Dodgy Buddhist monks wearing robes that hide tracksuit pants and runners are scamming Melburnians and visitors to the CBD, Consumer Affairs says.

Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Buddhist Council of Victoria warned on Monday of conmen dressing as Buddhist monks and asking for money in exchange for prayer beads, amulets and spiritual guidebooks.

Swinburne University student Tara Siri, 21, said she was walking with friends down Spring Street last month when a "monk" approached them bowing his head and smiling, before pushing a plastic hologram picture of Buddha into her friend's hand and asking for cash.

"First she was like 'Oh, I don't have any money' but then he kept smiling and handing her the picture. She got out her wallet and handed out $2, but he wanted more. He really put the peer pressure on," Miss Siri said.