15 New York Tourist Traps And Scams (And How To Avoid Them)

List Rules
New Yorkers: vote up the worst traps and scams tourists should avoid.

Anyone who loves NYC knows that among its greatness there are all sorts of New York tourist traps and schemes. With that said, you can make your life easier with these tips from the locals on how to avoid grifts in New York! Check out this list of "unnoticed" but very common New York grifts and traps to avoid.


  • 1
    16 VOTES

    No Directions No Attention

    From Redditor u/FreightProgram:

    If anyone talks to you for more than a few minutes, even seconds, before getting to the point.

    Most tourists or people looking for directions will almost immediately say "how do I get to/where is..." while anyone who is trying to get money off you will start with some bullsh*t intricate story.

    16 votes
  • 2
    11 VOTES

    The White Van Trick

    From Redditor u/drkcloud123:

    White van [grift]. Some guys driving around in a van saying that they had a mess up on a shipment of something expensive like speakers and they show you a box of an actual speaker with the price listed online and try to sell it to you direct. Either the inside of the box is old *ss speakers or the product is outdated and there's not much stock online so the prices are messed up.

    Either way, steer clear, I saw them at Costco once pulling this sh*t.

    11 votes
  • 3
    8 VOTES

    "You Dropped My Phone"

    From Redditor u/esbianfridge:

    “You broke my/made me drop my ____, you have to pay for it now”

    "Oh shoot. Tell you what, let me get a cop over here and they can help us sort this out."

    Then watch them run.

    8 votes
  • 4
    7 VOTES

    "Gift" Bags

    From Redditor u/crazydodge:

    Guys going around offering gift bags to girls, then charging them, claiming the contents of the bag are way more expensive and they're doing a promotion

    I have had multiple people come up to me saying "sweetie check out my new brand" and I immediately ask "is it free" and they laugh at me. I keep walking.

    7 votes
  • 5
    7 VOTES

    The 'No Gas No Money' Scheme

    From Redditor u/drkcloud123:

    The "I got no gas and no money [grift]". Someone walks up asking you for money to fill up gas near a gas station. They might throw in a sob story about how they are stuck on vacation and have a car nearby with their family (they are a part of it) but are out of gas and have no money. they also might be carrying around an empty gas canister. I encountered this twice and I literally offered to BUY a filled gas canister and walk with him and unsurprisingly he rejected and walked away.

    Literally, everyone that gives a sob story or causes a situation where they ask for your money tends to be a [trick].

    7 votes
  • 6
    13 VOTES

    AirBnB Scams 

    From Redditor u/Successful_Guitar628:

    I got scammed by a guy who rented out an AirBnB and did showings in it. Gave me a tour & answered all my questions, had me sign a fake lease & pay a deposit. Came to move in a few days later & the locks were changed & the building owner had no idea who I was. Never got my money back but for the future found websites to show who the building owner is and make sure to pay with checks. Squeeze as much research as you can out of your landlord/realtor!

    13 votes