21 January 2014

The Violent Gypsy Trick

Last December, I was walking around 5:00 PM in Mitte, which is a very central area of Berlin. I was near Sch├╝tzenstrasse and Leipziger Strasse, near the Bulgarian Embassy. I was leaving work, and walking towards a restaurant, with two other people, both of them colleagues. And then suddenly we were surrounded by 5 Gypsies, shoving a sign-up sheet on to our face. I immediately thought, oh, the deaf/mute scam yet again. I was already scammed by this trick once, also in Berlin, back in 2012. Back then, there was just one lady who scammed 5 EUR out of my pocket. So since I already know what this was about, I thought I will just firmly refuse and say no, and they would go away. After all, I did that in Brussels and sure enough, they went away.

Except that this time, they didn't.

I said no. I said no again. My colleagues also said no over and over again. They were very persistent. For what was probably just 2 minutes, but it felt like ages, they were constantly shoving these pieces of paper in front of us, asking us to sign them. And then I just raised my voice, turned around, and shouted "Go away." They all stopped, one of them took on a fighting stance, and we had a brief staring competition. Then they ran away.

I then took my backpack from my back, and sure enough, they opened the zipper, even though I sort of loop them against each other to make opening harder. Thankfully, nothing was taken. My pockets were also safe.

So beware, the deaf/mute scam is not just about making you sign, then making you feel guilty causing you to give money. It is also a distraction trick and their swift hands will wander into places they shouldn't be in. Thankfully, the only casualty we had that night was our moods. Our wallets and other valuables were still intact.

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