Scams: tales from the trenches

26 Jun 2017

The growth of the local tourism industry has created countless new jobs for Latvians, but it has also spawned another lucrative trade, which seems to be inevitable in Eastern Europe – scams and rip-offs. While most bars and restaurants are happy to welcome tourists into their establishments, there are some rotten apples that will do anything to take your money. Strip clubs, nightclubs and late night bars seem to be the biggest culprits often taking advantage of already inebriated patrons. Be wary of young attractive girls on Līvu Square asking you to join them for a drink in a nearby bar. You’ll be shocked to discover later that the barely palatable bottle of wine you bought them costs €500 or more. If you refuse the bouncers will pummel you until you give them your PIN code. Other scams include taking your credit card information and buying stuff online or charging your card for much more than you purchased. Avoid seedy bars and try to always pay in cash at nightclubs, even if they seem reputable. Read the latest horror stories that our readers have published here online at inyourpocket.com below:


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looking for girl who lost her passport in Riga . She left pink earrings in my pocket.. p.s rokkafejnica.cafe
Hi, Scammers are up in arms and they only target travellers whom they see in confused state or wondering here and there (mostly), but that can't be the sure cut thing. In order to help travellers fully, your post does justice and thanks for helping us.
Riga is full of scam bars and girls that are going to rip you off. Avoid Riga, or at least avoid Riga's bars or Riga girls.
I have traveled all the world, I have been in Africa and Asia, many dangerous places, Riga is just the worst : they tried to scam and rob me four times in few days in Riga. First people was making friendship to me, then I was suppose to pay the extremely bills. Other scam: they putted drugs in my drink in order to rob me. Again a girl was keeping friendship with me by sms, after she wanted to see where I lived to rob me there.

For "Gianluca - Italy ":I completely disagree with you, girls don't scam just people looking for sex (and even this would be already a crime to keep them in jail), they are 100% criminal and even try to make friendship with you in the beginning, you can be the most honest or well intentioned, they want just to rob, and f**k you up. Many people has been scammed, really good and genuine people! They tried with me, but they didn't understand that I am from Naples...
Bobby Fresh
In da haus!
If u like spicy food, look no further than Pakistānas kebabs on Barona by Dzirnavu. While eating the falafel I ordered - I asked for spicy - I felt like some bearded guy named Mustafa was sticking a hot poker up my ass. I'm lucky it didn't seal me up for good. Unfortunately, the price they charged me was different than the one posted on the menu, with regard to which I have since complained to the Consumer Rights Protection Centre.
baltic taxi are ok, you can find them near livu square, some of the drivers are fluent in English.
Please mention the name of the red taxi company, not just red taxi. There seem to be several and I got in a bad red taxi and was overcharged.
Moscow, Russia
I've heard all the scam stories but you rarely hear about the good venues that Riga has to offer. I remember a great place called Paddy Whelans, which had Boddington's on tap for about two euros and half-decent Indian food. I've been there a dozen times or more and never had anything but a good time, although the Indian place may have slightly better Indian food. Honestly, guys, if you're interested in getting prostitutes, you're better off going somewhere like Odessa. The vast majority of the Baltic countries' hookers have moved to the UK or elsewhere in Europe where they can earn more money. Most prostitutes that were born in the Baltics are ethnically Russian anyway and have no attachment to the area. If you don't mind the hassle of getting a Russian visa, St. Petersburg is the place to go. One of my friends lives in Tallinn and he always goes to SPB when he needs to hit a brothel. The idea of a local girl falling for some drunk 30-something with a pot belly and having a one-night stand is a fantasy from the 90's that predates Easyjet and Ryan Air. You will impress nobody with your UK/IE passport in the Baltics. For that, you need to go to Mariupol or Lugansk or Dniprozherzhinsk.
France, French Republic
riga is one of the few europe's heaven. you just have to take some precaution whene you go bar hopping in the old town .you may go to pattaya in thailand or angeles in the philippines you will probably find there what you are looking for.

Wished I had read this BEFORE spending my final night in an otherwise enjoyable 5 day stay in Riga. Nothing new to add except to confirm what many of the posts indicate.... In essence, whether you are approached by an attractive female or you do the approaching, the women are usually initially alone and strategically positioned to invite even the most innocent and well intentioned man to open the dialogue usually over a benign drink. Often they are poor, but look very attractive and usually live outside of Riga city limits. This is where the problem begins. With body language and symbols to the bartender/thugs (usually disguised as attractive, innocent looking locals) the first drink is usually laced with drugs, obscenely strong and priced normally. Only this VERY FIRST drink is priced normally to get you in the game. As judgment becomes impaired combined with sexual charm offenses, one drink turns into 2, then 3 etc. All the while the new "menu" with prices 5 times those provided to locals or others not in company of the scammer is forced upon the poor, hapless, unsuspecting patron (which was the case with me). With substances flowing through your system, the credit card bills mount. Champagne is now $400 a bottle. Food is orded by the woman or women by whom you are seduced who now rapidly employ via text messaging her female "roommate or friend" to double the charm. As any red-blooded American male can attest when traveling alone, it is nearly impossible to resist or fend off 2 flirtatious women who are promising a quick trip to your hotel if they just keep getting more food and drinks. All the while, they are really on the payroll of the bartenders/owners who are in on the scam. First they will hook you by demanding only cash to ensure they receive the first $300 (150 lats) by stating "their credit card machine is down". Of course they are aware of ATM limits, so conveniently, they duly accept, magically, your Visa later on. And also inform you that if it is midnight, it is time to reload your ATM to benefit from the maximum daily withdrawal. Again, you are drunk/poisoned/impaired. Not in a rational mind, the scam continues and you are the victim. Next stop....the girls suggest a new place...where they proceed to binge on more food, likely vomiting with multiple bathroom stops...to keep the purchases going. This is all pre arranged. The scummy owners are expecting you. The rest of the public has cleared out. Business is only open for private effect for you and the two ladies in on the scam. At stops along the way, new champagne/wine bar...hookah bar...another $750. You are impaired. A threesome is promised since the girls are aware your hotel is near. How do they know this? Because you in your inebriated state of mind tried to get them a half dozen times to stop ordering and drinking and eating and smoking. All with failure. Some awkward glances from the bartenders to the scammers and everything captured on