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Tourists are Being Scammed by Street Entertainers Using Rigged Games; Here's how They Work

Tourists have been warned not to attempt to win a "rigged" game, which scammers use to target travellers.
PUBLISHED APR 7, 2024
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Erik Mclean
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Erik Mclean

Among fraudulent schemes that plague the online space, rigged game scams are becoming an increasingly common ploy to target netizens. Establishing a base in popular destinations provides ample opportunities for fraudsters to exploit unsuspecting tourists who engage in entertainment activities, only to find themselves cheated. Despite knowing about the risks, potential victims are drawn towards such scams due to the promise of earning a lot of money in a short time.

Tricksters scamming tourists on the streets of Europe. Image Source: Pexels|Photo by Vika Glitter
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Vika Glitter

Amidst the charm of historic landmarks and cultural marvels, unsuspecting visitors fall victim to street scams orchestrated by cunning con artists. One common scam, recounted by a tourist who witnessed a friend's unfortunate loss in Rome, involves rigged games designed to ensnare unsuspecting participants.

"I once watched a friend lose all his money to a street game in Rome. These games generally follow a similar pattern," the tourist said.

The scammer orchestrates a seemingly innocuous game with several accomplices strategically positioned within the audience. The game appears to be straightforward, with accomplices intentionally making amateurish mistakes and losing money to create an illusion of vulnerability. This piques the curiosity of onlookers, leading them to believe that they can outsmart the scammers and win.

But in reality, the game is rigged from the start. Despite the illusion of fairness, the outcome is predetermined, ensuring that the tourist inevitably loses.



The scam is pulled off under the guise of entertainment but serves as a means for the scammer to profit at the expense of unsuspecting participants. Although such scams may be illegal in certain cities, scammers continue to operate with impunity, exploiting tourists when law enforcement is absent.

"The guy running the game is in complete control of the game at all times. He determines who wins and loses. And the guy works with accomplices to psychologically set up tourists into playing," another tourist said.

The infamous cup and ball game epitomizes this fraudulent scheme, with tourists lured into a false sense of confidence by the illusion of simplicity. Despite appearing straightforward, the game is meticulously rigged to ensure that participants never stand a chance of winning.

"Also some of the accomplices may be pickpockets who take advantage of people being distracted when they’re focused on the game," a different tourist added. "The street games are not gambling. There are no random odds allowing some players to win."



"A very popular street game across the globe, just know that if you see someone with a towel and 3 cups with a ball, the game is rigged. They work in groups, where a few players are in on it, and they make it seem like you can make big money gambling," warned a tourist.

To avoid falling prey to such scams, tourists are advised to exercise vigilance and discretion. Keeping money and valuables out of sight and remaining aware of their surroundings can mitigate the risk of theft.

While street performers are a major attraction in major destinations, tourists should make sure that they only interact with legitimate entertainers with proper licensing, in order to steer clear of scams.

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