When the weather heats up and New York City tourists start to flock to the High Line, Central Park, and other local hot spots, it is inevitable that these so-called "monks" will show up in force, ready to scam anybody foolish enough to fall for it. The way the scam works is simple:
- A man with a somewhat Asian appearance, orange robe and modest clothing walks alone through the park
- The scammer picks a target, usually a tourist or group of tourists
- The scammer hands you a card with some text about being on a spiritual journey, or that his monastery needs money to help spread peace, or something else uplifting. It boldly asks for donations of $20 or more.
- The scammer pretends to not know English in order to deflect any questions.
I've personally witnessed several tourists fall for this, and have stepped in to stop dozens from being scammed. If you are a local, you should do the same. If you are a tourist, please don't fall for this scam.
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