Amanda Rollins (@americanfille on TikTok) has recently gone viral on the popular social media platform for her exhortations geared towards American travelers, warning them to steer clear of the Paris Catacombs, delineating venturing down into the scary depths of the city's underbelly is always a bad idea.
As an American living in The City of Light, Amanda has some keen insight as to what might stand out to outsiders as they're walking about Paris, and this time she's set her sights on a common scam employed by some of the city's beggars: the clear cup scam.
In a video she uploaded to TikTok that's accrued over 20.1 million views on the popular social media platform, Amanda gave the run down on how the scam works while telling visitors what to keep an eye on. "Clear cup scam in Paris. These guys are out here every day and the police control them constantly. They can get aggressive with you so just keep walking if it ever happens to you," she writes in a caption for the clip.
She then goes on to say in her video: "This is one of the most common scams you're gonna find in Paris: the clear cup scam. Watch as this man almost knocks it over, you see that?" the TikToker narrates over video footage of the clear cup scam in action.
She then explains why Paris' hordes of panhandlers sometimes implement this ploy and how the finagling works: "It's a clear cup filled with coins just a couple, to help weigh it down, and they place it very far out in high traffic areas on sidewalks, knowing that people will probably knock it over, like this guy did," she says, pointing to footage of a pedestrian accidentally hitting the cup over.
So how does the scam work? Amanda gives the details: "Now you might be watching this thinking, Amanda, where is the scam it's a homeless person begging for money, like have some heart. And I get where you're coming from, but that's not the case."
She then delves into what the scam is all about: "These guys are out here every single day and when the police see them, they will take away their cups and their stuff and tell them to get out of here because they know what they're doing is dishonest and a scam."
Amanda delineates why the police take such a hard stance against these con-artists: "they purposely use clear cups because you're not going to see it with just a couple coins and they put it very, very far out where people are going to knock it over. What they're banking on is you know it over and you go oh my God I just knocked over a homeless person's cup. I'm such a jerk I'm gonna give them money."
It's that guilt of knocking over an indigent person's belongings, a person who is sitting on the street and literally begging for handouts from strangers, where the root of this con lies, however, she says that things can go south pretty quickly. "That's the tame version of this scam the not tame version of this is when you knock it over and you just keep walking and you help pick it up but you don't give money."
Amanda continued, "They'll start yelling at you. It's typically a boy who does this, they always do it in my neighborhood so I see him all the time, he'll start yelling at you and say you knocked over my cup you have to give me money. They'll start yelling at you getting loud at you. I got a DM from a girl today who told me that she knocked over the cup and the boy was there and he spat at her."
So while these beggars may be poor and indigent and looking for other people to fund their existences, Amanda says there are instances where they can get aggressive, violent, rude, and disrespectful as part of their con: "He started following her and he spat at her. The police are aware of it as I said but they're out here every day."
Amanda said that the beggars in her area who try and pull this con usually pull this scam in areas with high foot traffic like the Louvre and its surrounding area.
"The reason I'm telling you this is if you're here in Paris and you happen to knock over the cup, don't feel obligated to give money unless you want and if they start getting loud with you just keep walking."
A number of people who saw her video commented that the couldn't understand why anyone would travel to Paris in the first place as this "scam" she listed is just yet another reason they see to keep away from the city for as long as possible.
"Paris sounds ghetto," one penned, which was a sentiment someone else agreed with: "Damn paris is so ghetto"
Another commenter remarked that being yelled at by a panhandler probably wouldn't end well for the con artist: "I don’t have the patience to deal with that I’d end up screaming back at them"
Someone else just straight up asked: "why are people still travelling to paris?"