CD Bullies in New York


New York Scams: Don't Take Any Handouts While In Times Square

(with video below) There are a plethora of New York scams out there to avoid if you travel to the Big Apple, but today we focus on the CD Bully Scam. Let's imagine a scenario.

You are admiring the energy that Times Square has and the beautiful vibe that thousands of people are creating in the bright New York. As you are checking out the shops and the huge digital posters around, a street musician hands you a CD. "Hey check out my music, you'll like it. Take this!" He will ask you immediately what your name is, so as you are polite and respond, he starts autographing the CD for you. This way, it's hard to avoid the scam. He also points out at the other 'band members' so you can see there are many bullies around you.

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As you take the CD and step away, he starts yelling. "Hey, hold on, you didn't pay! It's $10, don't run away!" Three or four other guys will surround you instantly. Many people get scared and pay $10, just to get away.

Watch the video below to see CD hustlers caught on camera in Times Square:



This is just one of the many scams happening in New York, from show tickets sales to entertainment rides.


New York Scams: How to Avoid the CD Bullies

In regards to the 'musicians' approach, do not take the CD in the first place. Don't be too polite, just don't touch whatever is handed to you.

If you do, when you try to give it back and they won't let you, just put the CD at their feet and walk away. Do your homework if you are just about to go to the New York.

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NY Scams: How To Report a Scammer

Warn your family and friends about the CD Bully Scam by sharing this article on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers and any other suspicious activity to the local police or the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:

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40 thoughts on “CD Bullies in New York”

  1. This happened to me in Hollywood boulevard, fucking guys snatched the CD back roughly from my hands (I was a 14 year old, so they’re rude to kids/teenagers too) after my family realised the scam.

  2. Came here to see what this scam was. They go in with a handshake first and it’s almost instinctive to shake someone’s hand when presented to you. I refused the CD and my partner encouraged us to hurry forcefully saying “we are late, come on” the reply from a second CD man was “Don’t be a ni@ger hater like your wife, shake my hand” NY is a mental place. Just keep moving and don’t engage with them.

  3. Had my wallet filled with $4000 in cash, most of my budget. About 5 black men surrounded me and demanded $20 initially but they just snatched my wallet while another one slapped me in the back of the head. They took it all and proceeded to say that this was their due to the colonial past they suffered. My entire trip was ruined since I had to rely on emergency funds from my parents to continue on my vacation and I didn’t get to do anything more. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the USA.

  4. Anirudh Rawat

    I was roaming around the streets of times square , when a black men came to me and started to chat with me . He told me that he was giving some kind of free CD of some kind of rock music , and wrote my name on it . I took the CD but he asked for tip . Now I realised that it was one of the frods, so I give him 25 cents and he told me that min is 1 dollar. I told him I dont want the CD and walked away

  5. I’ve lived in this city for 20 years and I NEVER talk to strangers who approach me in the street. One of these guys came up to me and tried to shake my hand, and I scowled and said "who’re you?!?" He just stood there dumbfounded. Another time, one of the CD scammers started asking my name, and I said "yeah, what’s it to you?" He followed me and started talking about how he just got out of jail, and without looking at him, I said "good for you!"

  6. I ran in to them, i gave them 1 dollar lmao he was like im kinda hoping for more than a dollar and i shurged my shoulders and left with the crappy CD.

  7. My mother and I were walking out of the M&Ms store down to the 49th St Subway station on December 15. We were stopped by "Fred Suave" whom engaged in small talk with my mother and I. He pulled out a CD and began to write "nicknames" for both of us on the case. My mother began to give him $20 after being pressured into doing so, and rather quickly, two other black men approached us and attempted to extract more money from her, claiming to be separate artists. I should note that they used the race card, saying "Thanks for not being scared of a black man". In short, we ended up with 2 copies of the same disc (on which are two terrible songs) and out $35.

