France, Travel Tips

I Fell For a Taxi Scam at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

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Visiting Paris is high up on most travelers’ bucket lists. After all, who doesn’t want to see Eiffel Tower in person after seeing it being pictured as a romantic symbol in magazines and movies for practically all our lives?

Sunrise overlooking Eiffel tower and French Macarons
Sunrise overlooking the Eiffel Tower and French Macarons

But if you’re familiar with Paris Syndrome, you’ll know that many first-time tourists were caught off guard by this lesser-known aspect of the city. Despite its charm, Paris is actually notorious for the candidness of its residents which makes them appear unfriendly, or worse, the myriad of tourist scammers waiting to pounce on tourists.

While Paris itself is undoubtedly still a magical city with lots of attractions and delicious food to try (the French do truly ✨ magical things ✨ with butter), you do need to be vigilant when you are there.

So, in this post I will be sharing how I, a (supposedly) seasoned traveler who had traveled to 36 countries, fell for the most basic taxi scam at the CDG airport. To be very honest with you… even five years later, writing this still makes me upset and that’s why it took this long for me to share the experience. I really hope this will help someone else avoid the same mistakes I made!

How It Started

I flew to Paris from Singapore in June 2018. It was my second visit to the city, having been there in 2011 on my very first visit to Europe. On that first visit, I went during the colder months in November. This would be my first time in Paris during the summer. I love European summers with their neverending daylight and upbeat vibe. Needless to say, I was pumped to be visiting Paris at this time.

On my first visit to Paris in 2011, I arrived on a day when there was a train strike on the Paris RER, and getting into the city itself became an adventure (which I later learned is a common occurrence). So I was glad that I went on a business trip this time, and a car had been arranged to pick me up at the airport.

The Modus Operandi of the Taxi Scam at Paris CDG Airport

I arrived alone, bright and early at CDG airport at 6 am. And… my promised airport pickup was nowhere to be seen.

No problem, I thought. I’ll just grab a taxi to the city. After all, I had survived arriving during a train strike before. How hard could it be?

I looked for the taxi line, which was immediately found outside the arrival gate. I was carrying my big luggage and the taxi line was empty. A man with a CDG airport lanyard greeted me at the line and asked me where I was going. Then, he told me that this line was only for taxis going out of the city, and that I should go for the taxis at Gate 16. I knew there was a “right bank” and “left bank” in Paris, so I had assumed that was what he meant.

Once I got to Gate 16, a taxi driver immediately greeted me and put my luggage into the boot of the car. Well, spoiler alert – unbeknownst to me at that time, this guy was a scammer and in collusion with the previous scammer, funneling unsuspecting tourists like myself from the official taxi line to their own cars.

I got in the car, and we rolled out of the airport. Once inside, things felt off. I realized did not spot any meter so I asked the driver if this ride was going to be metered, and he showed me a taxi meter app on his phone. I also asked him if he was a licensed taxi driver, and he told me yes and showed me a taxi badge. Then I realized I couldn’t remember if the taxi had any other signs outside.

My instincts were firing off at this moment but there was nothing much I could do. I was already in the car, mid-trip on the freeway, and my luggage was in the boot. I had no choice but to just roll with it. I knew by this time that I was getting scammed, but I did not know just how bad it would be.

Once we got to the city in front of my hotel, he showed me the fake meter phone app. It says the trip fare was 360 euros! I fought back – by then I knew the official taxi ride should only cost a flat rate of 55-60 euros. Plus, I genuinely did not even have that much cash with me.

As if on cue, the scammer immediately changed his tone with me to be very aggressive and rude. He lowered the price to 200 euros and said he would let me off for that price. I told him I was calling the police, somehow got my luggage out from the boot, and ran with it to my hotel. He followed me, screaming and cursing that I was a thief and that I owed him money. He basically tried all kinds of ways to intimidate me. I was in tears by this time but stood my ground. Thankfully, I was in a public area and I felt safe enough. I refused to back down.

Once we got to the hotel lobby, the hotel manager argued with him in French. The scammer did not budge and kept pestering me, screaming for money the entire time. He lowered the price further to 100 euros, which I still refused and told him that I would only pay 60 euros. The hotel helped me to call the police, but I was told there would be a long wait.

At this point, I was really over this whole thing and I was not keen to wait for the police so I told him I would pay him 80 euros, last offer. He agreed with lots of grumbling and still yelling profanities. We argued further as I insisted that he give me a receipt. To my surprise, he managed to produce a digital receipt from a company called Taxi Bleu (which I’m sure is a fake company) and left shortly after I paid.

