Tourist Scam Alert
Tourists are targeted by scam and rip-off artists everywhere in Europe. If you know the games (spilling the mustard, bus 64 in Rome, and so on), you're less likely to be a victim. By sharing the latest scams (and learning from each others' mistakes) we'll all travel more safely.
Remember, pickpocketing attempts throughout Europe can be expected unless you wear a moneybelt under your clothing. Smart travelers leave wallets at home and store their credit cards, passport, paper money and rail ticket(s) in a secure moneybelt. Visit our Travel Store for Rick Steves' recommended moneybelts.
What cons and scams have you encountered?
Read the Distillation: Tourist Scams, 2005
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
Jerusalem Taxis Drivers
Beware when you are walking that Jerusalem Taxi Drivers traveling down the street will offer to take you to where you are going but you will have to go to their shop before taking you to your destination.
If you need to take a taxi it is best for a hotel to call for a cab to pick you up.
Alcoa, TN USA 12/05/2013
American Scam in Paris Near Rue Cler Market
We were scammed when two Italian men asked for directions from a Fiat car. They gave us a bag of 2 shirts, 2 coats and a sweater and said they were Italian Designer giving away samples. Then they asked for $70 Euro for the good. A huge scam as the clothes are really cheap and useless. Beware. They are really dangerous.
Spokane, Washin USA 11/26/2013
Beggars in Rome
There are many beggars in Rome. When on a train and someone was begging I noticed how the local Italians don't make eye contact or acknowledge them in any way. I feel bad for people who beg, I wonder if they have enough food or a place to go to at night. I decided I was going to acknowledge the presense of someone who felt the need to beg, and I was going to give out coins when someone approached me, so I put coins in my coat pocket and was determined to ease my sense of discomfort with all this by smiling and giving out coins. I made eye contact with a lady and smiled and gave her a coin into her can. She looked at it and scowled fiercely. It wasn't enough. As I was walking away, she followed me, pushing the can into my back, I felt like I was being pushed. I felt bad, and really very sad about this experience.
Reston, VA USA 11/24/2013
Europecar rental scam
Europecar rentals pressured my son and daughter in law to have $400 "insurance " at their CDG Paris car rental office. The car was returned next day ..pristine...but the company still has not removed the hold on their bank account. They have been told that it will be probably a total of ten days plus before they can get their deposit back (hopefully!) This is not acceptable...but be warned this is a scam operated all over the place by the car rental companies...but we are more than angry with Europecar.
Fort Worth, Texas USA 11/21/2013
Paris taxi scam
After my trip to Paris I thought I would add a couple of tips that may be of help. The ring scam and petition scam were in all populated areas. I was really frightened when visiting the Sacre Coeur and some guy tried the bracelet thing. His grip was so tight I thought I would have my arm broken! I yelled and NONE of the other many tourists/visitors around even offered to help! Finally I shoved him very hard and he let go! Also, if you take a taxi from CDG, be SURE you are getting into a REAL taxi. Scammers are everywhere! I had been advised by someone on Tripadvisor to NOT take the shuttle that my hotel set up for me as they were unreliable. I was "soaked" for 70 euro!! On my way back to the airport, I had the hotel set up the shuttle and it cost only 26 euro!!! I followed signs to "taxis" in CDG but didn't go to door 20! I was duped by a very authentic looking sign at door 24 and got taken!! "Some" advice on Tripadvisor is okay; but NOT all of it!!
Lakewood, CO USA 11/19/2013
Getting money back from scams in Turkey
My girlfriend and I were recently scammed in Turkey and ripped off close to $1,000 USD, which was as you can imagine not cool at all. I love Turkey but these sorts of things really can out people off visiting the country. Anyway long story short we managed to get our money back after going through a government department, I write a travel blog and wrote two posts about the subject of scams in Turkey including how we managed to get our money back in all the detail. Anyway hopefully somebody else can get some benefit from our experiences. Here are the posts. Post 1: Scams in Turkey Post 2: Scams in Turkey - How we got our money back
Bullcreek, WA USA 11/19/2013
Pickpockets in Rome
Just back from Rome. The gypsies are back. Don't give to them and don't buy their trinkets. It does not help them. Put your euros in the poor box in church. Also wear a money belt. One man had his pocket picked on the number 64. He was warned. Also get there early for the papal audience as the crowds are huge.
Washington, DC USA 11/18/2013
While in Berlin.....which is one of the safest cities I have ever encountered while travelling....we did nonetheless encounter the beggars and petition scammers. The beggars were located at or near St. Mary's Church near the TV Tower (twice) under the watchful eye no doubt of their husbands who were selling hats across the street. The petition signers were at Checkpoint Charlie but a firm no and look that said I had no problem tossing them in the river seemed to disperse them immediately. Other than that I found Berlin to be at the top of my list for security. Heavy police presence everywhere is no doubt a factor. I would add a vote in favor of something I saw on one of Rick's shows. He encourages us to drop some change in the cups of the genuine beggars. I was with friends who lived in Europe and they told me that some of the eastern bloc countries put their disabled on buses and literally drop them off in Germany to fend for themselves so that they don't have to support them. Of course you will have to be careful but it was hard to argue with the guy who had no legs. And if I was wrong about his financial circumstance by giving a couple of Euro....I only lost a couple of Euro and if I was right then maybe he got at least one meal that day. So don't discount all of those begging....some are legitimate and what ARE you going to do with all those coins anyway? (I carried them in my pocket every day and handed them out as I went) Happy Travelling to all.....Linda
upstate, NY USA 11/15/2013
We just got back from Paris where my son is a student in a city which we love and find the locals great and gracious people but for whatever reason the scammers are out in force. The gold ring scam is hot right now. We were approached three times near the Louvre with this old trick. At the always crowded Eiffel Tower, it was the old "please sign this petition trick" while the person is discussing the cause with you, another accomplish is hitting your back pockets. In fact, PA announcements were made twice at the Eiffel over the intercom to watch out for pickpockets. Remember, police patrols in Paris are rare for whatever reason, so have some street savvy before you venture into a crowded tourist areas( read: Notre Dame, the Louvre, along the Seine on the Left Bank ,metro and train stations). Keep your camera down and the person(s) traveling with you at your back. Same on the metro, announcements being made at Cite station as well as CDG airport. I wear a money belt and can handle myself in street situations.
Yorba Linda, Calif USA 11/14/2013
Don't be scared!
When I read the comments posted on this site, I was really nervous about our third trip to Europe. Travelers have had some terrible things happen to them. We are and were very fortunate. We are very careful and take all precautions that are necessary. I think it helps to have grown up in a major city like Detroit. We feel we are street smart. I felt bad in Milan watching the Africans taking advantage of young people with their red strings that they tie to the wrist and then demand money. On all of our trips to Paris , we had fun with the clever gold ring trick. Yes, we are fortunate but you have to really be careful. Safe travels to all!
Livonia, MI USA 11/14/2013
Off Season beats Scams/Pick Pockets
Just got back from 2 weeks in Greece, Turkey, Italy. We were armed to the teeth with anti-pickpocket stuff: money belts, around the neck wallets, etc.