video...including you signing or scribbling your Visa charge which you were forced to pay BEFORE drinks and more food come. Ok, you get the idea. The girls never come back with you. There is immense sexual tension built on the substrate of naive, lonely, male tourist with a credit card. My point in all this?: In Riga I can speak on experience this happened to me. It has happened to many others. It will happen tonight, tomorrow, the next day. Yes, I lost some money. Some people are not so lucky and lose a LOT of money, even teeth, and get physically pummeled and the crap beaten out of them by mafia thugs and shady bartenders that range from sleazy to yuppie-looking hotties you would see serving you champagne in a NYC swanky sidewalk cafe. When you wake up the next day...that is if you do before 16 hours later, your credit card may be stolen, the 16 digits most certainly are. Your pride is gone and your distrust for the human race is at an all time high. Report to police? Forget it. Better to provide your account to the US Embassy, eat a little crow and learn a lesson. Sex sells and you paid a huge price. The list of offending establishments has been appropriately listed above and I will not repeat them here. They are the ones with the Russian and Latvian young 20 somethings waiting for you to take their bait. The venues in question near the main square in Old City? They are the only ones open on a Sunday night, for example, until 5 am to allow maximum financial impact. When I rehashed ALL of the events I could when my mind cleared relating to my mistakes, it made me jump out of bed and head for this post I googled on the topic and head rightnto the Embassy...where my complaints taken very seriously by a sympathetic American agent, become nothing more than a statistic. Enjoy an historical Baltic city with common sense and one's view of Riga, Latvia should ideally not be marred by bad apples capitalizing on the relationship between American or Western European solo male tourists and the blighted pimped out, destitute riff-raff littering the Latvian countryside scoring big on a night in the small city.
I've just come back from a 4 day holiday in Riga. I was astonished by the beauty of the city centre. I had no problems with men, girls or the so called "mafia". Some girls tried to invite me into pubs and bars, I just thanked them and refused. In this forum we are mostly talking about women, the "bad" ones are so few compared with all the other ones, but they make headlines. Unfortunately a lot of tourists go to Riga looking for easy sex and entertainment, and this is what they deserve, having no respect for girls. That's a pity because at Riga girls' eyes most tourists could appear in this way and so girls stay far from them. I would like to know some Riga girls to share with them my interests, my experiences, our different living places and so on... but I find it difficult because in Riga I'm only a tourist as many other, no one can imagine my good friendship intentions. I hope someone will understand my position and let me know.
All of you people coming to Riga or any country to use women are scum, the lowest pure trash. You think these women are there because they want to? No, likely they are either in prostitution rings, forced sex slavery or are there out of desperation due to poverty or other tragic background. And what do you do, you just use them. [Sentence removed due to its inflammatory nature]. You deserve it. You're worse than rats. I hate humanity.
If d**khead f**ktards from wealthy western countries didnt go over to Eastern European countries like Latvia with a view to using the local women as mere whores because they are cheaper than at home then they wouldn't treat you Western men like the s**t scum you are f**king users!! good luck to them I say and just for the record they should f**k their R**kie f**king pimps up the a**e, out of the show and get all your money. Love from England to Latvia.
This is for all fellow men who are looking to travel and have a good time (yes that includes SEX) while in Riga but are reading all this shit and thinking... what the f*ck do I do now? Important Note: this post is for male tourists looking for women, Riga is a beautiful city and if you are a married couple or family doing real tourism disregard all of my comments, you will be fine and will have a lovely time.For my kind of tourist here we go:I have read several of the above comments and I can totally relate or see it happening in Riga in fact; Easily but......Avoid sexy women?? are you sh*tting me? ok; if is not for the women..why go there in the first place?? I have been in Riga 3 times, all 3 of them I got scammed, drugged, robbed and once 4 guys kicked my ass on the streets just because I was a foreigner alone at 5 am (first thing not to do). In another different year a taxi driver stole my Audemars Piaget and kicked me out with the car still going (I fell asleep inside because I was drunk; another thing not to do ok that's clear but this does not justify the Latvians, I have fallen asleep a hundred times in Vegas cabs and nothing has ever happened) But fellas... guess what... I will probably go back regardless because I love it!! I can also say I got lucky all 3 times , but beware guys; THE SCAMS are REAL. Riga is NOT a safe place specially not on your own. Specially not for what your intentions are ok? These scammer girls are not the only thing to worry about, many Latvian men (more the Russian ones) are very mean and thugy, there are lots of skin heads too, real ones, not the clowns you see in America and they enjoy to go out at night looking to kick some tourist ass for many reasons including robbing you or for fun or just because they cannot get their own women and they are jealous of foreign men. Does that mean don't go? Not necessarily, exiting things always come with a degree of danger but here is what I suggest to men new to this region of the world. I have spend almost 60 days total in the Baltics, not only the capitals but I had the good luck of having ventured to the country side,driving from town to town... now THERE is where you should go.See...there is a girl from Latvia here in the forum saying that Latvia is not a poor eastern european country, then what is it? Scandinavia? as they like to think of themselves? I have been all over northern Europe and Scandinavia and none of the above happens there, at least not in a regular basis, if it did you would google Stockolm+scams and you will get the same outregious number of websites mentioning something as is the case with Riga but you don't. Let's go with simple logic here right? I've been to ALL Eastern European countries and I have never been into so much trouble as I have while in Riga and I mean....I am including hardcore cities such as Moscow, Kiev and Minsk where I have been several times. back to the Latvian girl, look for her post here many posts away from mine, read the way she expresses herself of foreigners,what a Beeeetch right? well that is the way the ugly Latvian girls and the broke Latvian guys think of us, somehow they are not happy they are not part of what goes on in there between foreign men and beautiful Latvian women. They look at us like a plague (and I am not saying not well deserved; Thanks British stag partiers!!). But guys if beautiful young women is what you are into then Riga is paradise. My obligation however is to tell you the bad news, it is not enough to avoid strip clubs or the classic pair of girls taking you to bars, that's old and if a not so attractive guy gets approached by two 19 year old hotties and he falls for it, he almost deserve it. You guys have to be careful in bars and clubs even of what you are