Beggars & Scams, Amsterdam

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  • Bilimari's Profile Photo

    Not so kind helpers

    by Bilimari Written Jun 13, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    People may come up to you acting like offering help, but don't talk to them. If you have any questions, go to the information desk or any hotels.

    When I was walking on the street, a guy came up to me and said, "Put your camera in a bag or someone will take it away from you." Then, "Hi, I'm Charles. If you need a direction or have questions, just ask. I will take you there or answer to any questions."
    "No, thanks, Charles."

    Another guy said, "Ask some questions. I'll answer it for 1 euro!"
    "No, thanks."

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    by A2002 Written Feb 18, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Watch out for people who approach saying that they are police checking for counterfeit notes. Do not show them your money! They wear normal clothes and show a dodgy pass.
    Just tell them you want to go to the police station for the check, and they will buzz off. Becareful.

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  • dila's Profile Photo

    Public Transport Tickets

    by dila Written Mar 20, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You cant buy public transport tickets on the street.
    You can only buy them at the public transport itself or some offices like at Tickets and Info at Central station, Station Zuid (South) Also possible to buy more day tickets here.
    Holland pass you need to give the coupon for public transport at the office you buy this pass.

    The scam works like this i have seen 1 person doing it.
    He asks tickets from people leaving the tram or picks tickets up from the street.
    He sells them to you or go with you and asks a bigger price often then they costs for the service he gave. The person i know he scams is tall is white and has sometimes a coat with nr 88 on the back.

    a ticket works when you check in and get a green light and 1 beep. you read a date or goede ries or overstap check out always you read tot ziens
    not working red light 2 beeps.

    If you dont have a valid ticket it can cost you 37.70 euro

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  • coreykorhan's Profile Photo


    by coreykorhan Updated Aug 30, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The mainland of entertainment and music, the clubbers heaven and the smokers dreamcity, the AMSTERDAM.

    its all good enjoy whatever your desire is in this city and I JUST LOVE AMSTERDAM, but please be carefull in the streets of amsterdam.

    never deal or pay attention to the junkies or hustlers on the streets, specially arround red light district.

    The Dam The Dam sq. Central Station the Canal @ Red Light
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  • kri-kri's Profile Photo

    Do NOT look at them at all times, just ignore them

    by kri-kri Updated Aug 17, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When walking around the RLD or other crowded places like Leidseplein or Rembrandplein, you will definitely be approached by street dealers trying to sell you hard drugs. They will not stop you, or become pushy in any way, unless you give them the right to. What they do is walk around, observing the crowd and look for customers. When they see potential ones, they walk up to them, say "Coke" or "Extasy" on their ears and walk away. Especially at the RLD, things are much more obvious - most of the times they're just standing on the street sides talking to each other looking for victims. The dealing here is more frequent, and you could easily avoid it by walking in the middle of the street looking at everything else BUT the dealers.
    The best advise, in all situations, is NOT to stare or look them at all. Just keep an eye for half-blooded people with funny hats. If you see people like this wandering around either on their own or in couples, chances are you're gonna hear the "coke" thing in a few seconds. The more you wander in the streets of Amsterdam, the sooner you'll learn to recognize them from a distance, which will help you avoid their glance.
    And if someone tries to be pushy, just reply "No thanks", without interrupting your walk and of course without staring or looking at them. If you do, they'll think you're either interested in hard drugs or can be talked into buying, so they'll probably follow or stalk you for a while. In a case like that, just change your direction and walk away.

    Sometimes you might come across a guy who'll kindly stop you in the middle of the street and tell you all about how he lost all his belongings, and whatever you can spare will help him get back home. In cases like that, where a stranger walks up to you and asks you if you have a minute, even if he looks like a tourist or a backpacker, chances are he's just looking for money to buy drugs. As in every similar case, remember that the money you'll give him have a chance to buy him his last dose...