  8. It’s people with no nerves of steel that are promoting these bullies. I was just a puny 18 year old nerd with braces on when I visited NYC. A black man walked up to me and shook my hand. Then handled me a CD and said "this is our latest album, you are on TV the camera is up there. I ma give you this copy for free with an autograph". I reply thank you and begin to walk away. Then he put his arm around me and said "whoa whoa wait a minute my friend, we only ask for a small donation of $20". Then I was like "fuck no!" and I threw the CD back at him. He shouted some racist comment at me and I just flicked him off and walk away. If more people stood up for themselves and not let this bullies get their way… then life would be better. So what if you get punched or kick or scold at, I grew up in Detroit and I know for one thing, blacks talk big but when the tough gets tough they are the first to run from a fight.

  9. Yea, I fell for this. One guy stepped in front of me, and instantly I was surrounded by three others. Same line, ‘are you afraid to shake a black man’s hand’. Of course, I felt challenged so I fired back, ‘are you kidding me, I’m from Detroit.’ Then I was peppered with questions from all sides. They kind of circled me like sharks. I kept one hand on my wallet and another kept patting my phone, I wasn’t sure what to expect. They guy pulled the ‘autographed CD for free’, then demanded money. Then the other three guys all wanted in. I coughed up a $20 to get away and then they all wanted the money. I finally put the CD’s back on the ground and fled. It was a little intimidating, and I was surprised I didn’t see cops breaking it up. I chalked it up to one more NYC experience. I did feel bad that a black guy was using his race to scam people, on the other hand, I could have just walked away but didn’t.

  10. Just got back today from Times Square. I ran into these fellows three or four times in a week. A few times I just declined. One of the times a fellow initiated by asking me if I was afraid to shake a black man’s hand. I told him that I probably knew more black guys than he did. My sons wondered where I came up with it but the answer shocked the kid a bit and he shut up. They said a similar "Don’t be afraid to talk to a black man!" while trying hand a cd to one of my son’s another day. Pretty tacky. But we never got pushed for money after the initial no as an answer and keeping moving.

  11. They’ll do anything to rope people in- one guy’ll start coming from way up high to shake your hand and leave a CD in it, but at the same time, before you have time to react in ANY way, they’ll just say, as loudly as possible, "What’s the matter, you got a problem shakin’ hands with a black man?" Then, if they’re tourists, they’ll take the CD and start engaging with the guy to show to the guy (or themselves, maybe) that they’re not racist. The guys ask them their name(s), and as soon as they get them they’ll autograph the CD with a Sharpie, even though they haven’t been asked to, but, they take the CD gratefully (totally under the impression that it was free, since the guys hand them out like leaflets), thinking how nice New Yorkers are, start walking away, then, one or more guys, (everyone still smiling,) might be there all of a sudden- they tell the tourists about how there’s a donation, "Some people give $10.00, MOST PEOPLE give $20.00…"And I just see these poor groups of tourists taking their wallets out and giving these piece-of-shit, fast-talking hustlers their hard-earned vacation money for absolutely nothing, and the most disturbing thing is that these are young black men who are perfectly willing to shamelessly take advantage of, profit from, and add fuel to, the already considerable- and rising- racial tensions in the city. (I have literally seen this happen dozens and dozens of times, to others and to myself, walking home up 5th Ave next to Central Park and the Met, a prime location for this bullshit, in nice weather for the past 4 years.) I hate to see people getting fleeced like this, but, UAUALLY common sense takes over on my part and I mind my own business, but I intervened once, saying, "You’re being scammed" to some teenagers or very young college kids from Europe, who were handing over their money, which they probably only had enough of to allow them 1 1/2 meals per day, which broke my heart, and it was just a bad thing to do. First one guy, then all of them once they’d got all the poor young Europeans’ cash ran over to try to intimidate me, and they just started walking around me in a slow circle, shouting, "RACIST!" Or shoving wads of their ill-gotten cash in my face and saying, "I gots mo’ money that YOU, mothafucka!" It’s hard to watch, and it’s shameful to see, that on one of the most tourist-strewn and, ideally, beautiful and quiet stretches of the city’s sidewalks, the NYPD do, so far as I can tell, NOTHING about this issue.

  12. Yep, had this happen to me this morning in Vegas, before i could hand back the cds, three guys came up and started asking for tips (for doing shit) i didnt want anything to happen so i just gave them a 20 and they left. then promptly tossed the cds which were probably blank. no lunch is a small price to pay.