drinking, women in combination with Latvian thugs put drugs on your drinks and you just don't know what happens nor will you remember. You'll know when you wake up your watch is not there and your credit cards are all empty or gone. Watch everything you drink and hurts to say but watch it from who you are with, no matter how sweet she acts or looks. Guys this is the mob from Russia operating there and they mean business. In the last 10 years Riga has become so popular because of the girls, the mob see this, it is a vibrant economy for them, tourists are careless and normally carry money, the credit cards are usually payed in advance before travelling. Don't listen to locals including the ones on this website saying this does not go on, be smart. Riga is 50 Russians and they do the same kind of shit they do...well...in Russia! Just as simple as that. Now, if you can't handle this reality and want a safer place than Riga but with the same Baltic hotties... Go to Tallin, Vilnius and even better the little cities in those countries. The other Baltic states have significantly less Russian population and that automatically makes them safer, sorry if you are a decent russian but this is true. If you are going for "hunting", don't be stupid by only going to Riga where all the other sheep go, since when what everybody does pays off hassle free? There are cities in Latvia like Cesis where you get the Riga experience of 15 years ago. And Cesis is Russian thug free. Another downside to today's Riga women is that they are way too corrupted, even the ones who are not criminals will probably be spoiled rotten by tourists anyway they see $you$ get it?? while elsewhere outside tourist are not many or in some cases inexistant. In Lithuania there is a college town called Kaunas and it's paradise. Go there don't go to the capital Vilnius where everybody goes... but even Vilnius girls are far less corrupted than Riga ones. If you go to Riga in the summertime, in the weekend, go to party to Jurmala, it is the beach side, it is a little safer, less foreigners mean less mafia and less b*tches looking for the easy cash and for you of as a guy of course less competition. The bad girls are everywhere in Riga and unfortunately at night they out number the normal ones, but if you are not an idiot you can find decent women there too and man....so beautiful It's just going to be more difficult and dangerous than Cesis or Kaunas where it feels like fishing with dynamite. Good luck to all new goers, I totally recommend having a Baltic experience just differently than the rest of the horny male world does. If you decide to party in Riga anyway which I do, why not...at least go to studio 69, it is one if not the most expensive club but as far as my experience several nights there, you are safe, at least from staff and the bosses there know what they are doing and keep the idiots from causing trouble with the tourists who are spending money there. At the end of the night this will be far cheaper than a scam bar and it is indeed lots of fun. The women at studio 69? You will not believe your eyes!! Note: I said safe from staff, the sharks in mini-skirts are everywhere in Riga. Good luck!
Well, thinking I'm well travelled and smart, I just got scammed by two girls who weren't that attractive to me..Met them at night on the street, they asked for an address and I gave them. They asked if I wanted to join them and I did. The price at the menu was crazy and they ordered a few more than me. When the bill came they expected me to pay! I only paid my share and they card got declined (!!!)I pretended like I did not bring my card and finally their card worked (!!)When we were leaving, they decided they wanted to go back in to have more drinks.. B*tches.. beware
USA, Colorado,
I have visited Riga dozens times during the past eight years, so I think I have fairly good insight on this subject. During all of these years I have made many lasting friendships with both men and women. Through all of this I have never experienced any of these people attempting to rip me off. I might mention that ALL of my Latvian friends have warned me about the clubs/bars mentioned on this site.The only negative experience that I have had occurred in the summer of 2011. This happened as I paused to answer my mobile phone next to the staircase, while passing under the street in front of the Stockman Center. While speaking on my phone I felt something touch the left rear pocket of my trousers. I quickly turned around to see a little weasel of a man holding my wallet between his thumb and forefinger. A quick punch in his face, from my right fist, sent this creep sprawling on the ground. As I picked up my wallet this man scrambled to his feet and quickly ran away. At the same time a woman, from a nearby shop, began shouting which caused two policemen to appear. Both of these officers were courteous and explained that this area was filled with Gypsies who preyed on foreigners. They also warned me about giving money to panhandlers as most of them are members of professional scammer rings that operate in the center of the city.Regarding the 'Old Town' part of Riga; as in all other eastern European cities, a person must be aware of dangers, especially late at night. ALWAYS remember, when you are approached 20 year old girls, who look like they just stepped off a fashion runway, be VERY VERY cautious! I am almost 70 years old, so I realize that nothing good can come from going to a club with these women, who likely want to rob me. Usually, these women usually say that they just want to meet an American and to learn about my country. What I have done, when confronted with this situation, is to invite the girls to join me at a place like TGI Friday's or Double Coffee, where we can drink some tea, talk, and maybe eat some food. If these girls are criminals, they will insist on going to a club that they like-- when this happens you simply should walk away, as this is a trap. Occasionally, some of these girls, are sincere about just wanting to talk and have joined me for tea and a polite conversation-- however this rarely happens.One of the bars/restaurants that I happen to like is Folk Klubs Ala, located near to the Swedish Powder Tower. Folk Klubs is a student bar which is located in a basement on Smilsu Iela (Sand Street). This establishment has great folk music, dancing, atmosphere, along excellent food which is reasonably priced. I have had many enjoyable evenings in this place that includes participating in many 'arm wrestling' contests. The young men are really surprised when a man of my age can defeat them and often offer to by me a beer afterwards. Through all of this I have been accepted by the locals and have made many good friends at this place-- both male and female......It has been my experience that when you meet 'good' Latvian girls that they will insist on buying their own drinks and will only allow you to do this for them after getting to know you and becoming friends. This is a process which does not occur in hours but rather after several days or a week of meeting and getting to know each other. I have been told by several girls that too many foreigners think that, by buying them a few drinks, that these men then expect to go to bed with them. You need to remember, that as you will find everywhere in the world, there are both good and bad girls. If you are looking for the latter type, then you get what you deserve!In closing, if you are going to visit Riga for 'Sex Tourism' you need to be aware that are entering into a dangerous world. However, if you able to use common sense, and are able to avoid potential hazards, a vacation in Latvia can be a wonderful experience....
