How it works:
- Situation: this is very similar to the infamous would you like a drink bar scam run in other European countries such as in Poland and Turkey.
- Opening: a male tout/ladies approach you and make small talk with you. Once some rapport has been built, they offer to bring you to a cabaret this evening where you can enjoy a true Cypriot experience.
- Set-up: if you do end up going, you will likely find yourself in a run-down pub, where girls will join you and drink on your tab without you realizing it. Once you signal to leave, you will be hit with an astronomical bill and will be escorted to the nearest ATM if you do not cash/card to pay. There is also a risk of drink spiking.
What to do:
- Avoid: heading to a suggested bar together with a random stranger.
- If not, consider: does the bar seem legitimate? Are there customers? Is the stranger evasive about things? Is he/she only bringing you to a particular restaurant or bar?
- Test your new “friend”: pretend you have company by suggesting to go another place where you have friends at. Ask for prices before ordering. Take a photo together.
- If scammed: threaten to call the police, pay with a credit card but call immediately to dispute the charges. Keep a separate bank account with little cash to limit your losses if threatened.