But to really work, these kinds of thefts require close physical contact, which requires a certain density of people to not be suspicious. Because we were at the tail end of the season - Oct/Nov, we encountered zip, zilch, zero problems with crime.
virginia beach, va USA 11/13/2013
pick pockets, the ring scam
My good friend R. and his friend E. just came back from paris. they were robbed on the metro by a bunch of kids acting as decoys, they wore their wallets in the front pocket but didn't use their moneybelts that day. they told the story at their hotel and some shops and the french were very sympathetic, with one shop keeper saying 'please don't judge us, we're not like that. it's the romanians." R and E also encountered the ring scam at montparnasse. otherwise, they had a fabulous tip. the rue cler rocks they said.
hollywood, ca USA 11/04/2013
Credit card hacked & PIN stolen in Naples Italy
During a trip to Naples Italy last week, my credit card number & PIN were stolen. Most likely happened at a restaurant. Few days later, someone withdrew about USD 800 from ATMs in Singapore. Keep close eye on credit card when shopping.
Paris, France 10/30/2013
Just returned from the Eiffel Tower and was targeted for the ring scam. It was the typical scenario=a man drops a ring right before we cross the streets picks it up, shows it to us,
we ignore, he drops it again in the middle of the street and goes to pick it up, we ignore him,
and he follows us across the street and tries once again to engage us. At this point I waved my
hand in front of him saying "no, no" and walked away.
Upon arriving at the Eiffel Tower and seeing unbelievably long lines we decided to stroll around
the grounds. Guess what-the bracelet scam was going on in front of us. It was amazing to watch. I was so captivated by the process that I walked up and watched the 3 men in action.
Two of the men had their victims hands and were weaving away while a third man was on his cell phone-pretending to talk to someone- watching their victims. Of course, this scam had several outcomes-paying for the bracelets and/or getting pick pocketed by the phone man. It was
interesting how one of the bracelet making guys wedged his back up against the 2nd victim
cutting off contact with the victims friend. I just stood there shaking my head. I walked away
and told the two young victims that they should check their money.
This was one interesting afternoon. How disappointing. I am so glad that I had read about all the various scams and did not fall victim to any of them.
All I can say is stay alert, be careful and enjoy the sites.
Oh yeah, this bracelet men were within 100 yards of the police-ha! what a joke.....!
Self Help ticket machines at train stations
Do not let anyone come near you when you are buying a ticket from the automatic machines in the train station in Florence. We used the machines instead of the ticket window to save time...every time we got in front of the machine someone appeared to "help" us. My daughter was watching my back while I bought the tickets. I even had one person come up and start to tell me how to use the machine while I was half way through the transaction. She started to touch the screen while I was moving through the process - I told her to keep her hands away and turned my back to block her view. They are watching to either get your money, or somehow cheat you out of a ticket.
CO USA 10/30/2013
Venice vaporetto stop
I'm pretty cautious and have never had anything stolen. This time, waiting for the 5.1 vaporetto outside of the Venice train station, the crush was horrible, the platform was rocking hard, and it was difficult just maintaining my balance and keeping my bag with me. As soon as I boarded the vaporetto, I noticed my hard-to-open purse was unzipped and my wallet was missing. Luckily, all they got was Euro and one credit card; it could have been much worse. Just wanted to caution people, since I haven't seen much info about the vaporetto. Venice was so crowded this October, almost every stop and every boat was packed. It was challenging to keep my purse guarded at all times.
San Jose, CA USA 10/30/2013
African Carvings scam alert from Cameroon
Warning to all, never you accept to assist any cameroonian who cliams that he/she needs some one to handle the sales of antique collection(African carvings) These people are all scams. The tell you that they will get the carvings sent to you on credit and you sell to an American or some one very far from your country, and you will all make good profit from the business, do not accept, they will get you spend huge sums of money on documents for the sales of the carvings. They are the same people selling the carvings and the same time the buyer who will propose you huge sum to buy the carvings, they crate fake online call numbers and use them to contact their victims, please do not fall victim for these cheap scams. At the end, you will end up with the carvings without a buyer, after you must have spent huge sums of money in the name to assist the poor African kings to get documents signed and sent to you, which are being demanded by the buyer, who is still them.
Douala, LT Cameroon 10/29/2013
Rome Fake Police Scam
Watch out for this old scam. I've read other almost identical accounts and once your fall for it they secretly grab notes out of your wallet.
Where: We were walking down Via del Circo Massimo towards the metro in Rome. Also heard of similar scams near Raganelli Hotel on Via Aurelia Street and near Lungotevere Tor di Nona.
Scam: you are approached by a man or a couple of men either on foot or in a car who claim to be police and may also flash a fake Polizia badge. They ask where you are from and ask for your passport. They then claim that they looking for people with forged notes/money. At that point they ask to see your money/wallet and go through it. They say it looks okay and give it back - this is when they take out a few notes (usually the largest) for themselves. They do seem to also be targeting Asian looking tourists - my guess is because these tourists more likely to follow ordered by a supposed 'authority' figure like a policeman.
It can be hard to say no because real police do ask for ID as well. In our case we took a chance on the basis of the plastic looking police badge and said no and walked away.
Sydney, NSW Australia 10/26/2013
There seems to be a scam going with a petition to stop drugs. We were approached in Venice in Florence and in Rome all asking us to sign a petition against drugs then asking for a donation. It sounds good up front but it all over the tourist spots in Italy.
walnut creek, Ca USA 10/24/2013
Naples I pad and I phone scam
I want to make people aware of the bate and switch scammer in Naples offering a iphone and ipad that he says he has to sell and make him an offer. He asks 300 euros but after paying 130 euros he puts the merchandise in a carrier and then into a plastic bag. The holder has a tooth crimped so you cannot open and before you know he is gone,Later after using scissors to open only to find two neatly cut tile and a cardboard wrapper inside.Beware of thieves and scoundrels,as they are clever
Midlothian, Va USA 10/23/2013
Barcelona flat tire theft
Oct 2013 2 minutes upon driving into Barcelona a motorcyclist told us we had a flat....as we changed the tire another motorcyclist came along to call a garage for us...we declined, and as we changed the tire he stole our backpack in the front seat...we would not return to Barcelona and feel it is not worth visiting a city where there is so much disregard for criminal activity. Three out of five tourists we spoke to had experienced thefts...several locals as well...Locals will not get gas without a "lookout" to ensure that they will not get the flat tire scam!
New York, USA 10/23/2013
Hotel Barberini In Rome Scam
BEWARE the HOTEL Barberini bait and switch scam.
They book you a room at the 4 Star nice hotel, then when you get there they want to move you to lesser accommodations and they do it in a very aggressive manner
My sister and I traveled to Portugal, Spain and France with a tour group scheduled through Catholic Journeys. When the group ended in France my sister and I flew on to Rome alone. I had read about different scams so to be safe I booked my transport and room through a travel agent in Louisiana.
We had a confirmed prepaid room booked at the hotel Barberini in Rome. When we arrived by car we were told we could not bring our bags inside as there was a problem. I explained we had reservations. Mr Luca G at the receptionist said, "You booked with Expedia," he then handed me a phone with a woman with a heavy Italian accent telling me she was my Expedia travel agent and my room was changed I was to go with the men.
