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Scams in Prague

Prague, like all big cities, has problems with crime. There is not any big crime boom but carefulness is always wise move. Here’s some word of warning for you who are coming to Prague.

Restaurant scammers

When in Czech, it’s custom in hospoda-restaurants to put all orders of the whole table on the same note. In some cases this note also serves as a bill. Some scammers take use of this and act as waiters asking payment. If they cannot show you PRINTED receiver, you don’t have to pay the bill. Well, some restaurants don’t use printed receivers, so it’s always recommended to check if the bill is proper from the staff. The problem appeals especially during ruff ours.

It is always stupid to pay the bill with out checking it first thoroughly because especially in tourist area there could be all kind of weird fees in your bill, like from ketchup, forks, live music, salt, pepper, the dentist fee of the cousin of next doors lady, etc. You should never pay this kind of fees, if they are not mentioned in the menu. Service fee means that the restaurant has already decided that their service is worth tipping so there’s no need for extra. Some countries like to let the customer decide.

Places to get scammed No 1: Old Town Square

Money scammer

There is problem in Prague, especially at down town, with honesty of official and unofficial moneychangers. Official change places might give different rate outside than the final rate is. Very few tourist even notice and from those who notice, few come back claiming their money and those few who do, will get nervous breakdown. Like it’s impossible to cancel the change, even they have made definitely a mistake. They might offer to buy them back, so you might end up experiencing how a hundred turns up to a twenty.

They might also claim outside that the change is commission free but in spite of that there will be fees in your bill camouflaged into various small fees. The state and the city of Prague do nothing, as they are not breaking the law. On the other hand Czechs don’t really care even though some tourists get scammed. We do not recommend money change in Prague. If you do so, you should always ask before the payment how much you get and check it with your cell phone calculator. In that stage it easy to say bye-bye to the scammer.

There is also unofficial money scammers, those you should really avoid. They come to you at streets and instead of Czech crowns you’ll get Bulgarian leva. There is quite big difference between their rates. The 2000 leva bill looks very similar like Czech 2000 crown bill. These scammers hang around official change places and might give you “excellent rates”. Best way to get local money is to withdraw it with credit card from automats that are numerous around the city.

Rent scammers

Some scammers offer houses to rent even though they don’t have right to rent the apartment in the first place, so it is wise to check their rights or you might end up getting evicted before you know. We even know a case when the customer vent to his new apartment and found it full of drug users. It was a bit hard to get them out. So you should at least check the place before paying. Few Finnish students paid one month extra and never got the keys. The same rent scammer still lives in that apartment. Police was helpless, as it was matter of contract violation.

Places to get scammed No 2: Charles Bridge
Face inspectors

Few years ago there was a big problem in metros, trams and buses to have face inspectors. They had face badge that they quickly showed and those with or without ticket got some extra fees. The picture of the real badge is found on bulleting board of every metro station. These fellows have been quiet for some time now. The rumour tells that they got beaten up by the official inspectors and left the city. Even though, it is wise to be careful, although, when you come up with six inspectors heighten two metres and weighting over hundred kilos, I would advice you to give your ticket to them, no matter if they are faces or not.

Taxi drivers

Prague is famous for her taxi scammers. There is not one taxi organisation in Czech like in Finland and those who are driving, well, they varies. During this year the problem has been corrected quite a bit. Especially after mayor of Prague dressed up as tourist and took few taxi from the airport. In first one he turned up paying six times of normal prise. When he wanted to pay in euros after his second trip, the prise was tripled from the crown prise.

It is best to agree the prise in forehand. Even better is to let someone local fix the prise, like the info lady at the airport. When you order a taxi from for example very trusted AAA Taxi Company, you’ll hear the prise in phone, if you know the starting point and the arrival point. Basic rule is that 30 euro (=900 crown) almost gets you from airport to Czech border, so it’s not worth paying more then that.

Grocery store scammers

Czech officials made big inspection to the grocery stores this spring. More then every second store had some problems with prises told and paid. Especially sale prises were not noticed and the customers paid the normal prise. So the only way is to calculate your final prise in your head. Czechs practise calculating in head really much in schools, so they are pretty good at it and these kind of grocery calculations are child play to them, unlike foreigners just passing by. We’ve also heard that sometimes you don’t receive right amount back in supermarkets, so when you check the money so that the saleslady can see it, you’ll might suddenly end up with more money on the table.


The number of pickpockets has been increased in Prague, as the number of tourists has increased. They have also become cleverer and started to dress like tourists, so that they would become invisible. Very common way is to jam the exits in trams and helpers behind can empty the pockets and rug sacs. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS KEEP YOUR VALUABLE IN FRONT POCKETS AND RUG SACS IN FRONT. Making crowd, jamming and pushing are clear signs of pickpocketing. They especially like the Old Town Square and the Charles Bridge but also tram number 22 is their favourite places.

Places to get scammed No 3: Crowds


As there is so much crime in Prague, there must be also those who fight against it. Back in Finland we call them as ‘police’ but I don’t know the Prague name for them. Local word ‘police’ means more like a corrupted scammer. One journalist did an experiment with local police. He (with his friends I suppose) returned about ten wallets in to the police station, claiming them as founded ones. The owners went to the station next morning to claim their belongings. It turned out that some of them were lost over night and those that were still there were with out money.

One trustable rumour tells that many of those police candidates who weren’t approved in the Czech countryside, became police in Prague, as there is lack of polices and it’s easier to get in. So all the best have been selected here. When we discussed with locals their attitude towards the local police seems to be the same regardless of their age and sex. The reaction surprised us because we haven’t got any problems with the police, but they say their reputation is well deserved. May it turn out any way, it is recommend that when you see officers, to avoid various tickets, it is wise to slip away very smoothly and get as far from them as you can.

On the other hand, if you happen to need the officers, it’s better think twice before you’ll make up your mind whether to call to police or to Igor. Both has it down sides but the second one would probably get it done and get it done faster. There are two Igor-organisations working in the Prague at the moment, so you even have a chance to choose. There was a third one but the two other sent him to Budapest. If you like to contact those who are still here, you might consider start looking from Karlovy Vary.