‘Scam City’: TV’s Inside Look at Tourist Scams & Pickpockets

Scam City, a documentary series that first aired in June 2012 reveals the dark side of tourism as viewers get an inside look at the thieves and questionable characters in some of the most popular tourist destinations around the globe. The show exposes the common scams of each location from pickpockets to inflated cab fares to unlicensed doctors. In the first season, host Conor Woodman ventures into the underbelly of destinations such as Barcelona, Rome and even Las Vegas.


While the show covers a variety of techniques used by scammers around the world, the program is filled with examples of pickpocketing. In the Rio de Janeiro episode, Woodman exposes the risks and realities of a attending the infamous Carnival celebrations. As bait, he purposely leaves his wallet sticking out of his back pocket slightly and waits for the crowd to surround enough. To see what happens, check out this clip of Scam City on the Science Channel’s Website.


Pickpocketing and scams are not always as textbook as the Rio experience. During the Prague episode, Woodman reveals that scammers don’t always look the part and sometimes may be an attractive, young woman or a seemingly friendly taxi driver. In this Bohemian City, tourists are typically targeted during the daylight and robbed when the sun goes down. Another intriguing episode took place in Marrakech, where snake charmers and dancers steal from tourists entranced by their performances.


Other destinations covered include Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Delhi and Bangkok. The series airs every Sunday at 10pm on the Travel & Leisure Channel, included in basic cable packages, as well as the Science Channel. Check your local listings for episodes of Scam City and stay one step ahead of scammers that feed off of an unsuspecting tourist.


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