I gave the phone back, explained my travel agent was male and from the U.S. I was then told I had no choice but I had to go, while Mr. Luca smirked containing his laughter at us.
Since I had read a story on this Rick Steves blog about a woman who had this bait and switch scam happen to her I felt sure I knew the scam. They did tell me it was for one night and I would be moved back the next day. If I remember the blog I read the woman was put in poor accommodations and was never moved back.
When asked the name of the hotel or location and number they wanted to take us to we were told "it does not matter, you have no choice."
I was treated horrible by Mr Luca. When I did get my travel agent on the phone he was told by Mr Luca G. the electricity was out so they could not provide us with a room, this is while there were obvious other guests coming and going.
The reason we had to move changed multiple time. Not feeling safe going to a undisclosed location with strangers, we contacted the agent who books for Catholic Journey Tours. Mr. Jimmy told us to stay put and he would find us accommodations which he did. When we got a taxi to take us to the new hotel the Barberini staff came out and sent the taxi away. We were now being detained by the hotel staff and our leaving was hindered. We finally got another taxi and made it to our new hotel, a nice little boutique hotel by the Steps.
Once at the new hotel we received a call from the Hotel Barberini and we told the clerk to tell Barberini we had nothing more to say to them. I am still not sure how they knew where we went, I am guessing they told the taxi driver to let them know.
Rome turned out to be very enjoyable after this initial terrorizing by Mr Luca G. and the hotel manager Mr Emanuele Ricci who did nothing but yell at me.
On return, my travel agent attempted to get my money back and the Hotel Barberini said no as well as the internet site he did book with which is hotels.com.
My credit card, Chase international, informed me I did the right thing by not going. They reversed the charges. He explained if I had gone with them no matter how bad or dangerous a place they put me in I would have no recourse, but since the Hotel Barberini did not provide me with the services they would need to validate why they should be paid.
My agent did find out that HOTELREWARDS.COM, which is a site for HOTELS.COM he booked with, is affiliated with Expedia. He told me Expedia has vestments in about 80% of the travel sites.
It was obvious from Mr Luca in Rome that if booking by Expedia they feel free to scam you.
Carencro, La USA 10/21/2013
Roma thieves in Paris on the trains
A warning for anybody planning to fly into Charles de Gaulle and taking the RER into central Paris. I have learned from the police, our hotel desk people, and the Canadian Embassy that thieves and Roma people are working these trains. In our case, they ruined our trip by grabbing my shoulder bag which was between me and the wall on my train seat. There were only 7 people in the car, 3 of whom were thieves. One dropped some coins on the floor beside you, you bend over to help him, he steals the bag, another thief distracts your wife as he asks for help so that she turns away and nobody sees the bag disappear. Gone were $1200 cash, passports, photocopies of important cards and ID, I-pad with loads of personal info, the GPS for the car, camera, hearing aid, etc. As seniors, we were so disturbed that once we had passports, we booked an expensive flight back to the security of home. A pity because I still love the city where I had studied as a young fellow. The police should have surveillance cameras in the cars and the public should be warned on the RER in a way similar to the continual warnings on the RATP in Paris. The thieves are pros. The presence of the Roma thieves is a scourge to the whole travel business in Europe.
Grey, Ontario Canada 10/20/2013
East European gangs on Westminster Bridge in London
Watch out in London on Westminster Bridge, just beside the Houses of Parliament. The bridge has been taken over by East European gangs. They're running the "3 cups and a pea" scam and also picking any pockets they can while people are watching the scam. The many police guarding the Houses of Parliament do nothing
Bournemouth, Dorset Britain 10/18/2013
Credit card fraud from Coastal Southern Europe Trip
We returned Labor Day Weekend from a Barcelona-Venice coastal cruise. We did not (this trip) encounter any scams in the several port cities on the itinerary. The purse I carry everywhere outside the house has a cross-body strap, and in Europe I also carry a small day pack over alternating shoulders, NOT on my back. One month after we got home there was a fraudulent $5.20 credit card charge appearing to be from a big online vendor I use 2-3 times a year. The card was a brand-new VISA, and the few charges for the very first statement were all made in Europe, mostly within my view, except one just before the trip at the Europe Ticketmaster website. When I got home and checked online for these known charges, I paid the first statement bill and then set up an email Alert for each new charge. So I was able to report the $5.20 fraud while it was still "pending" and to get a new account number the same day. The bank's security/fraud person said he recognized the methodology: a small, apparently legitimate charge to start with, easily overlooked. It took a calendar week for the new card to be delivered to me.
Sequim, WA USA 10/16/2013
Scams in Paris
My husband and I just returned from Paris and encountered the following scams:
1. The gold ring scam,once in front of the Arc d' Triumph and the second time on the Pont Nuef.
2. The "sign my petition scam" in the Tuilleries.
3. The "beautiful girl in trouble scam" in front of Notre Dame.
In the first two incidences we just ignored the scammers and in the case of the beautiful girl, I told her in French to "get the hell away from us". Thanks Rick Steves for alerting us about the scams that are alive and well in Europe.
San Diego, CA USA 10/14/2013
My money is not counterfeit
Hi. I walked into a shop/cafe in small city of Soissons, France. I asked for a lottery ticket and handed the middle aged lady 50 Euro note. She looked at it and started yelling "this is a counterfeit !" I said NO ! it is not ! She refused to give me back my 50 euros. I finally remember there was a bank next door, and I yelled " It came from the bank next door, now give it back!" She finally gave me back my 50 euros and I never went back to that cafe.
Asheville, NC USA 10/14/2013
metro in Paris
Switching hotels early this morning I entered into an empty metro tube section but 4 young guys at the end. I needed to go through the turnstile with 2 suitcases. They were observing me so I just stood and watched them as they pretended to be studying the schedule. Finally realized I wasn't going to try the ackward move while they were there so moved along after about a 2 minute standoff. Trust your instincts.
katie van hees
sun valley, idaho USA 10/12/2013
pickpocketed in naples
On Oct. 3 I was pickpocketed in the Naples train station. I had the pocket buttoned and my shirt pulled down over the pocket. It made no difference. When I realized what had happened (took about a minute) it was too late. In the hour that passed between the theft and the arrival at the hotel there had been over 6,000 dollars charged.
I recommend staying away from Naples altogether.
The people on the train looked at me like I had the plague. No one seemed to be alarmed or shocked.
I know you mention it all the time. I only blame myself, however Naples is out of our trip itineraries forever.
Luckily the hotel in Sorrento, the Plaza, was understanding and helpful. They saved our trip.
derwood, maryla USA 10/11/2013
Ditto to money belts
I usually travel alone, so I cannot rely on anyone else but me, myself, and I. I not only wear a money belt which contains my passport, credit card, and cash, but I wear a back-up "bra stash," which holds a spare credit card and copy of my passport. By the way, I also travel with a Louis Vuitton purse and Rolex, but I keep my eyes and hands on my bag at all times and I still feel secure knowing that my money, ID, and credit cards are in my bra stash and money belt in case of an emergency. I follow this philosophy: Money is like oxygen - you can't live without it (especially while traveling alone in a foreign country)!
