'Scam City' shows con artists targeting tourists in Prague, Rio, Marrakech

TORONTO - It's enough to make a wary traveller want to stay home.

Currency exchange scams, taxi gangsterism, short-changing tricks, pickpockets and clip joints, all targeting tourists in Prague, are highlighted in the first episode of the new series "Scam City" on Travel and Escape Network, starting June 3.

There's even a woman who scrapes plaster off a wall and markets it on the street as cocaine and heroin.

The 10-part first season, hosted by U.K. author Conor Woodman, also travels to Rio de Janeiro, Marrakech, Rome, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Istanbul, New Delhi, Bangkok and Las Vegas.

Woodman, who used a hidden camera in the button of his shirt to reveal con artists' tactics, says tourists are "soft targets for the waiting scammers" in some of the world's biggest tourist destinations.

Prague, he says somewhat melodramatically, is "full of history, romance, culture — and trouble."

"Not all taxi cabs (in the city) . . . are playing by the same rules. You get the wrong one, you could end up paying three times the going rate."

"Scam City" is a co-production between Montreal's Handel Productions and the U.K.'s Zig Zag Productions.