This traveler’s story, received in early April 2016, is different because, having read warnings about the robbery scam, he was prepared to defeat the scammers.
This incident took place in Sultanahmet, to which the scammers have moved after the terrorist bombing on İstiklal Caddesi in Beyoğlu, Istanbul, which drastically reduced the number of people strolling on that street.
Hi Tom, my name is Jorge Re and I’m writing from Argentina.
I first knew your website while I was surfing the web searching for info on Istanbul, because I was planning to spend some days there.
I finally visited that wonderful city last February and I had a great time. I met really nice people. And also scammers.
Thanks to your site I was able to detect them early enough to avoid being scammed.
On my second day in Istanbul I decided to visit Sultanahmet square at night (my hotel, on Orhaniye Cd., was nearby) and as soon as I started taking pictures of Hagia Sophia one of those scammers approached me and told me to take a picture of him with his cell phone, and after that he would take a picture of me with my camera to return the favor. He insisted in inviting me to drink a beer with him near Taksim square, but I declined so he went away.
I was surprised how easy it was to find scammers, not two minutes passed since I pulled out my camera and I was already having a scammer trying to play his trick on me.
But that’s not the interesting story.
Another night I went, again, to Sultanahmet square to take pictures and maybe have fun with those scammers trying to take advantage of me, and at first two of them came to invite me to go with them to a disco, I said no and they left. But then when I was taking pictures of Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque another two came to talk to me, and started asking the usual things: where I was from, if I was alone, and if I was in Istanbul on holidays or working.
And I had an idea. I answered them I was in Istanbul for work. They asked what my job was and I answered that I was working for the Argentine Embassy (which is in Süzer Plaza building in Istanbul), that I was in the Argentine Army and was posted there to work with the ambassador’s security team. After I finished saying that they said “goodbye” and left. They didn’t even insist on me joining them.
So maybe an answer like that may help other tourists to get rid of them.
Anyway, I had a great time there. I strongly recommend visiting Istanbul but having all the precautions you have when you’re walking alone the streets of your own city.
You have permission to publish this if you want or see fit. You can also publish my name. I hope I can help others with my story.
Thanks a lot for your advice and keep up the good work.