Thursday, December 15, 2011

Money Cons + Romance Scams in Prague- (Czech Republic)

Prague, the world's most beautiful city, has a willing number of thieves ready to unleash their tactics on unsuspecting and sometimes even willing tourists. 
  
Money Exchanges/ Pitfalls of Changing Money
A lot of exchanges advertise VIP rates when you convert $1,200 at a time, but when you slide like $300 over, as it is not “VIP,” and you can see a whopping 40% of your money disappear. Like if the real rate is 18, they’ll give you 12, which is listed in a hard to see place. It happens, believe me. Once they hand you the money, there is no going back.
The best and most fair exchanges are run by Arabs, outside of the main tourist zones. There are some close to the train station that give very competitive rates. 
Money exchange- good prices, but look below for real ones
Money Changers on the Street
“Psst, buddy, want to change some money?”
“No thanks.”
“I’ll give you a really good rate. Come on!”
Don’t even think about it You’ll end up with one real bill on top and bottom, and a bunch of worthless paper/ possibly fake bills in the center. Wave and smile at the camera as they run off with your cash.

Targeting Romance
In Los Angeles we have posers who drive a leased Ferrari and wear Armani, while they live in a shack on borrowed money. If they wanted to cultivate an image of being wealthy, all they would have to do is go to to a former Eastern Bloc country, and start speaking English.
In most any less developed, or Eastern European country, you'll automatically be seen as a rich man, and thus a possible target. Go to a restaurant with a date, and ask for your table in English, the owner will be doing a happy dance while he paints a bulls-eye on you.
The service will be normal, which in the Czech Republic is generally without a smile, but when you get the bill, it will be hand written, in hieroglyphics, and contain several items you never purchased.
Now, being on a date, most guys just go ahead and pay the bill because even if they recognize they’re being overcharged, because they don’t ruin the flow/ cause a potential ruckus that would make them look bad, and if they do catch on, the owner apologizes and says he made a mistake, and corrects your bill.
When it happened to me, I very nicely approached the owner and explained that we didn’t order as many items as we were being charged for. They corrected it once, still overcharging me, then the second time they might have gotten it right.
The waitress approached my date and via body language I could tell she was embarrassed as she apologized. I thought she was just ashamed that she had made such an error, only later did my date explain to me that it is a regular scam here, and that by Czech Law, a printed receipt must given to all patrons, listing exactly what charges are being made. So if you get a hand written bill, look over it carefully, and make sure it is correct.

Dating Agencies in Czech Republic
Want to meet a beautiful Czech girl who has old school manners, sick of Czech men who treat her badly, likes older men, and doesn’t really care what you look like?
Ahhh, promises promises. I have a friend here in Prague, who signed up to meet some good men, and when one old, fat guy was so desperate to meet her, and she insisted she didn’t want to, the agency offered her money to go out to dinner with him. “Just smile and nod, have a nice meal on him, and we’ll pay you,” coaxed the voice on the other end of the line. She hung-up and asked them never to call her again.
And that’s not the worst story I have heard. Some agencies just hire strippers and escorts to accompany the guy out and pocket big money from him. That doesn’t mean they are all like that, or that a lot of girls might not sign-up for the agency with good intentions, but really, how is a pretty 24 year old girl going to feel about dating a fat, fifty-five year old man?
Fatso thinks that plunking down a thousand dollars entitles him to a super-model young wife and insists on his unrealistic expectations? If the agency is anything less than 100% congruent and honest (which is rare in ANY business) what choice do they really have besides hiring an escort for the guy? Eventually it might become a habit.

Could she do better?

Such is life here in Prague: Buyer beware.

1 comment:

  1. That last image is stirs up a confusing mix of optimism and pessimism within me. It's almost as cliche as rubbing your eyes to re-verify the reality.
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