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.
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
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!