    RLD at night
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  • bobsreturn2004's Profile Photo

    Be careful Who you Ask!

    by bobsreturn2004 Written Apr 16, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    While walking back from The Van Gough museum i managed to get lost.I found two ladies in the street who offered to help me with some enquiries about getting back to my hotel.
    Unfortunatly the ladies didnt know my area very well, until from nowhere this Dutch man offered to help me.He was polite,curtious and showed me the right way to go.Howver once he had helped me out, he persisted in getting money.In the end i gave in and gave him 2 euros.Its ridiciolous that in these days you have to pay to get rid of someone.

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  • Flower Shop Scam Beware!

    by kimster66 Updated Jun 27, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Warning: I fell for this scam and you can too. In the flower market, where a lot of tourist go to buy flowers, it is easy to be ripped off. Especially in the shop at the corner, the scamming is very frequent. The idea is that they offer a bag of say tulips, for which you pay a hefty price, but when you return home and open the bag it contains just a few originals and are basicallt filled with 90% of inexpensive onions etc. For my own part, I discovered the scam and returned to the shop with the evidence but the owner of the shop (see pix) refused even to listen to me. He pretended ignorance and laughed me right in the face when I complained. I feel 110% sure that he knows exactly what is going on and very cynically exploit tourists in this way. I met two girls from Denmark who told me of a similar experience with them, so dont be surprised if you are tricked. How many tourists come back to complain about flowers or seeds, right? So they can continue his scam without almost any risk. So beware of this shop and others. The best option is to open any bag before you buy to check the content. Even if its just a few euros, I hate to be tricked like this. So beware of such cynical scammers. Amsterdam is a lovely city, just a pity with such low-lifes. When I told the owner I would tell others of the story and laughed and said "I dont care. Do what you f@@@king like." I then took his photo and told him I would publisize the scam, and he jusked asked "-Should I smile? Nobody will read your stupid warning, you looser!" I think this attitude is evidence enough.

    Looks pretty but is a scam! Scammer asked me Corner shop in the Flower market different angle looks attractive but beware of scam.
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  • Dyesebel's Profile Photo

    Fake tickets/Not valid tickets

    by Dyesebel Updated Sep 7, 2009

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When I was buying a ticket from the machine,a guy came to me.He offered me tickets to the airport,they looked real but I was not sure if they were still valid or not.He said,he just came from the airport and he didn't need them anymore. I offered him to exchange tickets,we still had 24hr city ticket but he refused.He wanted me to pay for the tickets,which of course I didn't accept.
    Well,to make the story short,the guy left mad;)

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  • sharonn's Profile Photo

    It is quite dangerous in...

    by sharonn Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It is quite dangerous in Amsterdam (or anywhere else for that matter) to have too many pulls on the bong it is seriously lethal. Be warned! Also be warned you will feel like a wally asking for a space cake....

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  • Aisha's Profile Photo

    This is a person who was...

    by Aisha Written Aug 24, 2002

    1 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a person who was walking in the city centre. I made some photos to drive you attantion to the fact that in the red light district there are woman and men too, so take care before going inside to don't have surprises :-)

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  • Bill Swap at Souvenior Store

    by Gurn_Bladstein Written Jun 16, 2009

    Went into a souvenior store to purchase some gifts for my family. I was alone in the store. I picked out a couple of items and approached the man sitting behind the cash register. He didn't speak much english at all but he motioned to the stairs and told me that I had to pay upstairs. I was skeptical, but I climbed to the second floor. No exit, no cash register. To the third floor - no exit or cash register. Finally I made it to the fourth floor. Again no cash register or exit. I returned to the bottom floor where the guy motioned reluctantly that he'd ring up my purchases.

    I allowed my eyes to wander around his store while he fumbled behind the counter. I kept hearing this beeping sound. When I finally looked at the man again, he had this look of concern on his face and was shaking his head in denial. He told me my money was no good. He then took a "Good" 20 Euro note from his cash drawer and I could hear it pass through his machine fine. He took my bill again, and again it beeped. I took my 20 Euro back from him and left my merchandise on the counter.

    It wasn't until I got back to my hotel that it occurred to me that the 20 Euro in question came directly from a money exchange at the Richpol International Airport, and surely THEY wouldn't have passed a bogus bill to me.

