Mendoza, so when we met him on the street, my memory catched up after some minutes of polite conversation with the guy.
We cut him off rather abruptly when we more or less realized that this was the man I've read about. I regret that I didn't get him with my camera!!
The Belgium bastard got us today just before we entered our hotel! He asked for directions in the beginning and then asked us if we'd had any problems in Mendoza. He said he arrived that morning and hates it, he wants to return home. Finally before walking away I asked why he hates it, if he'd been robbed and he said he'd lost everything at the bus station, money belt, passport, back pack and he needs to stay in a hostel for the night and get back to Buenos Aires. I was still thinking we'd leave it his problem but he was convincing and me not liking the thought of being stuck in the same situation, I gave him 30 pesos. Mum then gave him another 50 pesos. I then searched 'safety in Mendoza' on the internet once we returned to the hotel and found these warnings. I can't believe he's still doing it! I don't think it is necessarily unsafe here but he is ruining the image of Mendoza and preventing people from helping those who are really in need. He caught us around the central plaza and is of a thick set, blonde and late 30's. Be aware!!
I just signed up to Virtual Tourist so i could post this one comment. I got approached by the guy last night! I'm certain it was him. This time he was from Belgium. God could he act! He was so convincing I don't understand why he's in Mendoza and not Hollywood. (Very) luckily for me though, I read your thread and the thread from 2006 yesterday afternoon. It just goes to show that even the slightest bit of preparation can help you a lot when you travel. Thanks very much for posting your threads regarding this guy, otherwise, I too would have felt like I was doing my good deed for the day, only to see him do the same thing the next day.
I refer to post by 'Gaspar&Floppy' written on June 26, 2006 - He is still doing it as we were scammed by him today, 22 April 2010!
Here is part of the original post:
"There's a Dutch guy wandering around talking to English speaking travellers, telling he has had all his bags stolen THAT morning by gypsies, and that he's no money, no passport, no credit cards, nothing, and has to get a flight home in a couple of days from Buenos Aires. That´s the short version. He has a pretty well contrived story with well rehearsed details to any question you might ask him. He's in his early 30´s, about 5´9", heavy set"
His story has changed slightly - They sprayed his face with some liquid, no one will help him and he has to get to Buenos Aires to get a new passport.
He came up to us just outside the large park where no-one else is around.
Currently wearing a cream jacket and a very old-style-travelling shoe. We weren't sure if he was 'for real' but he seemed so upset and shaken. A local told us later on that it is all a lye!
Deep channels along all the pavements in Mendoza pose a hazard for the unwary. These are the acequias, built to irrigate the large trees that provide much-needed shade to the city in the heat of summer and to carry off the meltwater that comes flooding down from the mountains each spring. There are over 500 kms of them around the city, most a good metre in depth and, in the deep shade cast by the trees they water, they can be a hazard, especially as the light fades in the late afternoon. They're quite wide so small bridges are provided at regular intervals.
Be on the lookout for thiefs at the Mendoza bus station (terminal de omnibus) as there are a lot of them operating within the narrow corridors of this building. You will spot them easily: young people, walking aimlessly inside the station or hanging out on benches, usually in small groups (2-3), and NOT carrying bags or any luggage. Be especially wary of lockers and use the luggage deposit instead if you want to leave your backpack for the day.
We were robbed of a knapsack as we were looking at how those lockers work: We were immediately approached by a girl and then her partner who both agressively tried to persuade us to leave our backpacks there. 2 or 3 more young people joined in and when we decided to walk away, my knapsack which I had laid on the floor at my feet (and included my passport, money and bank card) had disappeared.
The moral of the story: be alert of your surroundings, physically hold on to your bags as much as possible and keep your money, documents and passport on yourself (in a moneybelt and with the money ideally distributed in different places like pockets, shoes, whatever!).
Our experience showed us the police inside the station will not collaborate: they actually walked away when my friend went for help even though they saw me running around as I was frantically trying to find my bag. Hello corrupt cops!!!
You will have men/kids open the the taxi door when you get in or out of the taxi (you don't even get a chance to open it yourself) and they expect to be tipped, especially if they grab your bags and put it in the car for you.
You go walking on the street when accidentally somebody smashes an ice cream on your clothes, politely, they offer themselves to help you to clean the mess (they usually work in couples), one of them helps you to take your bagpack out and clean the stain. After you realize they'll be gone and your bagpack or purse will be gone too
Due to the increase in the number of tourists in our province, bag snatchers and pick pockets have called reserves!
Not only tourists come to our province, snatchers, thieves and pick pocketers too (to help the local turants of course)
Don't leave your personal belongings unnatended and be careful if you go to a bank to take money many people, local and tourists are robbed after they make a money extraction.
There's a Dutch guy wandering around talking to English speaking travellers, telling he has had all his bags stolen THAT morning by gypsies, and that he's no money, no passport, no credit cards, nothing, and has to get a flight home in a couple of days from Buenos Aires. That´s the short version. He has a pretty well contrived story with well rehearsed details to any question you might ask him.
He's in his early 30´s, about 5´9", heavy set, looks a bit overweight, and dresses kind of scruffy(ish). He calls himself Tim. At least he did with us.
He seemed clearly distressed, and frightened. So we eventually offered to give him a little money to get to Buenos Aires for his flight. The guy even had tears in his eyes as we handed him the cash. It wasn´t alot in UK money (100pesos), but it was enough.
That was 2 days ago. Now, we just saw him in a cafe in town. He spotted us and before we could really think about the situation, he immediately got up, shook our hands and headed for the door. As I asked him why he was still in town, he said he´d be back in a minute to tell us all about it. He promptly shot out the door quicker than a wet sh!t off a shiny shovel as we slowly realised he was a scammer. As it turns out, he´d just given 2 other guys in that cafe the same story, and they´d bought him a coffee. Another guy who was Argentinian was actually convinced enough that he was going to give him his address in Buenos Ares, and offer to let him stay for a night if he needed to when he got there!!!
If he tries the same thing with you, tell him Nats and Andy say hi, and he´s BUSTED!!!!!
For the record, and for anyone who might change their mind about going there now, Mendoza actually seems like a pretty safe place, and we´ve really enjoyed it. We have not felt threatened, or unsafe at any time, and they really know how to party. It seems ironic that the only person who has done something like this to us in 9 months of travelling the world is a bloody western tourist himself!!!!!
Can assure your luggage's safety so be really careful with it.
Some days ago 2 Peruvian climbers who established a new record in the Aconcagua (they climbed it in 20 hours!!) got all their luggage stolen in a hostel on Rivadavia street.
Please be very careful when looking for a hostel or hotel in the city.
Ok, like I always say "don't be scared, just be careful"
It is widely known that there are a lot of people in Mendoza's bus station waiting for the moment to snatch your purse, bagpack or anything they can so be extremely careful.
This palce is located at 3 kms west from El Challao Town, in Las Heras. A lot of couples used to go there to intimate.
Now Gaspar&Floppy say "don't you dare going there" It's dangerous and easy to get your car and stuff robbed. Don't be foolish