Rue de Buci – Yet another beautiful small street in Paris

How It Ended

The whole ordeal lasted about half an hour with lots of screaming (from him) and tears (from me). Was it worth it? Well, in the end, he only got about 20-25 euros over the market rate out of me. That’s an amount I was willing to sacrifice to let him know that even though I looked like an easy scam target (being a solo Asian female traveler), I was not going to go down without a fight.

I would say though, if I ever felt that I was in an unsafe situation where I could be physically harmed, I would not have fought as much. All things considered, I was lucky that I was able to escape to a public space with lots of people nearby.

After the scammer left, the kind hotel manager helped to calm me down. He asked me to please not let this one individual taint my view of Paris and not let this experience get in the way of my holiday. And you know what? I 100% agree with him. Despite all this, Paris is still a beautiful city and I wasn’t going to let this scum of the earth ruin my otherwise perfect summer vacation.

So I went for a walk by the Seine River after, enjoyed the clear blue skies of a Parisian summer, and had a croissant for breakfast. Then I continued to walk around the entire day and took a short nap at the park while enjoying the fresh summer breeze on my face. It ended up being a good day after all.

Seine River
This walk by the Seine River was much needed
Ispahan Croissant from Pierre Herme
Ispahan Croissant from Pierre Herme

A few months after that trip, I read on the news how a taxi driver was jailed for pulling the same airport taxi scam on another victim. But their experience was a lot worse than mine – the driver had locked the car doors and they were essentially kidnapped. Trapped in the car until they were forced to pay up. I was very lucky that at least I was able to escape the car.

My Mistakes and Red Flags

Hindsight is 20/20. Looking back, there were many red flags and mistakes I made that could have easily prevented me from being scammed:

First, being what scammers probably consider an easy target (solo female Asian traveler), I should have covered all my bases. I should have known to look up the cost of a taxi from the CDG Airport. Of course, I would normally do all this if I were to travel by myself, but because I had expected an airport pickup, I did not do any research on how to get to the city. So, always research a Plan B! And never let your guard down.

Second, I should have checked his car and how unofficial it looked before he had the chance to put my luggage in the boot and before the car left the airport. This is basic safety 101 and to this day I’m so thankful that I was not physically harmed.

Third, I actually knew about the tourist scams in Paris. But it had been seven years since my original visit and I simply forgot. I should have researched and refreshed my knowledge of the latest scams in the city!

Safety Tips for Visiting Paris

So having been in that specific situation of falling victim to a scam in Paris, here are some tips that I can offer you to avoid getting into the same situation:

  • Plan how you’ll get to the city from the airport – As my experience has told you, the most common scam happens right when you land in Paris. Even if you’re planning on taking a taxi, look up the official way to get there. Then look up what to do if Plan A fails, so you aren’t caught off guard and are able to make the best-informed decision on the spot.
  • Paris is a city of many tourist scams – Familiarize yourself with the most common scams in Paris. There are tons of resources for that. Be extra vigilant if you’re visiting during Summer. Many more tourists visit Paris during the warmer months, and the scammers know this. Also, be aware of which areas in Paris are more prone to scammers – many touristy areas, such as the beautiful Sacre Coeur, are filled with scammers.
Sacre Coeur
Beautiful Sacre Coeur, but very prone to scams
  • Be wary of pickpocketers – Keep your belongings close to you and within your sight. There are many pickpocketing incidents in Paris, usually in touristy areas or in the metro. My own sister fell victim to this when she visited Paris. Someone had picked her crossbody bag and stolen her wallet while on the metro.
  • Don’t travel with all of your cash – Diversify your risk and only bring what you think is necessary for the day. Keep pockets of money in different places so that if you do get mugged (knock on wood!), you still have other reserves.
  • Don’t bring your passport with you – Leave your actual passport in a safe in your hotel, and bring a photocopy of your passport page instead. And always keep a digital copy of your IDs somewhere easily accessible.
  • Don’t hesitate to follow your instincts and don’t be afraid to be rude. Local Parisians are… well, not afraid to be rude themselves, so why not follow suit? As long as you are in a safe situation, don’t feel that you need to give people your valuable time. And just because a stranger talks to you doesn’t mean you need to reciprocate.

Would I Still Recommend Visiting Paris?

Of course, 100%.

Aside from the initial rough starts I’ve had in my two visits here, Paris is truly a beautiful destination. The rest of my trip to Paris in 2018 went swimmingly well and I came back with plenty of special memories that I still hold dear to my heart.

I got to support the Paris Pride Parade, which was a totally amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. I also happened to be in the city during the FIFA World Cup 2018, and I got to witness the ecstasy that filled the city every time France scored a goal. Even my quiet taxi driver to the airport (who was a much better driver than the scammers) was tuning in to the game and screaming when the team won. When France became the eventual world champion later that month, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride myself. It was indeed one of the best trips I’ve ever had in my life.

