My friend Michael was scammed. It's a scam that's popular in many countries, it targets men and it worked like this:
Michael was hanging out by himself in a touristy neighborhood when a polite, well-dressed guy approached him and said, "Hey, are you new to Istanbul?"
The guy seemed sincere and Mike is generally a good judge of character. The guy said he was from out-of-town, wouldn’t it be fun to adventure around a bit? Mike said sure.
They went to bar that the guy chose and sat down for a few drinks. A few of the guy’s friends showed up- at least one guy and two women. Everyone had a few drinks and did a little dancing. When the bill came, it totaled 700 Euros. That’s when the guy stopped smiling and said, “Alright, my friend, now you pay the bill.”
Mike didn’t have the money. “No problem,” the guy said. “We’ll go to your house and get it.”
They somehow threatened Mike (I didn’t ask details). They took Mike to his apartment. There, they copied his credit card numbers and took a copy of his passport (to get his home address in Germany). The next day, a charge for 700 Euros showed up on Mike’s card.
Why not block the card? The guy knew Mike’s address in Turkey and Germany.
How do you rack up a bill for 700 Euros (about $1,000) in Turkey? You don’t, the restaurant is in on the scam.
Why target guys? Most women wouldn’t trust a random man. It’s also easier to distract guys by having beautiful women “randomly” show up at the bar, which happened in this case.
Where else is this scam popular? Greece, Italy and Spain.
Pretty upsetting stuff. Thought I should still share. In other news, the throbbing in my head has lessened and I should be walking sans limp very soon.