  13. As a foreign tourist, I just encountered such a scam (I would rather call it "robbery") on Times Square today. A black young man handed his CD to me and said he just wanted a tip. But even after I gave him 10 dollars he didn’t let me leave, three black guys came and surrounded me and squeezed every dollar in my pocket, That was 75 dollars! I don’t want to be a racist but they just disgusted me, and I condemn them to hell!

  14. I went to NYC and ran into these guys as well. Asked for a ten dollar donation but I only had $7 left on me. After he kept pestering I offered to give all I had, I even showed the guy but he kept saying $10. So I handed back the cd and said forget it and walked away. Then he pushed me in the street and as I got up he punched me right in the face. Went home with a chipped tooth and scraped knees/hands because my donation wasn’t good enough. I understand it may be hard during the holidays but NYPD needs to do a better job at keeping these criminals off the street.

  15. Happened to me last year, even when i paid $2 the guy was complacent, I thought it was a donation? Anyway, went again this year and just ignored them but on more then one occassion they shouted at me for being racist and used a rather unpleasant word. New York is a beautiful city and really safe compared to some even in the UK, but sadly like all big city the vultures are out! Be wary and stay safe people.

  16. I live in New York City easiest way to avoid this scam is to not be nice and keep walking. If you are surrounded and forced to take the cd and they ask for money just say you
    Got no cash don’t take out your wallet just say you got no cash. I personally just tell them I bought a cd from them the other day and it was blank that gets them to run away pretty fast.

  17. These idiots are so trashy and rude
    I use to work in Times Square NYC and everyday I would get harassed by a big group of RUDE black men. I wish the cops would put a stop to annoying bully vendors like them. I’m a 5’3 female being harassed and verbally abused by me who are over 6ft tall. Times Square is such a BEAUTIFUL place but be very careful, especially if your a female and your by yourself.

  18. "Fred Suave" or whatever he calls himself did this to me in NYC last week. That’s the name on the cd and his Instagram confirms it. Threw a cd at me and demanded a contribution. I’m into street music so thought it may be of interest but when I tried it at home it had 3 of the worst hip hop songs I’ve ever heard ????

  19. Yeah me and my friend fell victim to this scam in New York City across from Penn Station. I was walking I felt a Cd Shoved into my hand, I was surrounded by these guys. The guy proceeded to sign the Cd and asked for 5 dollars for it. I was thinking whatever, I only had 20$ so he said he would break the money, that is when he took my 20$. He said it was for all 4 of the guys that were their as they were all producers of the Cd. In fact they were trying to get 20$ for all 4 of them, but I proceeded to insist for my change. When I know I get scammed or I’m pissed I get this crazy look, so one of the 4 said never mind we will just share the money. Is their anyway to stop this because apparently the cops can’t do anything unless they see it.

  20. This happened to me a few weeks back. I was minding my own business, trying to get back to the hotel, and a man stops me. I try to be nice and he wants to shake my hand. I politely say "No", then he insisted on it. When I wouldn’t give in he offered me his "mixtape" I took it and started walking and he said it was 20$. I declined, he insisted, etc. When I finally walked away, I was cussed out, called a racist for, as he said, "havin no love for the black people". Don’t talk to these people. Don’t ever feel like you have to buy their CDs, they are blank and the guys are lying! What made me maddest was NYPD officers were less than 100 yards from these punks. Cmon, do your job!

  21. This happened to us yesterday!! If you are visiting New York, please be aware that this happens in Times Square. Do not take ANYTHING that is offered to you, especially not the CDs. They are not struggling artists, they are robbers. If they shove a CD into your hands, put it on the ground and walk away, even if they yell after you. Very disappointing that there are NYPD officers around in the immediate area and they seem disinterested in stopping this practice. It is harming their tourism sector, I certainly have no desire to return to Times Square ever again. I also saw countless tourists conned into giving money to those silly people dressed in costumes from various movies, completely ridiculous that they approach you for a photo and then demand cash – with no forewarning that there is a fee involved. To top it off, there are women standing around topless (with painted breasts), also to pose for photos; I’m in my 20s and pretty open-minded, but I thought this was inappropriate considering the number of families who come here with their children. Shame in this supposed "must-see icon" for providing such an unsafe and poor quality experience. If you do visit, hold tight onto all your valuables at all times and do not interact with anyone! Take that photo and get out ASAP!! Times Square is merely advertising on steroids and full of desperate folks trying to make a buck. Avoid!!!