Pride decorations all over the city in the month of June

And that was my experience of being scammed in Paris. Again, I hope this helps some of you avoid the same unpleasant experience while you are visiting Paris.

Stay safe and keep exploring!

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Filed under: France, Travel Tips

Written by Melissa

Hi there! 👋🏻 I'm the "Girl" in Girl Eat World. I love eating, traveling and sharing my travel experiences in this blog. During the day, I work as a designer in tech. More about me →


  1. Thank you for posting I’m an Asian woman traveling in Paris now with my daughter. A driver had stopped earlier flashing some badge but we waited for one with a light on top.

  2. Zarina Dilya says

    Please everyone should be careful and stop being deceived by all these brokers and account managers

  3. Dr. Justin Whitesides says

    Just had this happen to me just now charged $145 to get from airport to terminal. I reported this as fraud.

    Here is the gentleman’s name as it shows up to my credit account

    Sumup *Josue Lamota ila

  4. Cynthia says

    Hi – Just in Paris and we were scammed at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport March 2024 . Scammers waiting in the arrivals to push for Taxi Service . Dressed in all black with a fake badge . We didn’t really think too much since we had a long flight and were tired . We followed him to the non taxi area . He assured us he was a Taxi Service and called on a taxi for us . Once the car arrived , no taxi or uber sign . We hesitated, took a picture of the vehicle and license plates ( in which I was yelled at for ) At that point we should have left back to the arrivals to the REAL taxi drivers but being our first time in Paris , we didn’t think much of it. Got in the fake taxi . Once inside , I started to read all the scam reviews online and realized we had been scammed. When we got to our hotel in Paris , he charged us $200 Euros , cash only . We realized the taxi drivers are regulated to charge a flat fee of $56-60 Euros to the airport . So we got scammed out of $150 dollars since we had no Euros with us . Just glad we are alive since this driver could have taken us anywhere else. Be safe and only get into a vehicle that has the actual TAXI SIGN and G7 logo on the car itself !!!!!

  5. Mike Passwater says

    Hi, I was in paris last month, GOT SCAMMED BIG TIME. Was at the Orsay museum, went across the street to a official taxi line, got in the taxi going to St. Michel, 15 minute ride 20 euros. Taxi driver said no cash, card only, gave him my travel card, signed a blank screen on his taxi, said no printer, no receipt, gave him a 2 euro tip. Got home from vacation, he charged my card 455 Euros, B of A declined my case, I had no proof of receipt and I signed something, This is not FRAUD. it’s ROBBERY. I have to pay this scammer, do not get into this situation without a receipt, make him give you a hand written receipt

  6. I recommend asking airport staff on arrival how and where to buy a local public transport ticket to reach the city centre. They are usually quite knowledgeable on this. I was in Romania and the Balkans on recent vacations and always used public transport for that reason. It is usually safer in Europe and there are no scams on price. Note that some cities purposefully make it very difficult for a tourist to buy a bus ticket.

  7. Thank you for sharing this experience Melissa. I went through a similar experience.. I’m not an easy target but that time I arrived at CDG airport, I was exhausted. My gf at the time was supposed to pick me up but got held up. I decided to take an Uber, then while looking on my phone, I realized most of the drivers dont speak English. As I was contemplating these thoughts, a friendly stranger approached with a smile and asked if I needed taxi, he was middle-eastern and my experience with Iraqi and Irani people has been overwhelmingly positive in Toronto where I live. I suppose I trusted him a bit rightaway for that reason, he told me Uber is not allowed at airport, he does taxi work and can take me anywhere. He dropped my luggage in his Tesla and that should have been my RED FLAG NO.1 as there was no stickers on the car. He kept talking through the journey and had an app that looked like the meter from a taxi..stating he uses his phone for everything.

    He kept talking throughout the journey and I was very suspicious of it, almost seemed like he wanted to keep me distracted.. which he was doing so. When I asked him about the price, he dodged the question multiple times stating its in the meter.. which was going normally for the time I was looking… but soon as we hit traffic.. barely 15 minutes of slow driving on highway.. the price was shooting up.

    He forced me to pay 300 EUR and in cash. I told him he’s scamming me.. and honestly wish I had some energy left in me to fight. But I didnt.. i told him to drive me to the nearest ATM and gave him cash. He promised to give me a receipt but when he dropped me off he simply waved goodbye and left.

    I was so pissed, wish I had been more alert.
    I’m so proud of you for fighting back and not giving in, you did so well!


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