Gypsies, Thieves and Con Artist! How To Avoid Being Scammed in Europe

Gypsies, Thieves and Con Artist! How To Avoid Being Scammed in Europe

Everywhere you go in the world, has thieves and con artist, and Europe is no different. While, every city may vary with their technique, the bigger picture is always based on the same scenario.

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The key target victims normally are the naive, vulnerable and unaware ones that always fall for the tricks. However, I do believe that it can happen to anyone. So I am here to make sure you are a little more prepared for your next Euro-trip!

Here are the different ways of getting scammed in Europe!


SCENARIO #1: The “Friendship Bracelet” Trick


This one is the one you will probably run into the most. Around many attraction areas, there are men standing around waiting to catch their next great victim. The moment you approach their area, they will wrap a colorful bracelet around your arm. Most people normally think these bracelets are free because they make it seem like it at first. However, the moment they are done tying it around your arm a few times, then they ask for a payment. At this point, it’s hard to hesitate and say no, as the man has you by your arm.

HOW TO AVOID: When arriving in busy attraction areas, take a moment to stop and look around you. It only takes a few moments to spot the scammers holding the bracelets.


SCENARIO #2: The you “Dropped a Ring” Trick


A random person will tap you on the back and ask you, if you just dropped the beautiful diamond ring in his/her hand. As you say no with confusion, they will insist that you dropped it and after a few moments of you saying no and them insisting that you did, you will take the ring and say thank you. That’s when they’ll tell you that they deserve an award for finding it for you. You will confusingly give them a few euros and shortly after they will ask you for 20-30 euros, because that’s what they think they deserve. After you take out your wallet, they will also ask for a tip as well!

ODD SIGNS: Why would anyone insist on giving you jewelry, you say doesn’t belong to you? That’s just plain weird! Before you get into this whole, doubtful situation, of if it’s yours or not, say NO and walk away!

  • While in Paris one night after bar hopping, my friends and I got stopped by one of these people. I quickly called him out on it and told him I knew what he was doing and he laughed and ran off. This can happen anywhere, even if you’re out with friends or solo. So keep your eye out!


SCENARIO #3: The “Survey/Campaign” Trick 


Normally done by a gypsy girl, but can honestly be done by anyone. It starts off with the “Can I ask you a question?”… These scammers will pretend to give you a survey (on a cardboard box) asking you many questions. Meanwhile, as they are distracting you, someone else is pickpocketing your stuff. In some scenarios, you will also set your stuff on the ground for a few moments and realize when you’re done that they completely disappeared.

HOW TO AVOID: The first odd sign would be, who gives out a survey on a cardboard box with no paper instead of an actual clipboard. If you notice they don’t even have papers and can barely speak English. No one would hire someone to do a professional survey next to the Eiffel Tower or the Big Ben who can’t communicate in English and write. Plain and simple.


SCENARIO #4: The “Fake Pregnancy” Trick

APTOPIX Romania France Gypsies

Gypsies often pretend to be pregnant and walk through crowded areas, to ask for money to feed their unborn child.

ODD SIGNS: Normally you can tell, just by the way they are power walking through the crowd (basically running) that they are in no way, shape, or form pregnant. Sometimes, if you stare at them long enough, you will spot that someone is actually telling them where to go and who to talk to. Many of them also look too old to be pregnant.


SCENARIO #5: The “La Rambla Pickpocketing” Trick


La Rambla, is a famous tourist street in Barcelona, that everyone checks out at some point in their trip. La Rambla has many attractions, with street art, performances, restaurants, gift shops and more. Many tourists can get pretty distracted, this is a pickpocketer dream come true! Many MANY people get robbed on this street.

HOW TO AVOID: I would honestly recommend not to have your important belongings in your purse. Hide them somewhere on your body or keep them in the hotel room safe. Avoid the crowded street shows and of course, always keep your eye opened and be aware.


ADVICE: The most important thing you can do is, always be aware of your surroundings and look confident!



8 Responses to Gypsies, Thieves and Con Artist! How To Avoid Being Scammed in Europe

  1. Slightly depressing but important post. We make it a point to never buy anything from sidewalk vendors and just keep walking if anyone tries to hand us anything or asks if we have a moment. It might seem rude to Americans, but it’s okay in Europe.

    • Ya, we got to share the good and the bad about traveling as travel blogs and help others through it. Ya, I completely agree with you, it’s kinda heart breaking sometimes because the bad people ruin it for the good people as well, but what else can we do….

  2. The first time I discovered the ring scam was when someone tried it on me in Rome. When I refused to take the ring, the guy tried to convince me I should take it just because it was so expensive. When I still refused to take the ring, he asked for money anyway because he said he needed it. I asked him if he needed money and the ring was so expensive, why would he give it to me? By not taking the ring, I think I confused his game. He got frustrated with me as a target and left me alone pretty quickly.

    I think Americans have the reputation for being friendly and polite, and scam artists know to take advantage of that. I have found a balance between being too open and being too cautious.

    • WOW! That’s pretty funny, you’re so right, what else can he say after that…But that ring is worth a lot to him because he makes a lot of money from people that don’t take the ring but still give him money. This scam artist are crazy!

  3. This is very helpful. We’re going to Italy in a few months and have heard about several scams that happen in some places. It’s sad, but it can really happen anywhere, especially in touristy spots where people are known to have more money. Just great to be aware, alert, and if something seems weird or wrong…trust your instincts because it probably is! Thanks for linking up with Weekend Wanderlust 🙂

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