While there are many trustworthy street performers in the world, there are a few con artists that prey on Australian visitors traveling abroad.
In Las Vegas, Paris, and New York, oblivious visitors have reported being charged outrageous sums to have their photos taken with artists.
Some tourists are harassed, tricked, and even have their phones snatched from their hands, refusing to return them until they take a photo with them and pay.
When a tourist posed this issue in a prominent women-only travel club, tales of these deceptive practices became public. The other day on the strip, my boyfriend took a picture with some of the Vegas showgirls who were standing on the sidewalk,” she added.
Showgirls on the Las Vegas Strip are notorious for becoming confrontational when they believe a tourist owes them extra money for a photograph.
“Before the photo was shot, they stated that we work for gratuities, and of course we do.” Following the photo, he handed them $5. The girl stated that they desired $40 each… for a picture? Am I dining alone?
How much should I tip street performers on the Strip or Freemont for a photo?
She was also surprised by how violent the folks were: “They were quite aggressive.” Nearly snatched my boyfriend’s wallet out of his hands when he was holding it.”
There were numerous comments to her question, and it turned out that many travelers had had the same experience.
One said, “We had a similar experience in New York City.” “Characters stopped us, snatched my husband’s phone from his hand, took a picture of my son with them, and then demanded payment before returning his phone.”
These photo opportunities are among the worst cons I’ve encountered while traveling.
And another complained that her child had been targeted: “One of these class acts attempted this and inappropriately grabbed my little child in an attempt to persuade us to take a photo. Keep your distance from them. They have no limitations!”
While a third person remarked, “Eek! Avoid them as if they were the plague. There are people like this everywhere, and in certain locations they will refuse to return your camera/phone if they’ve taken a shot with it. Scam.”
And a fourth replied, “Of course they don’t tell you the ‘price’ until after you’ve taken the picture, ha! It’s a total con, it’s so shady.”
Another participant wrote: “$40 each?! If they required that much, it should have been disclosed beforehand! Swindlers everywhere!”
There have also been numerous reports of similar scams in New York.
Characters in Time Square will want more money for pictures with other characters.
A traveler stated, “I had an equally terrible experience in New York City’s Times Square.” “Stopped to take a picture of my kid with one of the numerous costumed characters roaming the area.
“Around eight of them jumped into the photo and demanded payment. I gave a $1 to the individual with whom I agreed to take a picture and directed the others to go. These photo things are among the worst tourism scams I’ve encountered.”
Another person had a similar experience in New York City: “Up New York, my son wanted to take a picture with Spider-Man, and I had $5 on me because I get it, it’s their hustle, but then a slew of other figures joined in.
“I took my child and went away while they muttered expletives… and walked away.”
As cities throughout the world become more populous, it is likely that these cons will proliferate.
In various locales, like Nashville, United States, snakes are thrown at the audience by some entertainers.
A tourist remarked, “Getting away from showgirls and other streetwalkers is relatively simple.” “Imagine a homeless person with snakes who attempts to throw one on your neck as you flee away and then demands money.
“Yes, they are willing to do anything to anyone passing by. Incredible the number of parents that encouraged their very young children to take pictures with the showgirls.