Free | Top 10 NYC Scams To Avoid!
My FREE Guide to help ease any anxiety about visiting the Big Apple. How to avoid common scams and hustles in NYC!
170 Saves • ago
Free

1. Port Authority/Penn Station Fare Hustle

You're walking near one of Manhattan's busiest transit hubs in Midtown when a stranger approaches you... they're short a few dollars and need just $4.75 to get home to Buffalo. Being the kind person you are, you hand them a 5 dollar bill and wish them well. 15 minutes later, you see the same person asking others for $4.75. He'll be back the next day as well. He doesn't live in Buffalo.

2. Fake Monks

They are commonplace in Times Square, although sometimes encountered at Union Square or Central Park. They'll approach you and try to slide a bracelet on your wrist. Then he'll ask for a donation, many times mentioning a fake temple that is in dire need of the money. These are not real monks, and there is no Temple. They are keeping all the proceeds. Steer clear of them.

3. CD Guys

Groups of rappers congregate in the Times Square area to try to hand their CDs to unsuspecting tourists. They say it's free, but ask for a donation once the CD is in unsuspecting tourists hand. I've heard reports that the CDs are blank (and does anyone even travel with a CD Player anymore)! These guys can be aggressive, so if you see anybody handing out CD's make sure not to make eye contact and politely decline their offering. Once you take their CD, they will expect payment.

4. The Dropped Food/Glasses/Medicine Scam

This hustle has been going on for so many years, my older brother even fell for it in the 1990s! Somebody will walk past you and "brush" up against you and then drop either a bottle of alcohol, glasses, medicine, or stale food. They'll yell at you to pay for it. They tried this on me in the Village a few years ago, with French Fries (little did they know I've shot videos on this topic). Story: Two men walked towards me and bumped into me dropping their old french fries on the street. I kept on walking confidently, even as they yelled behind me. Do not make eye contact or engage these crooks. If they follow you, say you know it's a scam and you're calling the police to sort it out. See how quickly they beat feet to find another mark.

5. Hot Dog Vendor "Upcharge"

There's many hard working hot dog vendors in New York City (Billy's on the Upper West Side, looking at you). However, not all of them are honest, especially in touristy areas. Any time you order from a vendor without his prices listed, ask how much it costs first. I've seen vendors charge me $3 for a water when I don't ask, and $2 when I do ask in advance. I've heard countless tales of hot dogs being charged $7-$10 (and other outrageous sums). Always, always ask what the cost is first, to protect yourself. A $1 upcharge per item can add up fast.

6. Staten Island Ferry Scam

One of the best FREE activities in New York is taking the Staten Island Ferry from Battery Park, Manhattan. If you sit on the right side of the boat, you can get a clear view of the Statue of Liberty. However, never ever pay anyone selling tickets for this boat ride. Cops have busted scammers in the past attempting this.

7. Fake Uber at the Airport Scam

You're leaving the baggage area outside of customs at JFK Airport. You're jet lagged, and tired after a long flight. You see a man holding up a sign that says UBER on it. He makes eye-contact with you and asks if you need a ride to Manhattan? Thinking he works for Uber you accept it, and get a shocking surprise when you're billed well over $100 for a $60 trip. No Uber or Lyft drivers can ever look for customers at the airport. You must call them first from the phone app, that's a fact. Bonus: Don't accept rides from any drivers who are looking for customers. They are unlicensed and known to charge a fortune.

8. JFK Airtrain Hustle

If you're taking the subway back to JFK Airport, at the station, right as you exit to enter the airport area, you'll be approached by someone asking if you have a metrocard left? Thinking you don't need it anymore, you give it up. They'll collect them to sell, while you will have to pay $8.00 again upstairs to access the Air Train. Don't give away any active metro cards before you leave NYC. Note: if you have an unlimited card, you can give it away as they don't work for the Air Train. You could also look for a Facebook group of travelers to gift another tourist one.

9. Rip-Off Stand Up Comedy Tickets

Amongst the many hawkers in Times Square, are comedy show vendors. They will say whatever it takes, to get you to buy those tickets. Implying some big name will be in attendance, etc. What they typically don't mention are the expensive drink minimums. I recommend looking up Stand Up Comedy Shows in advance (the Comedy Cellar in the Village is my pick) and not buying randomly from touts on the street.

10. Characters in Times Square

A costume character you've seen on TV or Movies will summon you over for a photo. You think, why not i'm in New York! Until they charge you $20... per character. If you must take a picture with Elmo or Mickey Mouse, negotiate a (fair) price before you snap the photo. Otherwise, you may hear some words that aren’t rated G heading your way…

Now that you know what to avoid... find out where to go in the Times Square Area with our Popular Midtown Guide!:

Feeling overwhlemed about where to stay for your visit? My Guide to NYC hotels can help! 🛌

* * *
CURATED BY
Let me help you plan the most incredible trip to NYC! I've lived in New York for more than a decade and have over 400,000 followers on YouTube. I've visited every tourist attraction and know exactly which sites (and hidden gems) to recommend. SAVE Valuable Time Trip Planning DISCOVER an NYC Tourists Don’t Know Guides UPDATED in Real-Time MAPS Included w/ GPS LISTEN to My Insider Audio Notes LINKS to my Channel with Video 2 FREE Guides, 8 PREMIUM Guides and 2 SUPER BUNDLES Below (More Coming Soon)…
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Free | Top 10 NYC Scams To Avoid!
My FREE Guide to help ease any anxiety about visiting the Big Apple. How to avoid common scams and hustles in NYC!
170 Saves • ago
Free

1. Port Authority/Penn Station Fare Hustle

You're walking near one of Manhattan's busiest transit hubs in Midtown when a stranger approaches you... they're short a few dollars and need just $4.75 to get home to Buffalo. Being the kind person you are, you hand them a 5 dollar bill and wish them well. 15 minutes later, you see the same person asking others for $4.75. He'll be back the next day as well. He doesn't live in Buffalo.

