How it works:
- Situation: shady scam clubs/pubs can be found across Poland, and there have been sites set up to consolidate feedback from fellow travellers who have been tricked (e.g. Polish Club Scams; Cocomo Club Scam).
- Opening: two girls (allegedly Latvian girls) posing as tourists approach and ask you for directions. Next, they ask if you would like to get a drink at a bar nearby.
- Set-up: once you’ve had a few drinks you’ll be asked to pay the bill, this being an extortionate amount, being told the girls had very expensive cocktails. If you refuse, you will be threatened by large mob guys who will accost you to the ATM.
- Free shot: another version is to give you a free shot that has been drugged. You are either robbed or have your card charged multiple times without you realizing due to your state of giddy-ness.
Places to beware (based on polishclubscams.org):
- Gdansk: Desire, Obsession, Wild Orchid
- Krakow: Market Square, clubs/bar on ul. sw. Tomasza, ul. Slawkowska, Florianska (Flames), sw. Marka (Club Saxon and Hard Candy), Paradise Strip Club, VIP Club, Pleasure Club, Black Pearl
- Poznan: Touch Club
- Warsaw: Nowy Swiat, Club Dopamina, Club Minus, Coyote Club, Exotic Club
- Wroclaw: Passion Club
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: pay with a credit card but call the bank to dispute the charges immediately. Keep a separate bank account with not much cash inside to limit your losses if threatened.
- Alternative: GetYourGuide (best day tour platform in Europe) offers 30+ pub crawls.