Skip to main content

Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

The Golden Ring

When I was in Paris, it hap­pened to me ten times or more. Walk­ing on a pub­lic place, a man or a wom­an would pop out of nowhere, gold­en ring in hand, and say "hey, mis­ter, is this yours?"

It's a well known scam. You get to keep the ring, and the ring bear­er will ask you for some com­pen­sa­tion. It will turn out the ring is worth­less, so you will be out a cou­ple of eu­ros or so.

It's in­ter­est­ing in some ways, though.

  • It re­lies on the vic­­tim be­ing dis­­hon­est, since the ring is not theirs.

  • The amount of mon­ey gained by the scam­mer is at the vic­­tim's dis­­cre­­tion.

  • If you don't give the scam­mer any­thing, he will, at most, yell at you for be­ing a cheap bas­­tard, and it's done in very pub­­lic places, so the dan­ger of vi­o­­lence is neg­li­gi­ble.

  • Since the vic­­tim is al­­so do­ing some­thing moral­­ly rep­re­hen­­sive, and ly­ing, the risk of the scam­mer be­ing charged with any­thing is neg­li­gi­ble.

It's al­most like some sort of weird sale:

"Here's some­thing of no val­ue that looks valu­able! Is it yours? (I know it is­n't)" "I will bet on it be­ing valu­able and pre­tend it's mine!" "So, how much is ap­peas­ing your re­morse about scam­ming me out of a prob­a­bly worth­less ring worth?" "I'd say 3 eu­ros, my good man!" "Deal!"

How can it be worth their while to do this? I would guess their suc­cess rate at per­haps 5% and they prob­a­bly don't make more than 5 eu­ros on a suc­cess­ful trans­ac­tion

All in al­l, it seems fair­ly harm­less, just an­noy­ing, and french peo­ple have ac­tu­al­ly chased me down the street to re­turn me some­thing I for­got in a bar. Then again, I al­so was peed on a foot by a bad­ly burn-d­is­fig­ured guy in a wheelchair, on Champs El­y­sees, so YM­MV.

Jake / 2013-01-09 19:40:

When you see people doing a certain method for quite a while, you must assume, that it works.. They do it not for fun... ;)