2. Fake Monks

They are commonplace in Times Square, although sometimes encountered at Union Square or Central Park. They'll approach you and try to slide a bracelet on your wrist. Then he'll ask for a donation, many times mentioning a fake temple that is in dire need of the money. These are not real monks, and there is no Temple. They are keeping all the proceeds. Steer clear of them.

3. CD Guys

Groups of rappers congregate in the Times Square area to try to hand their CDs to unsuspecting tourists. They say it's free, but ask for a donation once the CD is in unsuspecting tourists hand. I've heard reports that the CDs are blank (and does anyone even travel with a CD Player anymore)! These guys can be aggressive, so if you see anybody handing out CD's make sure not to make eye contact and politely decline their offering. Once you take their CD, they will expect payment.

4. The Dropped Food/Glasses/Medicine Scam

This hustle has been going on for so many years, my older brother even fell for it in the 1990s! Somebody will walk past you and "brush" up against you and then drop either a bottle of alcohol, glasses, medicine, or stale food. They'll yell at you to pay for it. They tried this on me in the Village a few years ago, with French Fries (little did they know I've shot videos on this topic). Story: Two men walked towards me and bumped into me dropping their old french fries on the street. I kept on walking confidently, even as they yelled behind me. Do not make eye contact or engage these crooks. If they follow you, say you know it's a scam and you're calling the police to sort it out. See how quickly they beat feet to find another mark.

5. Hot Dog Vendor "Upcharge"

There's many hard working hot dog vendors in New York City (Billy's on the Upper West Side, looking at you). However, not all of them are honest, especially in touristy areas. Any time you order from a vendor without his prices listed, ask how much it costs first. I've seen vendors charge me $3 for a water when I don't ask, and $2 when I do ask in advance. I've heard countless tales of hot dogs being charged $7-$10 (and other outrageous sums). Always, always ask what the cost is first, to protect yourself. A $1 upcharge per item can add up fast.

6. Staten Island Ferry Scam

One of the best FREE activities in New York is taking the Staten Island Ferry from Battery Park, Manhattan. If you sit on the right side of the boat, you can get a clear view of the Statue of Liberty. However, never ever pay anyone selling tickets for this boat ride. Cops have busted scammers in the past attempting this.

7. Fake Uber at the Airport Scam

You're leaving the baggage area outside of customs at JFK Airport. You're jet lagged, and tired after a long flight. You see a man holding up a sign that says UBER on it. He makes eye-contact with you and asks if you need a ride to Manhattan? Thinking he works for Uber you accept it, and get a shocking surprise when you're billed well over $100 for a $60 trip. No Uber or Lyft drivers can ever look for customers at the airport. You must call them first from the phone app, that's a fact. Bonus: Don't accept rides from any drivers who are looking for customers. They are unlicensed and known to charge a fortune.

8. JFK Airtrain Hustle

If you're taking the subway back to JFK Airport, at the station, right as you exit to enter the airport area, you'll be approached by someone asking if you have a metrocard left? Thinking you don't need it anymore, you give it up. They'll collect them to sell, while you will have to pay $8.00 again upstairs to access the Air Train. Don't give away any active metro cards before you leave NYC. Note: if you have an unlimited card, you can give it away as they don't work for the Air Train. You could also look for a Facebook group of travelers to gift another tourist one.

9. Rip-Off Stand Up Comedy Tickets

Amongst the many hawkers in Times Square, are comedy show vendors. They will say whatever it takes, to get you to buy those tickets. Implying some big name will be in attendance, etc. What they typically don't mention are the expensive drink minimums. I recommend looking up Stand Up Comedy Shows in advance (the Comedy Cellar in the Village is my pick) and not buying randomly from touts on the street.

10. Characters in Times Square

A costume character you've seen on TV or Movies will summon you over for a photo. You think, why not i'm in New York! Until they charge you $20... per character. If you must take a picture with Elmo or Mickey Mouse, negotiate a (fair) price before you snap the photo. Otherwise, you may hear some words that aren’t rated G heading your way…

Now that you know what to avoid... find out where to go in the Times Square Area with our Popular Midtown Guide!:

Feeling overwhlemed about where to stay for your visit? My Guide to NYC hotels can help! 🛌

* * *
CURATED BY
Let me help you plan the most incredible trip to NYC! I've lived in New York for more than a decade and have over 400,000 followers on YouTube. I've visited every tourist attraction and know exactly which sites (and hidden gems) to recommend. SAVE Valuable Time Trip Planning DISCOVER an NYC Tourists Don’t Know Guides UPDATED in Real-Time MAPS Included w/ GPS LISTEN to My Insider Audio Notes LINKS to my Channel with Video 2 FREE Guides, 8 PREMIUM Guides and 2 SUPER BUNDLES Below (More Coming Soon)…
Send A Tip
Support Jon Barr’s work.
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$10
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$50
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