Is France the champion of tourist scams?

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Iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral are sure to be on every traveller’s bucket list. However, recent data suggests they could also be hotspots for tourist scams. Let’s be fair, the company that allegedly conducted the survey is a comparison site that sells travel insurance…that explains that…right?

The Eiffel Tower would be the hot spot for scams of all kinds

A study by the experts at has revealed alarming figures regarding scam complaints from European tourists. Top of the list? Paris. The Eiffel Tower alone is said to have garnered 537 mentions of scams in visitor reviews, making it Europe’s most notorious monument to scammers and fraudsters.

Counterfeit tickets, pickpocketing, scams…

According to the European Scam Index, the quaint streets surrounding the gems of Paris are teeming with scammers selling counterfeit tickets and offering mediocre experiences. Stories of unsuspecting tourists feeling cheated after buying fake tickets or having unsatisfactory experiences are rife.

But the scams don’t stop there. Concerns about blatant pickpocketing at the base of these attractions have also skyrocketed. Critics named France the leader in tourism scams, with 748 mentions, leaving Spain, its closest competitor, far behind with just 91 mentions.

The breakdown of fraud complaints in the main European destinations is as follows:

  • France: 748 mentions
  • Spain: 91 mentions
  • Italy: 72 mentions
  • Türkiye: 67 mentions
  • Greece: 64 mentions
  • United Kingdom: 37 mentions
  • Croatia: 26 mentions
  • Poland: 26 mentions
  • Portugal: 17 mentions
  • Austria: 13 mentions

The UK or Austria appear to be safer destinations with far fewer complaints of scams.

Greg Wilson, CEO of, shared the study’s findings stating that while hundreds of people voice their experiences online, thousands more could suffer in silence. “Visitor hotspots are goldmines for those targeting tourist money, leading to increased complaints of scams on review sites,” he noted.

Interestingly, France is not only home to the most criticized attraction. Four of the five European tourist sites most mentioned as scams are in France. The Eiffel Tower is of particular concern, as it alone attracted almost half of the complaints registered for all 50 tourist sites analyzed across Europe.

Beyond France, Germany’s Brandenburg Gate is also on the scam list with 56 mentions, a hotspot for tourists harassed by scammers.

Monica hunts pickpockets in Venice

“Attenzione pickpocket”, for a few weeks this new phrase has invaded TikTok. An Italian hunts suspected pickpockets in the historic center of Venice. She does not hesitate to film them while shouting, in the middle of the tourists, this famous phrase “Beware of pickpockets”.

How to avoid thefts, scams and scams?

Care should be taken with anyone who seems overly friendly or helpful, especially in areas frequented by tourists, especially if they are starting to use English in a country where it is not the main language. Most scammers know how to identify tourists and usually use English to present their scam from the start. Locals who might want to call your attention to tell you that your shoelaces are untied or your purse is being opened will probably first try to communicate in the local language, unless they interrupt your conversation in English.

It’s also a good idea to avoid street performances (pickpockets tend to manipulate these crowds while everyone else is distracted), situations that could turn into a crush (like someone “accidentally” dropping their suitcases on the escalator, causing passengers to pile up), or any other situation that would cause travelers to temporarily lose awareness of their surroundings and the location of their belongings.

Catherine Mills Avatar