    It was pretty apparent that the man sent me on a wild goose chase up the stairs so he could retrieve his phony bill from its hiding location (I suspect the police may have looked into his business practices before in the past - and he now has a very rock solid hiding place for his bogus bills should the cops ever surprise him unexpectedly). Once he got my money he just palmed it and swapped his bogus bill for it. He made a quick 20 Euros, and didn't lose a bit of stock to the ignorant American Tourist.

    If a store employee behaves in this manner drop your goods and walk outta of the store without letting him lay his hands on your money.

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  • bartmcgee's Profile Photo

    Coupla scams encountered within 2 weeks!

    by bartmcgee Written Jul 6, 2009

    This guy comes up and asks for some change 50 soon as you give them that they ask for more...LIKE YOU OWE IT TO THEM!!! TWice Ive had to tell people to &^%$ off!

    This other scam happened the other day...NOW THIS ONE BLEW MY MIND...
    I am sitting outside my apartment and this guy just rolls up on a bike and says he lives in the same building...says his roomate is away at work and needs to get the keys from him at work...asks me for 8 euros tram money and swears he'll pay me back in the morning. Being good natured my wife and I give him the money as we had just moved in and didnt know him as a neighbour or whatever...stupid...never seen him again...Amsterdam is more like Amster'scam'...the majority of people are overly nice folk...but this place has a lot of shifty peeps here.

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  • gabasto's Profile Photo

    Street bums

    by gabasto Written Apr 6, 2005

    Do not make eye contact with the homeless. They will generally only ask for money twice then move on to the next person, but this turns old quick. There are quite a number of them and they come out at night when people are usually less than aware and more liberal with the donations.

    Police are all over the place but avoid bums completely. I thought I would at least honor their humanity and speak to them but they figure you are just another drug tourist and get close and offer "coka" or "ecstasis".
    Don't try to pretend you don't know what language they are speaking either. This never works in a trilingual country.

    One guy asked me "Speak English?" then ""Espanol", "Italiano". I would have had to have spoken Vietnamese for this guy not to have bothered me.

    Not a native, but you get the idea
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  • The worst time to be there is...

    by bucky111 Written Aug 24, 2002

    The worst time to be there is in nov. When the cannabis cup is go on first let me tell the cup is a rip off stay away from that. Spend your $150 on weed hooker or what ever you want because all you get is a chesse bus ride you can get a 3 day train pass for 20guilders . High times is nothing but a rip off and from what my friend says that high times cup is ran by the dea. You get no free weed or discount .Stay away from the DeDampkring when the cup is going on. There are crews of pick pockets that work in there and they target american . The whole cafe is in on it I saw it happen to people . The only reason it did'nt happen to is because I'am a big dude.Alway exchange money in banks because at the outside exchange they are homeless people targeting people . Mugging happen all the time the dutch don't care as long as it happen to tourist Most happen in the red light district. There crew working it

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  • MBDVB's Profile Photo

    Looking lost or confused?

    by MBDVB Written Dec 1, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are people preying upon the lost and confused... you need to use your money, anyhow... just be prepared to be approached from everywhere!


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Comments (1)

  • Jul 8, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    I have lived in Amsterdam since birth, and ofcourse things happen in Amsterdam, but no more than in other big citites. A lot of the things I am reading about, are a thing of the past. For example the taxi companies have been cleaned up, now you can ask for a receipt from the driver which has everything on it, from the number of your driver to the price, how many kilometers you have driven and any other information you need to know. At the moment, the only big problem is pickpockets. But the police are doing their best and lately there have been a lot of arrests made by undercover officers. The redlight district has been cleared of junkies and dealers, and is now perfectly safe to go for a stroll. Also, I am ready about women complaining about men harrasing them, this I personally have never experienced. I do advize people to travel by public transport as much as possible, to avoid the high taxi bills. Taxis in Amsterdam are very expensive and not a lot of Dutch people take taxis, so try and stick with the public transport!

    • leics's Profile Photo
      Jul 8, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      As a solo female traveller I absolutely agree. 'Accosted every ten paces'? I wasn't 'accosted' at hotel was on the edge of the RLD and I regularly walked around after dark. But, having said that, it is always important to look at the date of tips. Some are now very out-of-date and certainly do not reflect the Amsterdam I have visited far more recently.