I just saw a report that French police have broken up a major crime ring operating in the Paris Métro. You can read the story in the Winnipeg Free Press, but the short version is that the bad guys are accused of forcing young people from Eastern Europe to beg and steal on the Métro and Parisian tourist attractions. The ring supposedly took in 1.3 million euro (1.7 million dollars) last year.
Petty theft and dishonest begging is an unfortunate aspect of life in many large cities, and I've personally experienced a couple of scams while in Paris. There is the scam where a young women come up to you abruptly in a train station or on a busy sidewalk and ask, "Do you speak English?" I don't exactly know what happens next, but I assume that if you say yes, you'll be swindled out of something.
I've witnessed a second scam along the Seine. A man or woman bends down to supposedly pick something up off the ground and - lo and behold! - it's a gold ring. They ask if it's yours, you say no, they enlist you in helping find the owner and then you likely get pick-pocketed by their accomplice.
What kinds of scams have you experienced in Paris or elsewhere while traveling?