Dallas, TX USA 10/10/2013
Palmed Ring in Paris
We were just walking across one of the main bridges across the Sienne today, when both my boyfriend and I noticed a semi straggly man walking toward us. Right in front of us, he bent down and picked up a large gold ring and tried to hand it to us to see if it was ours. We ignored him and continued walking but both agreed the ring had not been there before he was, so most likely he palmed it, hoping to make some sort of sale. Very interesting.
Rip-Offs in Montmartre
Rip offs in front of Saint Pierre de Montmartre: You can see a lot of Africans there with some threads in their hand. They try to corner you and ask you to show your hand. Then they start tying the threads on your hand saying it would bring fortune to you. If you resist they try to be aggressive. And at the end, they ask for money and you would finally end up losing a lot of Euros. Avoid those Africans or ask for help or be aggressive back at them. They work in groups and I am wondering why police do not take care of these issues in Paris.
Brussels, Belgium 10/08/2013
Gold Ring Scam
Gold Ring scam is active again in Lyon, France. Saw it twice this afternoon near the bridges over the Saone. Don't fall for it.
Redwood City, CA USA 10/08/2013
Flat tire scam in Barcelona WEAR YOUR MONEYBELT
I have begged my wife to use a money belt when traveling, but she insists on bringing along a Louis Vuitton purse and wearing a Rolex. I, of course, always wear a money belt with my passport, credit card, drivers license, etc. we fell victim to the classic flat tire scam. A guy on a scooter punctures your right rear tire, when you find a gas station to put on the spare, they distract you while looking at he flat, and the purse you foolishly leave on the back seat vanishes. Passport, debit and credit cards, iPhone 5, expensive progressive lens eyeglasses, all gone. Enjoy your next day at the American Consulate getting a replacement passport. Oh, and by the way, the thieves emptied out our checking account using her Visa Check Card. Fun. WEAR YOUR MONEYBELT.
Philadelphia, Pa USA 10/07/2013
I returned from Montmartre this afternoon thru the touristy streets and saw several three-card monte games going. It's done with flat black discs.
Napa, CA USA 10/05/2013
Rick Steves tips helped me!
I was on Europe last week. I read the Rick Steves warnings when you are in Europe. The first was with the pickpockets. I wore a moneybelt all the time, and kept my wallet on the front pocket. Second, the string scam on Sacre Coeur. A guy with a troubled expresion approached us trying to put on my wrist the bracelet. I just said "NO" and walked straight. The last one was on Prague. Several guys offer us to exchange money on the street. Obviously we refused. I would bring you a tip if you don´t have any other choice to get money, and the only available is using an ATM located on the street. Just have any useless card with a magnetic band with you. Put inside. When the display choices the options cancel the transaction. If the card back, then you would use that ATM, just cover the keyboard with your hand to avoid that somebody knows your pin.
Monterrey, NL México 10/03/2013
pickpocketing in Paris
I was pickpocketed in St. Chapel church in Paris while taking pictures, or could have been while going through electronic scanner. To report a crime in Paris it involves a long line and as the pickpocket only got 90 euro, plus 1 credit card, it was not worth my time. Paris needs an online reporting of petty crimes so they can get a correct count of their city's crimes. That is IF they want it. Seems their frequent warnings of "beware of pickpockets" justifies that it happens.
Utah USA 10/01/2013
Istanbul taxi driver scam - pregnant wife
We fell victim to a clever taxi driver. We took a cab from the taxi stand at Kadikoy tram station to our hotel in Gayrettepe. The taxi driver started the meter which put me at ease, and I had traveled a similar distance before so knew about what it should have cost. About halfway through the ride he received a phone call and announced that his wife was having a baby. He played it up - lots of detail, excitement, requests to pray for his wife, etc. As we approached the hotel, he received two more calls supposedly informing him that he needed to get to the hospital immediately. He pulled up across the street (not in front) of our hotel and I jumped out to get our bags out of the trunk so he would not have to park. While I was out of the car he charged my travel companion a fare about 8 times what it should have been. Because of the "urgency" we did not check the meter or contest the fare, and he was gone before we could compare notes. We have nobody to blame but ourselves for not checking the meter or stating the price up front. We know better but he was really convincing!
Seattle, WA USA 10/01/2013
RE: Rome Metro Ticket Machines - Use coins only
Max, One note about the ticket machines in Rome. If you are only buying one ticket, the machine only accepts 5 euros notes or coins. All other notes are rejected. I noticed that when I tried to use a 10E note. Fortunately for me, it just spit mine money back out. I noticed the display on the top left listed what currency was accepted for the purchase. I suspect if you made a larger purchase, one denominations would be available.
Ottawa, Canada 09/29/2013
Sacre Coeur Bracelet Scam
I was with my family at Sacre Coeur and was approached by a group of African men. They spoke perfect English but I was aware that they may try to rob me and so I tried to move away from them. Before I knew it one of them had tied a bracelet around my wrist which I could not get off. My sisters were caught as well. The men demanded 50 euros for the bracelets, we refused but had to give them 10 to stop them pursuing us.
Rome Metro Ticket Machines - Use coins only
Good one in Rome, I'd avoid feeding notes into the Metro ticket machines when there is a ticket machine engineer in the locality. Machine was fully operational but my 10 EUR note got pulled in and was "not recognised". Just so happens a ticket machine engineer was on site, opened the machine but funnily enough could not retrieve the note. Was told to call the hotline etc, which is not going to be very fruitful when you don't speak the language, they know you won't bother doing that. No doubt the note was retrieved not long after I had left the scene. Lucky it wasn't a EUR 50 note!
On a side note, near tourist spots don't just check the food prices on the menu, check the drinks too, got done for a £5 cup of orange juice like so many others.
London, UK 09/20/2013
Purse Stolen in Rome
While we did not encounter any problems during our recent trip to Rome, my sister who was coming to Rome to meet us from Venice had her purse stolen in the train station by a well dressed couple who were helping her with her luggage, then the man said there was something on her shoulder and as he went to wipe it off grabbed her purse and they were gone.
Camarillo, CA USA 09/18/2013
A Roman "trip" to avoid
Just finishing a 3-city business trip to London, Paris and Rome and felt very safe everywhere except for one incident in Rome. (For reference, I am female, in my mid-30s, and mostly traveled with at least one male business associate.) While walking near the Trevi fountain by myself on a Sunday afternoon, a teenage girl asked me for money. I shook my head and kept walking, but as I did, her companion (also a teenage girl) stuck her foot out right in front of me, as though trying to trip me. I believe it was a scheme to trip me, grab my bag and run. Luckily I noticed it, avoided the "trip" and moved away quickly while the two girls passed into the crowd.
Sammamish, WA USA 09/16/2013
With regard to Joan's post about hotel "safes," I recently watched a TV program on which it was demonstrated how an electronic hotel safe could be opened by giving the door a hard slap just below the lock. It was explained that the slap caused the lock motor to cycle and the locking bolts to withdraw. From now on when we leave the room our valuables go with us or better yet we leave them at home.
Lake City, FL USA 09/15/2013
train scam, taking luggage
Boarding the train from Florence to Rome, a man appeared to be a conductor sitting on the stairs. No other passengers were boarding yet. The man helped me with my luggage, then two girls appeared on the train and took our luggage and put it on the overhead rack, and demanded payment, although I said no, I can do it.