Learn your lesson- any bar which title includes pussy, blow, dolls etc. is a scam bar. It's a test for dummies, you dummies!And sleeping with foreigners as one night stands was cool only before globalization.
Oooh, very interesting! I did not even know that there are such a horrible things going on in my City! I knew there are foregners coming to Riga looking for girla.., but so massively, and I did not know that tere are so cynical and horrible. The intentions they have the subsequences they get.. If they are coming with such a thoughts, considering the city as one of the authers who wrote comments on here, that Riga is a 'goldmine' - then I am really shocked by their opinion and their attitude! If to think - London for example is a lot much bigger so to say 'goldmine in that sense.., but of course the drinks are a lot much more expensive and police is a lot much more strict! Thats the real place where such a b.s.a.r.ds can get into big trouble..,and ofcourse they know it, and they book the destination not London, but Riga! That is one group of boys, another group is 'married', they have wives in there home country and they are tooo much afraid to go with another girl in there city, there is a possibility of letting a cat out of the bag )))). But in another they country they feel freeeee, and they behave free. Another group of boys have complex of inferiority, they have to have the stage and the spectaculars who wil help them to get rid of it, but obviously they do not realise they have it.. As they heard the stereotype that Latvija is a poor Eastern European country, they are absolutely sure that they can present themselves here as almoust 'Kings'. The majority of women here are not poor begging for lats!! When they will understand it, when they will apprehend it... are they able to? Thare are prostitutes and and the 'working girls' as one of the greatest writer put here, there are everywhere in the world, and tourists are robbed everywhere. Here in Riga it happens, not more ofthen than in other countries, but here we have to take into consideration the amount of .... do not want to be rude - tourists, gullible as children , thinking that they will get goldmine nearly for free! Isnt it not funny!? More funny those tourists look like ... ))))) , hunting girls in clubs, how many times I with my friend were laughing whilst observing them running around in the club like mad no kind cats )))). Chatting one girl after chatting another, just in case the first one will be failure ))), at the same time trying not to spent too much money..., you know the goldmine must be mine, and to be purchased on sale!! Do you want to look like a clown? Another moment, those tourists,they absoluetly do not care how they ashame their own nations behaving absolutely uncultural sometimes!! And after they complain, ridiculous!!!
As a Brit living in Riga for the last 6 yrs I have to say that I have only once seen a scam in action (on a friend who ignored my advice and went with 2 girls) I had to go rescue him with the help of a policeman that I knew.The stories that we hear of are generally the result of dunk tourists being VERY naive, but yes it is true, even today that there are bars you simply don't visit. A rule of thumb is if you are convinced the pretty girl who came and talked to you is seriously interested in you as a person (REALLY? Why would that be? The good girls have the sense to keep away from tourists) then stay where you are or YOU decide where you want to go (and make sure you know the place from experience. Chances are when she realises that you aren't a target she will move on. Don't panic about all the stories you read, the good bars far outnumber the bad ones!

Just spent a few days in Riga, if you are considering traveling here please reconsider. The Old City was pretty, but was very commercialized. If you're looking for a quaint, old, European city feel go to Tallinn, it's much better.If you're coming for the nightlife, that's also a huge waste of time. The clubs are at best unimpressive and at worst a total scam. As far as the girl scene goes, the reputation Latvia once had as a place that's good to meet girls is no longer valid. Let me preface this by saying I am a 29 year old well-spoken, well-dressed, relatively good looking guy. 1) After discovering they were a girl-tourism destination, normal girls here assume all foreigners are sex tourists and the girls are completely dismissive.2) There are cute, apparently receptive girls in the clubs/bars/streets between the old city and the Radisson, however they are neither truly interested nor hookers (as they might seem). These girls will ONLY want you to come to some specific bar with them. If the bar is on the main strip, they will simply order extremely expensive drinks and food so that the bar gives them a cut. If they take you off the main street, you may find yourself needing around 4-500 lats for a mysterious bill unless you want some serious trouble with an angry Russian bouncer. P4P is dead, everything is a scam.If you're in Europe looking for a fun guys holiday, stay in London for clubs, Germany for girls. If you're a Brit planning a stag party, there are soo many better places that I won't even bother starting to mention them.
Was in Riga with 2 friends newly. We where out partying almost every day. One night we got tricked by 3 girls, taking us to the barfly bar in old town. They ordered cognac and coffe, but luckily we where so sober that we understood the scam pretty quick. We said we aint gonna pay for the girls drinks, and wanted separated bills. After alot of arguing we finally got separated bills, payd up and got the fuck out of there. After this incidents we busted 3 (!) other similar attempts by girls doing this scam. So be aware!
Well, I had a problem in Riga but, in a way, it was my fault. I ask for a beer in a pub and the gave my the bills bent. Obviously, as a new comer and with my Western mentality I just took the cash and continued drinking with my buddies. Later on I discovered why the bills were bent, they gave a wrong change on purpose. I was told this is a very common catch. Always count the change in front of the waiter or otherwise you will never be able to claim the correct change.
Mr. G
If at the Skybar at Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija, DO NOT walk to other bars with girls...They are there ONLY on the lookout for western people, to bring to scam-bars.I was taken to a nearby bar, called Bar Bar, and I soon realised the trouble I was in. As many ppl tell, the bill was outrageous and you will be walked to nearest ATM/Cashmachine...or else.You have been warned.