  22. I had this happen to me today, I was scammed out of $200 by 6 black guys working together. I’m going back tomorrow with the police to try and stop these assholes.

  23. Man these guys are really behind the times. Most people carry music on phones now and you need a laptop to update/sync. NEWSFLASH, new laptops don’t have CD drives anymore, it’s 2015.

    Selling CDs like this really has nothing to do with music, and everything to do with hustle and scam.

    At the end of the day these guys are talentless bullies & catcallers posing as struggling musicians. If you really want to hustle, get a permit and perform live on the street or in the subway stations.

  24. I remember this happened to me and my friend last summer we came out of the MET and started walking on the pavement of central park. We smelled the stench of weed then as we walked closer to the source there were these guys handing out CD’s trying to give them to people, so as we were getting closer I was going to walk past them until one of them got close to me trying to hand me a CD but I ignored him to which he yelled "IM NOT DANGEROUS".Which then got me a bit scared, I feared what he would say or do so i took the CD and wanted to be on my way but then he stopped me and started hitting on me and my friend asking me my name and age and said if he could get a little donation and I said i had no money which he then slowly took the CD back from my hands. Since then if me and my friend ever see these guys again we would head to a different direction just to avoid it.

  25. Yea these dudes tried to flex that shit on me; laughable.I walked ahead of my buddies so they were well behind me. We’re just some country boys from Georgia visiting the city for the first time. I’m a good guy, I’ll help somebody out. So he said he needed donation, so I pulled out my wallet and before I knew it I was surrounded by 5 or 6 other guys trying to force CDs in my hand and take money out my wallet. I slapped the CDs out of their hands and at my perfect timing my buddies came along. We were so far up in their faces, I could see my spit hitting the main guys face. We posted up on the wall after the altercation, starred them down, and heckled their asses for a solid hour. Everytime they tried to get someone, we’d yell "keep walking, they’re selling shit" they kept saying they were gonn beat our asses but everytime we said if you think you bad enough to do it than do it. Never happened. Police need to do a better job. It stills gets me angry to this day. NYC needs more southern boys.

  26. Busted for the first time today me n my sister were walking down w42st 2 black guys handed us there CDs n Dias a small donation my sister was talking to them n I was listening to the one guy while he was talking n this other guy got mad called me a bitch n said other value things worst experience ever

  27. happened yesterday outside of NYU, terrible experience, whey policemen leave this alone? they should do something

  28. just happened to me. I love music and want to support artists. so much for that! he handed me a CD like it was free. then wanted a donation but kept insisting on an amount. I caved and gave him $5 and the other guy forces another CD into my hand and now wants $10. he saw the 20 in my wallet and then said he has change. I agreed to another $5 for his CD (I wanted out of there). he had 15 in change to give me and I started handing the 20 and he tried to hand me only 2 $5’s instead of 3. I quickly pulled back and said you give me 3 5’s and he did. I felt stupid. lost $10 on the scam. don’t make eye contact.

  29. Happened to me near Time Square, drew me in with a handshake then gave me an autographed CD, said any donations would be welcome, then basically demanded $20 whilst taking about slavery and implying that we didn’t like him and his friend because they were black

    I was with my girlfriend and the way they were behaving I thought it best just to take the small loss and learn a valuable lesson. Threw the CDs away at the next bin but wouldn’t surprise me if they were blank anyway

    Only way to avoid this is simply to not engage in the first place. They will shout something at you about being racist or something like that but just ignore it and keep walking

  30. This happened to me while walking along central park. Two black guys are walking straight to me one guy with stretched arms with a signed CD. I immediately said no thanks. I did this without stopping for them. I think I irritated the other guy since he shouted back at me that they weren’t going to mug me or anything. It’s not like I even asked or I was thinking that’d happen. It’s broad daylight. But anyway I continued walking and never stopped for them. I guess they thought I was easy since I had a big bag of souvenirs from the Met Museum.