Chicago, Illino USA 09/12/2013
I have never felt that hotel safes of any kind were secure. Obviously, there has to be some way for the hotel to open the safe in case the guest has forgotten the combination. I know this goes contrary to everything most posters here beileve, but I think the safest place for passport and cash is with me in a secure money belt or neck pocket.
Gettysburg, PA USA 09/04/2013
Unsafe Hotel Safes
I am embarrassed to say that after living in Paris for two years and traveling in Europe for 35 years, I had my passport picked last October in the Paris metro.
While waiting at the U.S. Embassy to get my passport replaced, I was surprised to learn that about a dozen people were there because their passports (and other valuables) were stolen out of their hotel room safes including 6 from the same hotel. Apparently there is a master code that will unlock all the safes regardless of what code you create and these are obviously inside jobs by unscrupulous hotel employees. The lesson is the only real safe place to leave your passport and valuables is at the front desk to be put in their safe.
Milwaukee, WI USA 09/02/2013
Scam and theft at Seville auto rental lot
Put our suitcases and backpack in trunk of our rental car in rental lot at Seville, Spain train station and then closed the trunk. While inspecting vehicle to note prior damage before driving off, a well dressed middle age man approached our vehicle and pointed to some minor scratches on front fender to make note of. He was very insistent. While he distracted us for one minute his accomplice crept up behind the car, popped trunk and stole my backpack. Noticed pack was gone pretty quickly as one tire was severely gouged and we had to tranfer luggage to different car few minutes later. Beware of this scam. Police at train station would not even take police report.
Fort Collins, Co USA 08/30/2013
copenhagen main station
Copenhagen main station - be on your guard! Pickpockets, thieves and drug misuses fit the bill here.
new york, new yo USA 08/26/2013
Was in Venice two days ago in San Marco. I witnessed on one of the bridges two Asian women trying to take a picture of each other. While they were preoccupied, an old woman pushed her way through next to one of them, acting like she was taking pictures. As this happened, a little girl tried to unzip one of the Asian girls purses. Luckily she noticed and slapped the little girls hand away, with nothing stolen. They tried to stop the old woman, but she just ran off saying the child wasn't hers, losing them in the crowd.
Cincinnati, OH USA 08/26/2013
Mustard scam in Barcelona,2013
Just returned from 3 week trip in Barcelona and France. My husband and I have travelled a total of more than six months over many years, in Italy, France, Holland,Budapest, England, Ireland, Scotland and never had a things stolen or a danger to ourselves. Two weeks ago the mustard/bird poop scam left me walletless and quite violated feeling, though grateful to be unhurt. Unbelievable as it seems, we've never sought out scam alerts, and now regret our cavalier attitude. I will never travel without a money-belt again.
R. S. P.
Brooklyn, N. Y. USA 08/24/2013
ATM card skimmers in Florence
Beware of the ATM machines at the BNL Bank on Via Dei Carretani near the Piazza Del Duomo in Florence. Someone has placed skimmers in the machines that are able to copy your card number and PIN. They wait for a month after the transaction and then clean out your account. They cleaned mine to the tune of $5000. The withdrawls come from Berlin.
Irvine, CA USA 08/22/2013
Athens Airport taxi scam??
Von Michelle at the Athens Airport: Taxi rates are fixed for trips between central Athens and the Airport and there are huge fines or loss of license for any Driver not adhering to these rates. The rates are exactly as follows and does not vary: Day time (between 05:00 and 23:59) is 35 euros flat fee, no extras and tipping is optional. Night time rates (Between the hours of 00:00 and 04:59) the flat fee is 50 euros with no extras and tipping is optional. There is no 30 euro charge unless you are staying well north east of Athens, closer to the airport. The flat fees are clearly listed at the taxi stand at the airport as well as in the taxis themselves. The only way the rate would be close to 50 euros in day time hours is if your hotel or destination was not in the city center. Still feel scammed?
Athens, Greece 08/20/2013
Azade Hotel Istanbul
I stayed at the Azade prior to the start of my 13-day Turkey tour. Nice hotel but beware of what you get charged. I was overcharged (for both transportation for the airport and minibar) and even though the owners hinted that they made an error they repeatedly have refused my request for a refund. Keep careful track of what you owe them and check your bill (even though it will be in Turkish) before you pay. Pay by credit card, not cash even they may request payment in cash. Better yet, stay somewhere else where the owners are honest and have some modicum of integreity and customer service.
Lynnwood, WA USA 08/15/2013
The key is to read Rick's books and read this blog. We just got back from three weeks in Italy, Amsterdam, and France, our fourth trip in five years, and we have never had a problem. But we don't leave much opportunity for the scammers. We are careful, stick together, and hang onto our stuff. Money belts, zip ties, never carry too much cash. Unfortunately, most who are reading here don't need this advice, and most of the people who need the advice won't read here. Be safe, DO TRAVEL, and have fun.
Sandy, OR USA 08/13/2013
RE: Moneybelts and scams
I have lived in the San Francisco area for over 30 years, taking public transportation often and have never been pickpocketed. However, I also look like a native, not a tourist. When I am in Europe, it is hard not to look like a tourist (speaking English, having maps and guidebooks, being Asian), and that is who pickpockets target. I wear a moneybelt and take all the precautions overseas because it is much more of a hassle to lose your ID, credit cards, etc., overseas than at home, where it is easier to get replacements. By the way, in our two visits to Paris, while riding the Metro, my wife had her watch stolen, my son had money stolen from his wallet, and a Metro map was taken from my backpocket (they probably thought it was money). In my opinion, being a tourist puts you in at a different vulnerability than being a native, so different precautions are needed. I don't wear a moneybelt at home.
CA USA 08/12/2013
Scam of Scams and Money Belt
I concur with Barbara, my wife and I have been to Europe many times and have loved the adventures that we have had. The reason: we have been aware of our surroundings and the scams that occur. We've seen many of those listed here. We do our due diligence and have been fortunate. We have other relatives that have had their purses picked multiple times and others who have been mugged because they have not.
Jacksonville, FL USA 08/11/2013
I disagree wholeheartedly with Sarah about not needing to worry about a money belt. The best thing about using a money belt is the LACK of worry. My hands are free, I don't have to be concerned about close quarters as much, and I am much more relaxed. Don't get me wrong, I am still very aware of my surroundings, but less stressed about my important belongings.
Woodbrige, CA USA 08/10/2013
Stockholm Airport Taxis
In Sweden there is no set fare for the taxis. They can charge whatever the market lets them as long as it is prominently displayed on the outside of the taxi. A normal taxi fare going from Arlanda Airport in to the center of Stockholm is 350 to 500 kronor. Some enterprising taxi owners display 2900 kronor for this particular ride and the unsuspecting tourist not knowing the currency just hops in. They are then legally required to pay the fare when they get to town. At the airport taxi line you can check the fares and take whichever taxi you please. Not just the first in line. Beware!
Seattle, WA USA 08/09/2013
Scam of scams
I think the real scam is instilling unwarranted fear into travelers and then recommending they buy neck wallets/money belts/travel vests sold through this site. Europe is not full of thieves waiting to take advantage of tourists. I have lived in Europe for years as an expat, never owned a money belt, neck wallet or travel vest and never been scammed or pickpocketed.