The American Embassy continues to be concerned about the number of reported instances of crimes perpetrated against foreign clientele at local bars, clubs and lounges in Riga. There have been a number of additional reports recently of foreign tourists being charged extortionate prices for drinks in bars. Some have then been assaulted, threatened or forced to withdraw money from an ATM to pay for the bill. The Regional Security Officer at the American Embassy has placed the following establishments off-limits for American staff, their family members and TDY official visitors, effective immediately:Ampir Club - Livu Square.Angels - 22 Elizabetes street.Baltic Saloon (formerly Red Lion Pub and Saxon) – 7 Laipu Street, located near Livu Square in a small street to the right of restaurant Steiku Haoss.Blow Style (formerly Monroe’s nightclub) – Skarnu Iela 7, behind Indian Raja.Burlesque (formerly Roxy Klub and Babylon) - 24 Kalku Street, located near the entrance to Old Town on Kalku Street.Ekselence - 8 Vagnera Street. Taxis outside this bar are charging more than average rates.Enigma (formerly Puzzle and Pink Panther) - 22 Kalku Street; located next door to Livu Krodzins.Golden Dolls (formerly Kapsula Bar and Zephyr Bar) - located on Audeju Street near Galleria Center in Old Town.Beer Pub - 12 Teatra Street.Livu Krodzins Bar/Pizzeria (formerly Royal Pub, Lord's Pub and Groks Pub) - 22 Kalku Street, located next door to Burlesque.Royal Nightclub (formely Sonali Pub) - 46 Brivibas Street.The above-listed establishments are notorious for credit card fraud, extortion scams, prostitution rings and violent mafia types. Under no circumstances should anyone visit these places. Other businesses of similar design should be avoided as well. If you have questions regarding particular places, report back. These prohibitions are in place to ensure the safety of all employees and their family members. Please be careful.The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s "A Safe Trip Abroad."
Be careful as the financial crisis seems to have worsened the situation. I was lured into Barfly by two friendly girls, and then have no memory of what happened after the first drink! I guess I was drugged, but whatever they used enabled them to get the PIN number to my cards out of me. I woke up in my hotel room at 0800 the next morning, with a headache and Euro 2000 off my credit cards. Very scary indeed, and I have travelled a lot.
I was thinking of going to Riga somewhere next year and thought sleeping with latvian ladies as many as possible.But after reading the reviews,I've cancelled my booking!
There is maffia everywhere in Riga dont go there you probably get robbed
USA- to now Latvia,
I have been living in Riga for almost a year and I agree that one should definitely use their own wits and basic common sense to live here...that said I love this city and the advice above to" just enjoy the beauties of the country and try to establish real and normal relationship with the people" is spot on true because there is a lot to enjoy. I go out about once a week usually with at least one other person to accompany me to dance in a nightclub or just chill in a bar. Moving around from the tourist Old Town- although drinks are a little more expensive a fun active feel is all I have ever gotten by exploring here -plus some smaller clubs have free entrance with DJ and Go Go girls dancing on the bar mini stag!!...If one goes to the Center City - just .5-2 K North also one can find a very good mix of choice Bars Clubs -plus Wine and Jazz places too- with the extra security of police in parks and around the numerous embassies I feel fine walking home late into the wee morning hours from both places. And although I have been charged extra by taxis( yes get them from a chain company in front of nice hotel or ask a local for a recommendation ) and I got my i-phone stolen at the busy bus station ( Every-time I walk a couple blocks from a cool club bar and am safely back in my Center City apartment I am so glad I moved to a city where so much is right at my fingertips at a relatively low cost of living and I did not have to risk a DWI driving back home like my old situation back in the U.S.
"The growth of the local tourism industry has created countless new jobs for Latvians"-if that was the truth then I don't know why so many people emigrated. And for those who say "Latvia was ruled by Russia" and make it sound all bad I've bit of an info here. I was born in Latvia but because my mum was born in Latvia in USSR period and my dad is from Ukraine I am not entitled to have a Latvian passport! I had to pass a special exam in order to get a Latvian passport and be able to travel without visas. Maybe this is why I never felt that I belong there really... Anyway Latvia is amazing in many ways and it's worth traveling there! Stay safe avoid "dodgy" places and girls and just enjoy it! It really is a great country! )
Warning Brilliant Gentlemens ClubBaumana 9RigaTlf. +37 167287815Visa signature Brilliant-Nakts klubsInfo from severel persons I have found at the Internett. Stay away from this club; scam and supporting VISA fraud (be glad your account is intact after a visit here).
11.02.2012 my account was emtied for about 3500 EUR from a terminal called "Brilliant-Nakts klubs". At the Internet I have found a club called "Brilliant Club". The whole touble started with a friendly couple at Donogans pub in the old town.
Amy Young
I just saw a charge on my credit card for $97 from "ONLINE TRADE TRAINING RIGA LV." i HAVE NOT BEEN IN RIGA OR ANY PART OF LATVIA. Has anyone else gotten a bogus charge like this?
Been to Riga January 2011. Stayed in the Central Hostel. Staff are great and very helpful. Pickup from airport they arranged it and also hostel to airport. I think price was reasonable and taxi driver was great guy (does not speak English but tries). Drinks and food is cheap. The woman I met (she is Latvian but lives in Scotland) took me for a drive round the old city and the new city. Cannot say I was impressed. As a person who has been to Russia you can see it was ruled by Russia for a long time. Dull is an overstatement compared to other countries I have been to. We went to a "posh" restaurant. Food was greasy (e.g. chips actually drip oil from them). It was only luke warm and some was actually cold. I like to try local food. Had many different things on the plate (do not care the cost. Just like to try local food). Hardly ate any. On return stopped at a supermarket. Bought a salami and some bread and had that to eat. Driving is nuts. Main thing is be careful of prostitues (yeah........... shame on me). I got one. She went to the toilet. After about 5 minutes oral she started sex. OOPS! She happened to start her period. Wanted to leave and I said "no way hose! I paid you we finish at least oral". You look at prostitute sites for Latvian women. You will find out why their faces are hidden. Second prostitute I met happened to be the daughter of my friend!!!!!!!!! ))) Oh and buy a local sim card. You pay .99ls and get 1.03 ls credit ) Last one any cigarettes or whatever buy before you leave. You cannot buy cheap cigarettes or booze at the airport.
