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Fraud/Scam Bars & Night Club
Visitors of Istanbul
Istanbul is a city around 15 million population and of course, it has it's beauty and it's culture but also it has it's own problems.
Over the past few years, it has came to our attention that there are a few individuals who violated the famous Turkish Hospitability and scamming people by dragging into their bars or night clubs. This message is intented to prevent such a scam or fraud by showing what kind of tactics they are using.
These vultures hang around the most touristic areas, such as Sultan Ahmet(Old City), Taksim Istiklal Street. The biggest target of these vultures are Men, generally single man, or even couple of them. The reason, they don't target woman is that, the bars that they take, are not woman friendly and sometimes involves prostitution.
The tactic they use is most of the case is that, if they spot someone lost their way, or checking the map, or in need of any information, they approach to them and ask them if they need any help. So far, so good. They provide the requested information, and upon the visitor's intented departure, they offer to show them around or go to have a tea.
Up to this point, everything seems nice and normal but at some point, the vulture asks these people if they want to go have a beer or a meal. Since the visitors, do not know anywhere and so far the vulture has been nice to him/them, they tend not to reject this offer.
The scam bars are located in shady Areas of Istanbul. Some examples are, Elmadag, Tarlabasi near Taksim; Aksaray, Laleli, near Sultan Ahmet. The bars are not woman friendly as it's mostly concentrated by Turkish man or if there are some woman in it, they are most likely "accompany girls" or prostitutes.
The Biggest mistake that visitors make is that, they tend not to ask for a Menu because they are just ordering one Beer. Come on, 1 Beer? How much can it be? WRONG!
At some point, if there is a girl involved in the scam, she approaches the table at some point ands asks if the visitors can buy her a drink. This is the point where most visitors realizes that shadiness of the Bar but i must say it's too late because of the drinks and food ,if any, that is being served.
When the process finishes, and the bill arrives, shit breaks lose.
I can name 4 Examples of the Bills:
1) 2 Beers + 1 Wrap Doner Kebap = 500 Lira
2) 4 Beers + 2 Beers for a girl: 1200 Lira
3) 1 Beer + 1 Plate of Pasta: 250 Lira
4) 5 Beers + 3 Beers for 2 Girls: 1200 Euros.
Of course at this point, nobody intends to pay these bills, and almost everytime, visitors ask for the menu. This is the tricky point, cause most of these Bars have 2 Different Menus, 1 Real, 1 Fake. So, The Fake Menu is being displayed to the visitors.
If the visitors still insist of not paying, there will be consequences. I have heard that, they are being forced into a ATM machine and withdraw the money, being roughed up, the bill amount was be reduced to some other unreasable amount by showing grace for them to pay and some other methods i can't remember.
I have also heard that so many people complained to the police about this after the incidents and nothing really happens.
In Taksim, Istiklal Street, you will also spot, many people with flyers in their hands, trying to hussle you to come to their Club. AVOID THEM! These clubs are not as scam or fraud as the above example but they are still shady. On Istiklal, they are a few okay clubs or bars but most of the good bars and clubs are on the side streets. Please look at the list of Clubs and Bars in other topics in "A Perfect Night in Istanbul" Group.
First rule of visiting a foreign country is to be safe. So, I hope you all guys have a safe and a fun stay in Istanbul.