Montpellier, USA 08/08/2013
Taxi set up for pickpocket
Paris, 16 June 2013 11 PM I took a taxi to my hotel/ While in the taxi the driver was talking rapidly in French on his cell phone which I did not understand. I asked him to hang up the phone for safety reasons, never dreaming that he was setting me up. About 1 block from the hotel he offered to let me out and pay him only 5 euro ( far below the metered rate) Why? I asked...just to help you he said and being a lovely evening, I thought the one block walk would be enjoyable and so I exited the taxi. In that one block walk, I was unknowingly pick-pocketed - Arriving at my hotel I realized my passport case with $$ US and Euros, credit card and my passport was gone. Then a man appeared in the hotel lobby offering to help me with my loss. He seemed too good to be true and he was. He scammed me out of more money as he was "helping me to recover from my lost credit card and passport. I believe the night clerk at the hotel was also in on this. This was my 5th time in Paris and the first time I have encountered any type of problem...when I filed a police report as directed by the US embassy the police I dealt with were like the keystone cops. Glad to be here..I wasn't assaulted but don't get out of a taxi short of your destination. Be forewarned
Chicago, IL USA 08/07/2013
Taxi Scam in Athens Airport
Upon arrival in Athens my husband and I took a taxi from the taxi stand to our hotel in Athens and was charged 50 euros. The driver was incredibly polite and informative I gave him a 20 euro tip. As we checked into the hotel I discovered that the trip should of only cost 30 at the most. I now double check rates prior to getting into any cab.
Von Michelle Popescu
Vancouver, WA USA 08/04/2013
My husband was in Paris in June, travelling alone on business. As soon as he stepped off of the Roissy bus at the Opera stop, an elderly lady tried to pull the ring scam on him, she even dropped the ring in his shirt pocket, he took it out handed it back to her and said, NO, take it back and leave me alone. Then when he was in Montmartre, a man ran up to him and started doing something he couldn't see, he went from side to side to get passed him but the man went side to side to, then held up a silhouette cut out of him and said 20 Euros please. He told the guy no, he wasn't paying 20 but would give him 5. They agreed on that. After six trips we've never had anything happen although I missed the trip this year, can't believe he ran into two scams! And both on the first day!
Austin, TX USA 08/03/2013
Pickpockets in Paris
My husband and I just returned from a week in Paris. We were warned of the "gold ring" scam and saw 3 gypsy women in action trying to use the scam in Paris. One older man tried it on us near the park and trees near the Eiffel Tower. We had just arrived in Paris a few hours before and were exhausted but were so glad we were aware of the scam. We saw another lady near the Orsay trying the ring drop on tourists...another was walking by the river on a main street. The woman by the Orsay was pathetic...she made her ring drop right in front of my husband...he saw her set the whole thing up. He yelled at her, called her a thief and told her he knew what she was doing and saw the entire set-up. She got angry, stuck her tongue out at us and moved on. It felt good to say our peace with her!
Knoxville, TN USA 07/29/2013
British ATM "scam"
Re Raphaels Bank. HSBC also had this on their ATMs. In both cases, the language used is such to lead you to press for accepting this, it's not clearly worded and in small print. You must be careful. Accepting this convenience means that this bank and ATM are acting like a Travel Bureau. Declining it means the transaction is processes solely by the network (Cirrus, Plus, etc) that your card is with, at their normal, at the network trates. Oh, and BTW, they actually do not even tell you the real rate they are charging, it is well more than the quoted percentage over the real exchange rate.
L and M Plotkin
Elkins OPark, PA USA 07/26/2013
What I find effective in keeping unwanted hands out of packs and purses is to NOT PUT ANYTHING OF VALUE in my pockets...
Dynamic Currency Conversion
Be careful using the ubiquitous "free" ATM's from Raphael's Bank in London. I was surprised when they offered to convert my request to dollars at something like ten cents above the bank conversion rate. I had to look closely for a button at the bottom which said "Proceed without converting". By pressing that button, I got an excellent rate from my bank and was happy to use these ATM's several times. Also when making a purchase at a well known sports store in Oxford Circus, the clerk very slickly and casually asked, "Pounds or dollars?" It would have been easy to say "dollars" had I not been made aware of DCC in the RC guides.
Clarkston, WA USA 07/24/2013
What I find effective in keeping unwanted hands out of packs and purses is to use split key rings to secure the zippers. Unlike plastic zip ties, they cannot be cut and they can be reused.
Tucson, AZ USA 07/22/2013
Metro station helpers at EuroStar station are scammers.
Metro station helpers at EuroStar station are scammers. We took the EuroStar from London UK to Paris France. We arrived late around 8:50pm. two nice dressed guys with a employee ID told us the Metro machines are on the other side of the station. They led us there and helped us to went through the machines to buy 5 5-days passes in Paris. When we were about to pay with my credit card, he said our card will not work in this machine. He offered to use his credit card to pay for the passes. When he entered his pin, he asked us not to look at him. Then he gave use 5 tickets, and I paid him cash 168 Euro. The next day when we used our tickets, and the metro counter told us that the tickets are all one-way tickets for children. We have to buy the passes again. Just don't trust anyone even if they appeared to be nice guys with employee IDs. We were in a rush and fell into their trap. Well, Paris is a nice city to visit.
Houston, Texas USA 07/18/2013
Florence Bus System
If you are in Florence and you use the public bus system, please be aware that you must validate your ticket properly. My wife and I were on the #35 bus and the ticket monitors wanted to fine me 50 euros for not validating the bus ticket properly. We had validated it, just not correctly according to them. The next day we saw the same thing happen to another tourist. It seems tourists are being targeted. By the way, there was little posted information on the bus about correct validations.
Greg De Cuir
Sterling, VA USA 07/14/2013
Something wrong with your car scam
Just heard about a scam here in Barcelona, Spain. A family of 5 had their passports, computers, and ipads stolen from their car. Here is how it happened. The father was driving alone in a car with foreign plates. At a stoplight, two men approached the car and told him there was something wrong with it. He got out to talk to the two men. At the same time, another man opened the passenger car door and took the backpack in the front passenger area. It was done so quietly and smoothly, that the father didn't even know what had happened until someone let him know his backpack had been taken. Beware of this one. We were at the consulate getting a new passport for an unrelated issue and there were 7 people in there getting emergency passports because their's had been stolen.
San Francisco and Changsha, China, CA USA 07/12/2013
My husband and I were walking in Barcelona when a biker tried to tell us that he accidentally spit on my jacket. He looked apologetic and told me to let him wipe it off me. I put my backpack down to take a kleenex out to wipe the substance off. He grabbed my backpack and sped away. There was another biker that circled around so my husband was watching him. We filed the police report the next morning and there was a long line at the police station. Lucky for us, we just bought our tablets right before the trip so American Express helped us with the insurance. However, all the pictures and data in our tablets were gone.
Diamond Bar, ca USA 07/11/2013
If anyone tries to sell you a gelato cone for 15 euro, just simply say "No Grazie" and walk out. If anyone actually PAYS 15 euro for a gelato and writes about..oh brother. Tourists.
