In a crowded piazza, we watched a man give directions to another who tried to make sense of his map. Once the tourist was now confidently on his way, the local was confidently going through the tourist's wallet he'd procured.
I spent a few hours watching Scam City , the National Geographic docu-series hosted by Conor Woodman, last night and I was hooked. Yes, I love intrigue and mystery. I love to watch most travel-related character-driven television. Yes, I knew full well that tourists tend to be victims to scams from locals who make their living, sometimes their hand-to-mouth living off unsuspecting tourists. And some tourist scams are multilmillion dollar industries with seedy and dangerous underbellies.
What I like about Scam City is that once the host has been scammed, he usually gets a scammer who is willing to explain how they pull the scams off, undercover cameras included. Bonus points for the inside look in the Turkish bath house and Woodman dressing up as a transvestite prostitute.
During my binge session, I watched Scam City in Barcelona, Rome, Las Vegas, Delhi, Marrakesh, Bangkok and Istanbul. There were many of the scams I thought could easily be pulled off right here in New York City. I'm very interested in watching the New York episode of Scam City to see what they uncovered (Are people still falling for three card monte?). You can read his Buyer Beware NY post here. I'd also volunteer my services for undercover work.