Be careful with traveling companies there are some Italians who are living there and bribe police to steal people money. careful be you
I am presently in Riga and just had a walk in the centre as a test ;)In 30 minutes at least 5 girls (walking in pairs) tried to start talking to me and/or approach me, and I of course avoided them.What is bad is my experience in a bar in 46 Brivibas St. where I met a girl I had contacted on the internet.I found her + a friend of hers (both russians) in this place, and they were drinking some champagne. After the first bottle was finished they wanted more but the bartender asked us to pay and of course it was on me, some 170 Lats...I told them that my bancomat had reached the max amount for the day, but they ordered another bottle, plus 3 vodka and 2 cocktails.When we asked for the bill, it was more than 180 Lats again, I gave them 80 but I told them I didn't have money anymore...I was very quiet, I said, ok what are we doing now, we go to the police...?And one of the girls paid 100 Lats with her credit card.Of course they were quite angry in the end, and offended.I'm from originally from Sicily, and I don't get impressed by this "mafia athmosphere" in Riga, being used to different stuff.What I want to recommend here is not to get superficial contact with girls here, it seems they are starting to use the internet to lure you.In my case, I guess they were ok, probably they only wanted to take advantage of my pocket to get good drinks, and the bartender didn't seem to trust them as she asked them to pay after the first bottle etc.So most probably just a case of disrespect and really bad attitude...Get some real and serious contact before accepting dates anywhere...
Riga is the most dangerous city i have ever been,..scammers,robbers.i was there 5 days.each day might be described by an adventure,in clubs,in exchange stores,taxi.city is governed by criminal and mafia nets.i was in exchange store,i sold 200 Euros and normally i ought to bye 140 Lats.as an unsuspecting dolce vita cypriot i didnt count and check the money.later i noticed that casher sold me esthonian money.the value is much less than of lats..i was robbed deliberately mainly by my own intervening act,that i was so careless
Having read this section of the In Your Pocket Riga site, I was a bit worried as I was travelling to Riga for the first time on my own, especially as I like to go out for a drink at night and explore bars. I needn't have worried - I didn't have any trouble at all, and I didn't see any more dodgy looking people in Riga than in any other city I've been to (apart from the casino in the basement of the Radisson, that was like a gangster's convention - but they were more interested in beating the casino than robbing me). Mostly I decided to give the old town a miss - too many Brits and Norwegians! - and headed up Tērbatas iela and followed some In Your Pocket recommendations. I found some great bars, and very friendly people, most of whom refused the offer of a drink even when I explained it was about 25% of the price of Norway. I found the Latvians I met were very sociable and I was taken to a few bars and clubs I would never have found on my own and had a brilliant time, even when walking back to my hotel at 4am. Keep your wits about you, treat people as you'd like them to treat you and you'll love Riga.
Guido Gloede
We just were ripped off by a taxi driver, although he had a yellow license plate. From old town to ABC Hotel, he did not take the direct way at all, at the entrance of our hotel it was 11 LVL instead of 7 LVL as usual, and a few meters later where he finally stoppen, the meter suddenly read almost 15 LVL!! The license plate was TX 6817. Sorry to report such a fraud after so many nice experiences in this wonderful city of Riga.
I am heading to Riga next month for my stag party but I'm a little worried now after Reading all the bad reports. Has anyone any advice, I'm booking through a stag company who say our accomodation has a lap dancing club on the top floor.........is this safe? Has anyone any recommendations on where to go or what to dothanks
If you sail in trouble waters you get troubles.Traveling To Riga and other Latvian locations frequently since 6 years, it is a a beautiful town in a beautiful country and I have never been robbed or scammed. I have met many friendly people I have been out to dinner with girls, never ahd a problem.Could be that I don't feel atracted bt nightclubs and stip bars whatsoever. I even had intercourses with the opposite sex, for free, maybe if tourists change their predatory attitude and just enjoy the beauties of the country and try to establish real and normal relationship with the people they would have to face less problems.Stop considering Riga a cheap sex and cheap beer place and you will face no more problems than you can face in any other town of the world.
If you go to Riga expecting to pay for lots of young sexxxxxy girls, then that's exactly what will happen - you'll just end up paying far more (in terms of your wallet but probably your head too). Avoid strippers, prostitution, 'massage', 'hotties' that suddenly like the look of your beer belly (think - why would a leggy 19 year old girl even look at a guy like you twice?). If you avoid this sort of stuff you might just be fine. In these last several years things have started getting worse, it's nowhere near as bad as the early-mid 90's but it's still very bad, you need to be safe and really, think twice when a beautiful woman talks to you. Why would a woman like this approach you?
Hi,I am from Germany and we went their with our politics class for a student trip. We all were about 18 years old and from the highest german school grade. I don't want to talk about the location we stayed in because I still fear for my life although I am already back in Germany... After reading this and after doing some online research you might guess where we stayed...Prostitutes wanted to get in bed with our teachers, one student got robbed off by a man who introduced himself as a police officer and the mafia is everywhere present in the city. In the evening hours they even meet with the police and talk about their sportscars. This is no joke, this is what my friends and I saw! Nevertheless, Riga has a really beautiful old town, nice bars and cheap but awesome restaurants. I loved the stay there because I somehow like this "mafia-atmosphere" over there and the city is simply beautiful.I can strongly recommend a stay in Riga if you obey the following rules:- ALWAYS be kind to everyone you see- Don't trust in the police - They are payed by the mafia and they hate foreigners!!- Never exchange money if people ask you too. Never respond to people who start a conversation with you on the road. Just go on, they won't follow you in most cases- Don't hang around on the streets on later hours. Go on lightened main roads and directly go into the building you are aiming at- Only visited recommended hotels of the upper class. But don't only rely on the price! One of the most expensive hotels in Riga is owned by the check card mafia and the EU advices their staff not to check in there! There are several websites where you can check hotel ratings. Look at the hint I gave you about my location, it is really worth the effort!!!!!- Don't flirt with women and do not follow them. Believe me, it's better for your health- Try to stay in groups if possible- Don't go their with your children our if you are already above maybe 60 years. You are an easy victime! Riga is no city for children!If you follow these advices, you will a have a wonderful stay in a beautiful city. Till today I always think back to my days in Riga. I will definitly come back one day!And if you think I exaggerated, you might be interested in this: A few years ago the European Union has rated Lithuania as a country which is victime of "state capture" which means that the government is taken over by the mafia...
As a local, I advise you not to go into any strip bars, especially if your invited by a local hottie. Dont take any advise from the local cabdrivers, their all a part of a big scam that you will be lured into - find yourselfe helples , in a life threatening situation with a gigantic bill on the table.
Riga is ok, but obviously if you go in strip club with prostitutes you risk as in all cities in the world!