Athens, Greece 07/09/2013
Show your coins first, then hand them over!
When in Rome, my husband bought a bottle of water for 1 Euro from a stand near the Circus Maximus area. The guy behind the counter called my husband back saying he gave him a Turkish coin instead of a Euro. Didn't happen. Make sure you show your coins before handing them over. We didn't even get the Turkish coin back!
Woodbridge, CA USA 07/09/2013
Some things to watch out for
At first I was very worried about being scammed in Europe because it was just me and my mom and spent months reading up on the latest scams and what to watch out for. I even went as far as buying a special backpack that would prevent someone from stealing my digital information. I ended up returning the backpack before my trip at the suggestion of a friend.
We did encounter a few incidents, but nothing as bad as some of the stuff that I read about. I'm half Asian and half black, my mom is full Asian. Because she was always trailing behind me taking in the sites, a lot of people assumed that she was alone and would overlook me and go straight for her. I did also notice that they were a lot more aggressive with her when trying to get money or asking her to sign a petition. While we were walking to a river cruise in Paris, I passed two women and a teenage boy with clipboards and knew it was the petition scam. I was surprised that I wasn't approached but a few seconds later my mom called out to me and when I turned around, I saw they had surrounded her so she couldn't pass by and asking her for money. A firm no or just straight walking away from them usually did the trick to get them to leave you alone.
Another thing that I would advise is always make sure you count your change, we traveled to four different countries and in three of those countries (France, Switzerland & Italy) I encountered a lot of people who 'accidentally' gave me the wrong amount of change. The taxi drivers would also either give me the wrong amount of change, or add on 1-2 euros from the meter price.
In Milan while we were on the platform waiting to transfer trains. I climbed up on the train with my luggage first and as soon as I turned around a girl ran up to my mom grabbed her luggage and was lugging it on the train. Thankfully I had read about this in Rick Steve's book so I knew what was going on and how to handle it. We kept telling her to put the luggage down, to which she ignored us so we showed her where our seat was and asked her to leave. Again she ignored me and even went around me to ask my mom for money. I put myself between her and my mom and very firmly and slowly said 'no'; finally she gave up and left us alone.
Los Angeles, CA USA 07/09/2013
Ring Scam Eiffel Tower
Ring scam is alive and well near Eiffel Tower. Pedestrian bridge several bridges away from ET. Very short woman with kindergarten aged boy. Boy runs towards "grandma" further ahead to add more confusion.
Grand Rapids, MI USA 07/08/2013
Pick pockets in Paris across from Notre Dame and in the Train Station
Beware of a group of about five women with clipboards trying to get you to sign their petition. They distract you and the others in your family (or group) by placing the clipboard in your view in order to steal your cell phone (or whatever). Although I was aware that they were scammers, after also being approached by them at the train station, I still fell victim to their ploy at the river across from Notre Dame, as they were so quick.
Cary, IL USA 07/07/2013
Beware of the bird dropping scam at Trastaveri train station in Rome. On our first day in Rome, were on our way to Civitavecchia port on a Sunday and were almost immediately singled out for two scams. My friend was carrying her luggage down the flights of stairs at the station when a friendly older Italian guy came over to assist in carrying her luggage. He managed to unzip her bag and steal items. Then on the train platform, his partner approached my friend and sprayed her and my daughter with what looked like bird droppings and offered us tissues to clean off. We said no thanks but he continued to hang around and point out more droppings on luggage, pants, clothes. He managed to distract us when at some point my daughter set her purse down to remove her sweater that had been sprayed with this stuff. He picked it up, stole her camera, iPod and some cash, dropped her bag and ran off across the train tracks for the exit. Other Italian travelers at the train station saw what was happening but no one said a word of warning to us although I'm sure they knew what was happening as they went into small huddles. You are definitely on your own, no train station staff, no police around. After being robbed, my friend said she noticed the guy who "helped" her with her bag was standing away off and realized the two were together. Keep your bags close to you don't talk to strangers, use locks on your bags.
Sacramento, Ca USA 07/07/2013
Be very careful on the Seine river cruise at night in Paris. Tonight a group of five pickpockets were running a seriously slick operation. They tried to get us, without luck. Then they were rifling through a wallet right there next to the line to get on the boat! No shame. They had a nice (stolen?) Canon SLR camera and tickets and everything. They boarded the boat and had the kids pose for pictures and everything. Sucks to be their victims...I warned the boat operator. They at least pretended to care. Be vigilant at night, even on those boats!
West Lafayette, IN USA 07/06/2013
Thieves working rental lot in Saville rail station
Yesterday (July 4th), my wife and I were picking up a rental car at the lot adjacent to the Seville train station on our way to Arcos, after spending a few days in the city. The lot services Economy, Enterprise, Hertz, etc.
We were shown to our car by a company representative. We put our main luggage in the hatchback under cover, but placed my backpack on the rear right seat, so we'd have easy access to maps etc. Within a minute or so of the rep leaving an official looking, smartly-dressed man in his thirties tapped on my driver's side window and wanted to go through the security procedure for leaving the lot. I assumed he was an employee of the lot. Then, my wife,out of the corner of her eye saw that another man had opened the right rear door and was rummaging through my backpack. She screamed at him, and the closed the door, and walked off.
I jumped out of the car, and the "company employee" followed me. I shouted at the other man, who continued to walk to the exit. The "company employee" said he'd call the police and started punching numbers into his cell phone. I walked after the thief ( fortunately he'd not taking anything), then I looked at for the "company employee" and he'd disappeared too - they were clearly working together.
I returned to the car rental company office and told them they had thieves working their lot. The rep who'd served us said he'd never heard of that happening before (hum!). Only the lady manager took the matter seriously, came with us to the car, said she'd call security and check the CCTV tapes.
Although, they got away with nothing - be aware that this rental lot is clearly being worked by clever, and convincing thieves.
Pleasanton, CA USA 07/05/2013
vacation in Rome
I was charged 64 euros for 10 minutes local telephone call at the hotel twenty one in Rome.
Toronto, on Canada 07/04/2013
Bar Ristorante Gelateria - Post Review
If you're the victim of a scam from a hotel or restaurant then by all means help prevent others from falling prey. Post reviews about the specific businesses.
Try to check out how much your taxi ride will cost before hand and get taxis from a taxi rank. We arrived in Paris on the Eurostar and even before we had reached the taxi stand a man had approached us offering a taxi ride for 50 euro. It was way too much than what we had estimated. A taxi from the train taxi stand was far closer to what we had estimated.
Auck NZ 07/02/2013
Gelato "Special" Scam
We were near the Spanish Steps and dying for gelato. Walked into Bar Ristorante and ordered our 2 kids each a small gelato on a waffle cone. The guy said, "I make it special for you." It came out with a small scoop on a waffle cone with some sprinkles, a few waffle ribbon strips and a small piece of sliced fruit. We then went to the counter to pay and they were 15 EURO EACH! Yes we paid 30 EURO for 2 gelatos. The kids had already started in on them and the guy making them was now laughing at us. I looked at the menu hidden away on a small table in the corner and it stated 15 euro for a "special". We had been had. We paid and left. After that we always asked "how much?" and it was always 2-3 euros. Lesson learned.