  31. This happened to me OUTSIDE NYU. Of all places. Same modus, ended up getting scammed $200. 6 guys surrounded me so yeah.

  32. Same thing happened to me today in San Francisco at the embarcadero. Ended up getting surrounded by a couple of the first guy’s big friends and getting conned into giving them forty bucks via sneaky change swapping tactics and general intimidation. Decided to cut my losses rather than get smacked while arguing. Welcome to America huh

  33. I’m from the UK and have visited NYC about 5 times. This scam happened to me in 2012 outside Macy’s. The guy gave me the CD like it was a promo freebie, but then asked for tips. I didn’t understand at first, but ended up giving him $2. I’m a big guy and he was on his own. It may have been a bad burn, but this was a blank CD when I got to try it at home.
    Just got back from vising again (September 2014) and it’s happening a lot more. I was probably offered CD’s about 10 times. One guy managed to get one in my hand, but I slipped it straight back to him and said the last time I got a CD on the street like this it was blank. He was OK about it as he knew I wasn’t falling for it.
    The last group to try this on me was on the corner of 7th and 47th. They start off being nice, but if you engage and don’t take anything they soon start with the old "So you don’t like black people?" comments. I wish I could say I just don’t like arseholes, but my advice is to walk on and don’t engage with them.
    I came back down the other side of the street and looked over to see a guy being ripped off. Obviously they must be succeeding too much and I can only wish the police start to do more about this sort of street hustling.

  34. I just visited NYC a few days ago and i was stopped by a black man with his crew. They were obviously high, seeing that they were passing a blunt around. I guess i was caught off guard. He offered me a handshake and said he was "promoting" his album. He seemed like a friendly guy so I accepted his handshake and showed some support and pulled out my wallet. As i was looking through my wallet to give him a 5, he said caught glimpse of my 20 dollar bill and said he had change. He then told his buddy to give me a 10 dollar bill for change. Right at that moment, his buddy promotes HIS album and asks for EVEN MORE money. And in the confusion, i gave him another 5 bucks before my family pulled me away from them. I ended up pitching 25 bucks out! It was quite a close call, and i am super fortunate to have had them nearby to help. I believe they were on 6th and 43rd. I still feel horrible. They gave me 2 albums labeled "Pyro Back Draft" and "The most hansome hutla from bahamas to new york". So people, BEWARE OF THE HANDSHAKE SCAM!! And because of that, I did not have the best experience in new york.

  35. I was visiting NY this week with my family. We were in the pedestrian island area and my wife and younger son went into a shop. My older son and I decided to stay outside and walk around. One of these scumbag shoved a CD into my son’s hand and demanded $20. He was being very aggressive so I took the CD out of my son’s hand to divert his attention to me. I then told him we weren’t interested and tried to hand it back to him, which he refused and started cussing and accusing me of being racist. Two of his associates swarmed in and the situation felt like it was quickly getting out of hand.

    I was really concerned about my son because I could tell he was really scared. I kept quickly talking in circles and once they realized I had no intention of giving them any money, the ringleader snatched the CD out of my hand and moved on. My son was very shaken by the whole incident. I noticed there was a group of NYPD officers about 100 yards away standing near an armed forces recruiting station; New York’s Finest my ass!! Obviously these scammers are not afraid of the police. Lesson learned: don’t make eye contact and don’t talk to them, just move on.

  36. While in New York this weekend with the family, I ran into a couple of these scam "artist’s". I was lucky and avoided them the first couple of times. While walking around Times Square we were approached by a "nicer" guy who tried handing me a CD. I politely said no and kept walking. He started complimenting my daughter and wife. He tried giving me another CD so I took it and starting walking away. He stopped me, asking for a donation. I politely said no and handed it back. My daughter gave him a dollar. We spoke for a while about my wife and daughter and started walking on down the road. He followed me talking off and on about New York and recently seen movies. My wife suddenly walked up and handed him 10 dollars and said that we had to go. He asked that we take care and went back to his original corner. Lucky? Maybe. Nice enough guy but won’t make eye contact next time. BTW, we played the CD when we arrived back home in Texas, the Cd had nothing on it. LOL Who buys CD’s nowadays anyway, Duh? LOL

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