During my recent visit to Riga June 28, me and my friend was seriosly robbed at the Cognac bar on 1a/3 Baznicas street.My mobile phone was stolen from my jacket and about 60 Lati was taken from my pocket. Something must have been put in the drinks because my friend had to go to the hospital in the morning for treatment and I woke up with a terrible head ace. My friends mastercard had withdrawn 100 Lati for drinks at the bar but the staff in the bar demanded another 117 Lati for drinks. It was later shown that my friends master card had been scimmed but lucky enough blocked by the bank for further withdrawals.We were not many people at the bar so the personell must be involved in the robbery and scimming.A police report was filed. My friend was so sick after leaving the bar that he was found in the nearby park and taken to hospital and reported as lost person for almost the full Sunday.I hope that this can be avoided in the future and that you can put a warning on the bar.
Riga local
BTW, hot news: a couple of days ago a British gentleman, who turned out to be a cop on vacation, was asked to pay 1000 Ls (thats's close to 2000 USD$?) at a bar late at night despite the fact that he had paid all his drinks right after ordering them (to avoid scam). When he refused to pay, three "security" guys locked the door from inside and, obviously, tried to get the money out of him. The result - both parties are in hospital, but one of the "security" guys has a broken jaw and his ear is bitten off. :)The criminal investigation is started by three different clauses. One of those is "robbery". By this I guess they (police) mean the bar.The names are not disclosed at the moment.Hurray to the British police! If the local police can't do anything about it, let the British clean it up! If some jaw has to be broken in process - the better!
Riga local
I guess you have to know the right places.Also, bear in mind, that Latvian society in fact is split in two major parts - the Latvians(pre-WWII locals) and so called "Russians" (after-WWII Soviet immigrant descendants) with very different and even opposite attitudes, mentality, customs, different language etc. The bars and discos also vary accordingly. There are places preferred by one group and avoided by another etc. But those are hard to distinguish for a foreigner. So it is better if you have a trusted friend who can guide you.I would suggest, that you are far safer, if you go to a good and respectable Latvian place like "Cetri balti krekli" music club, "Raibais balodis" restaurant, "Austrumu robeza" pseudo-Soviet theme bar. I have had only good experience with Irish pubs "Paddy Wheelan's" and "Tim McShane's" in Old Town. Even the old cheap student hole "Runcis" (Tomcat), while sometimes noisy, is generally very safe. Of course, Kirson's "Alus seta" is The Classic - local cuisine and beer, both in Old City and the larger facility (The Windmill) at Krasta street. That is the places I use to go to. Though those are not the places to pick up a girl, which seems to be an objective for many tourists.Just for info, here is what USA embassy says about it:"These establishments have become notorious for credit card fraud extortion scams, prostitution rings and violence by organized criminals":" * “Foxy Lounge” - Terbatas 2; located below the “Fashion Café” in the basement of the “Vegas” casino at the corner of Terbatas and Merkela streets near the flower market. * “Roxy Klub” - Kalku 24; located near the entrance to Old Town on Kalku street. * “Lord’s Pub” (formerly “Groks Pub”)—Kalku 22; located next door to Roxy Klub. * “Puzzle” (formerly “Pink Panther”)—Kalku 22; also located next door to Groks Pub. * “Mary” - Audeju 13; located on the east side of Galleria “Centrs” Mall. * “DD Bars” * “Saxon” - Laipu 7; located near “Livu Square” in a small street to the right of restaurant “Steiku Haoss”. * “Doll House” a.k.a “Zig Zag” – Marstalu 12; located to the right of Reformed Church. * “Bar Fly” - Vagnera 8; located near “Livu Square” in a small street to the right of “Roxy”, “Groks” and “Pink Panther”. * “Zephry Bar” - located near Galleria Center in Old Town, near the youth hostel. * “Mademoiselle Cigar Club” – Valnu street; located in Old Town across from “Lounge 8”. * "Sakura" (formerly “Nobu Sushi”) - Grecinieku 28; located in Old Town."
Unfortunately, most clubs and bars in Riga are run and operated by the Russian mafia who would have no scruples to rip off the unsuspecting visitors. Everything described here is true! I was born in Riga and love this city, but I'd be lying if I said that everything is great and everyone is honest. So, my advise is: enjoy the city, plunge into the atmosphere, visit the beautiful beaches in Jurmala, admire the natural beauty of Sigulda, but for your own safety and the safety of your wallet, DO NOT PATRONIZE RIGA'S NIGHTLIFE!!! That will spare you lots of trouble and shock! Don't allow the Russian mafia to fill up their wallets on your account!
First of all did you read my story or just a bit of it? I know the nice bars to go to! I travel to Riga twice a year! I’ve seen it grow over the past few years! I also know it a small pretty City! How dare you Blame the tourist when people travel they do so to enjoy themselves, maybe you should stop blaming tourist for walking in to the wrong bars and clean your City up!!!!!!! Get the bad people of the streets and out of the bars, make the police do their jobs!!!!!This is the normal Eastern Europeans Problem it’s always someone else’s fault!!!!!!!!!!!!Monkeys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RUBBISH.why are you people going to Riga if it.s so bed?First of all it.s a beautiful city,second of all night clubs and bars in Riga are great,if you do not looking for troubles yourself.I was born in Latvia and love my country.Before you go somewhere you need to learn about the country,clubs and etc.
I have been going to Riga for over 4 years. I go because my girlfriend comes from the City, I met her in my home City in the UK where she works, we visit her family in Riga and stay for a few days at a time because the flat is so small, I stay in a hotel in the City. I’ve seen all the tourist scams over the years and never fell for one! I think of myself as above all this and they won’t get me. As I never go in to a Bar when I can’t see through the windows or when a stranger asks me to come with them and I never walk down badly light road / streets. The scam they use most is a young girl or boy who will chat to you for a time, then they will try and take you to a bar where they over charge you as much as $100.00 to $200.00 for one drink. If you don’t pay you get a beating until you do! All western counties ensure the safety of their visitors but not in Latvia! In Riga the police are no help at all!Anyway back to my story it was Tuesday 17 February 2009 I and my girlfriend had been the cinema it was 9.30pm I put my girlfriend in a taxi to go home and I went to a very nice bar called Opium in the City centre. I had very relaxed drink and chatted with the bar man about how a Capital City in Europe had so few tourist, and how all the scams against visitors have finally started to have affect.You most bear in mind; tourism contributes 10% of annually worlds GDP. Something the Latvians have no idea about! Shame on them!I then left that bar and went for some food; I went to a bar called TGI which means Thank God Its Friday. It’s only a Burger Bar a well light place with good food and drink! I sat at the bar, there were two older German men sitting next to me having drinks speaking English to the bar maid, as I try not to speak to much to the Latvians I thought I would chat to the Germans. As we talked about things two older women sat behind the two Germans and were trying to get their attention I laughed about this and went to WC as I walked over to the WC a young girl stepped out of nowhere in front of me and said hello I replied back and walked past her. On my way back one of the older women behind the Germans stood in front of me and said your friend wants you. I looked round at this point only to find the young girl trying to get my attention I just smiled back and sat with the Germans a few minutes later a very old and used woman sat next to me I thought she was drunk again she was trying to get my attention I was having now of this. She stayed for a few minutes then moved on but as soon as she was gone two more women sat next to me again trying to chat to me. This was getting too much for me I looked round the bar and saw about five Latvia men outside the bar waiting round I don’t know if these men were the girls Pimps who knows? When I asked the bar maid what’s going on with all these girl she said this is Riga and how things are at this point I thought it was time to leave!!!!!I walked over to a bar called Melnais Kakis. Really cool bar in the Old Town they have good beer, pool, darts and jukebox full of good music. It’s a place where I thought things would be ok!I sat down and a bar maid come over to take my order she came back over with the drink I told her this was a nice bar I got a smile from her she said thanks. Then a second later the young girl from TGI had followed me over to this bar with her friend or pimp, who knows, but they sat some way off to my relief, she was trying to get eye contact with me, she got none! But I was getting a little worried about how predatory the people were getting now!!!!!!!! A few minutes later three men walked in talking English I thought they were British they sat a few tables away from me. I order again then went the WC one of the men was in the WC he was hitting a machine. I told him not to as they may throw him out. Then he started speaking to me I left the WC he left behind me,I went back to my table he went back to his.A very short time later the man I spoke to in the WC came to the bar then sat next to me and started talking, then his two friends came over and sat with me I did not like this too much. He then started talking to his friend in another language. I thought what this! There British? When I asked what language they were speaking they said they were from Finland and there speaking Fin, so I asked why are you speaking English? He replied “for our Latvian friend we’ve just met to night” I thought NO! I warned them to be careful at this point the Latvian man rang somebody and in a few minutes two very good looking girls walked in the bar and sat with us. They order a drink, I paid no attention to the girls but I did ask the two Fins if girls like these would talk to them back at home and if not why are these girls talking to you now, the two Fins paid no attention to the girls so the girls then jump up and said we were gay. They then left the bar the Latvian man left a few seconds later and ran after the girls we could see them fighting in the street outside the bar, we laughed at them and had another drink. I thought that’s one for the tourist. But to our amazement the Latvian man and girls come back in to the bar and sat with us again the girls ordered some food and drink. Then a second men walked in to the bar and ordered a drink and sat with us, guess what? he was also Latvian. I then asked him “why are you all doing this” He said I don’t know what you’re talking about I’m only having a drink with my friends. So I warned the two Fins to be careful the girls then stood up and asked the two Fins to come with them to the Lord Pub which is the old Groks Bar. The two Fins said no to them! The girl pointed at me and said something in Russian or Latvian then they throw the bill on the table I and the Fins told the waitress we will not pay it. Things were said and the girls paid the bill and left. I then asked the second Latvian man “why you are doing this” again he did not answer me! I thought things were getting bad now! At this point a man walked in to the bar with two women the two women sat behind the Fins and the big Man the best way to describe him is a Big Troll with a coat on. He stood in front of me. With his finger he pointed to his eye then at me, I thought Shit! I asked the second Latvian man why the Troll man did that to me. Guess what he said? I don’t know!I then got up and went to the waitress and asked her what’s going on she then said to me it’s a Russian thing at that point I thought I’d better pay the bill and leave but another two men came in to the bar and walk the length of the bar, one stayed at the top exit the other stood by the exit next to me and the Troll man was in the other room, so all the exits were covered now and I had no way out shit shit shit!!!!!!!I thought Quick how do I get out, I asked the girl to show me how much I owned on the till screen it was 11 Ls so I gave her 15 Ls but I asked for another small beer which cost 1.50 Ls I walk back to my table sat down and drank a bit. I then asked the second Latvian man the one I’ve spoken a few times if he wanted a smoke he said yes thank God for that, so we stood up ( I had a drink on the table I’m going to come back or so they think ) I walked out behind him I could see there was some type of gesture to the man at the door to let us out. As soon as I was out the door I walked as quickly as I could down the road with the second Latvian man asking where I was going. I just told him I had to go it was late as soon as I was out of sight I ran. (I run 10k every day so I have no problem running ) I made my first turn back to my hotel then I heard a car driving fast so I slowed down change my appearance a little, then a 4+4 come in to sight I walked very slow making a point of not looking at them, the 4+4 come up very fast then slowed very quickly but they overshot me because of the ice and snow I turn again then ran to my hotel I made it after five minutes of running!!!!!!!!! I do feel really sorry for the Finland men that I left behind and I hope they are well and safe but one must think about one self but I did warn them!!!!!!!! All I can say if you are thinking of going to Latvia Riga Don’t! If you are take care!!Don’t forget your Six Shooter For the most lawless town in Europe!!!
Joshua Thornton
USA, Colorado,
Stay away from a club named Saxon. They have some sort of prostitution ring and my friend and I were lured there by a couple of women. He was attacked by the club manager after being told he needed to pay for drinks we didn't even order, had his wallet taken, money stolen, and they ran his credit card for 713 Lats. He was then punched in the face until he signed for the transaction. I was sleeping and unaware of the situation, so the only thing I remember was being dragged out of the club and getting beaten severely. Yikes...
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