Petaluma, CA USA 07/01/2013
Hotel scam in Venice, Italy
We booked and paid for our Venice hotel through our travel agent. When we arrived at the hotel, the front desk staff said our room had "a leak" that could not be repaired for days, and all the other rooms at that hotel were booked. They offered us a "similar accommodation" for "no extra charge." The "similar accommodation" was 20 blocks away on foot - a stifling, dingy attic room, six flights up, no windows, no AC, no elevator. We could either accept this shabby room or be left to wander the streets and find another hotel. When I said we simply could not accept this room, we were walked across town to another bohemian dive, only one flight up. We were later told this is a common scam. The hotel already had our money. They simply gave our room to someone else, who also paid for it, so they were paid twice for the same room. The hotel only pays a pittance to the landlord of the decrepit room, (since they are in cahoots) and both hotel and slumlord make money on the deal. Our travel agent was eventually able to remove the hotel charges from our credit card, but it took 3 months and persistence on her part.
Nutley, NJ USA 06/24/2013
I use a RS moneybelt for most of my cash, credit card, debit card, drivers license and passport. I keep my wallet in my side pocket with a fairly large safety pin inside across the opening. No way to get in there without me being aware although its been tried. I have grabed a few hands trying. I do keep an old, old wallet in my back pocket with Monopoly and smily face money in it. Sure wish I could see their faces when they look inside.
Phoenix, AZ USA 06/23/2013
Seville car rental scam
We put bags in our rented car's trunk and closed latch. While walking around car to inspect for damage, a 40-year-old well-dressed male approached us to point out some minor scratches to note. During that minute or so conversation his accomplice popped the car trunk and stole my back pack! Watch out for this scam.
Fort Collins, CO USA 06/21/2013
Paris Train Ticket Scam
At Paris train stations, there are strangers offering single journey tickets at 'discounted rates'. The tickets they offer are basically used tickets and buying and using them may get you in trouble. Also, there are 'helpful and friendly' people near the ticket machine (kiosks) where they will help you choose ticket menus etc and pull out tickets from their own pockets which are as mentioned above used tickets.
Mumbai, India 06/20/2013
Witnessed pickpocketting by the Coliseum / got into a shoving match
Last March, I witnessed a pickpocket at work right in front of me by the bus stop area near the Coliseum. We were walking in a large crowd of people who were all headed toward the buses. The people in this crowd were speaking many different languages, and it was clear that these were all foreign tourists. A woman wearing loose, cotton, capri-style pants was walking in front of me and a thin camera strap was dangling out of her pocket (I didn't notice this until the pickpocket made his move). A man wearing sunglasses and carrying a camera of his own seemed to suddenly appear next to her, traveling in the same direction. He walked alongside her for a while, looking like he could be her husband. Then he reached down for her camera strap and slowly and fluidly pulled up on the strap until the camera was free. Then he slowly began to walk away, without saying anything to her. This was not her husband! I was still within arm's reach of him and I shoved him and yelled "Hey!! Is that yours?!!" or something like that. We got into small a shoving match as I looked around for anyone who looked like a police officer or even just a concerned citizen. There was no one. The crowd just pushed forward and we were all speaking different languages. He gave me a smirk and then disappeared into the crowd.
Unfortunately, it was a perfect opportunity for a pickpocket. 1) There was a moving crowd, where people would likely be distracted. 2) Those of us in the crowd were all speaking different languages and would probably have difficulty communicating with each other. 3) Loose cotton pants are NOT a good place to put a camera or any item that could get stolen. 4) I did not see any police in the area.
Philadelphia, PA USA 06/19/2013
Video of Pickpocketing in Rome
We recently went on a trip to Italy and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks to all the tips on pickpockets, we were extra watchful. There was attempted pickpocketing TWICE in two days of our stay at Rome. Both times it was while we were getting into the Metro. In fact, I have a video of the same. Check it out. I see that some of you have described the same thing, so must be extremely common. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUx9EFgLPvg
Pune, MH India 06/06/2013
Rick Steves Paris Guide stolen!
On our way back to Paris from Versailles via RER a pickpocket put his hand on my husband's pocket as my husband climbed up the stairs to the second level of the train. Fortunately, my very savvy husband put his own hand in his pocket at the same time and felt the stranger's hand. The well-dressed thief then caused a great commotion all the while screaming at my husband. My husband did not say a thing, just kept his hand in his pocket. The thief got off the waiting train. Fortunately, the wallet remained in my husband' hand. Unfortunately, it was the same pocket in which my husband also kept Rick Steve's Paris Guide....which the thief walked off with. I think the fact the guide was in his pocket saved the day...and the wallet.
Falmouth, MA USA 06/03/2013
We were just in Rome may 2013. We witnessed a group of Gypsies target older Asian couples (2). They used several methods of distraction. One Roman soldier (at least a mile away from the Colosseum where you find most costumed soldiers) two musicians, one painter/artist, seven women. The women distract with showing a map while surrounding their victims. They were brazen and undaunted by so many witnesses. The victims were not just pick pocketed, they were roughed up a bit and nearly mugged.
Pico Rivera, CA USA 05/31/2013
"Helpers" at Termini
The "helpers" are active at the Termini train station in Rome. We were waiting for the Leonardo Express back to the airport and a nicely dressed, very polite man walked up to us and told us we were waiting by the wrong track. We appreciated his help, but then he grabbed one of our bags and started to "help" us walk to the next track and load our luggage onto the train. We knew right away what he was doing, and we told him several times we didn't want/need any help. Once he got our bag on the train he turned to my husband with his hand out for money. Hubby doesn't carry any, I manage our cash. The guy then turned to me. I gave him 1E, and he was pissed off. Started talking loudly in Italian for more money. Only problem was...we were leaving the country and we planned well to not have extra Euro...so he was out of luck. Once he got just 1E from us, he got off the train for his next "mark"...he kept at this until the train left the station. If you NEED the help, it's worth it to give someone 1E or so, but if you don't, they won't listen and STOP "helping"
Centennial, CO USA 05/27/2013
Theft from Hotel Lobby
We stayed at Mercure, Bourget at paris with my family as part of Thomas Cook group tour for 2 nights on 30th April 2013. We have terrible experience on 2nd May 2013 early morning during checkout, as our two day pack was stolen away from the Hotel Lobby at 6.35 in the morning. I was totally surprised, how two black men can enter the Hotel lobby early in the morning, which is around 100 meters away from the main gate and run away with the bags. The lone reception staff was not at all co-operative and left us alone to do the police complaint. The nearest police station was also not ready to register our complain in English and very rudely told us to speak French or go away. On my enquiry, the hotel staff told me that main gate, which is always locked, started malfunctioning at 6.30 in the morning just 5 minutes before the incident. I am suspecting strong insider connection in the entire incident. We lost good memories of our trip as our Samsung tablet; Sony Handy cam and other valuable stuff were also gone with the bag
Mumbai, INDIA 05/22/2013
We were in Paris for three days beginning April 23, 2013, before travelling to the South of France. On the first day we were approached by someone who seemingly had just picked up a gold wedding band style ring from the ground. Having been to Europe many times (always using a Rick Steves guidebook,) we immediately recognized it as a scam and walked away. Later that day in another Paris location the same thing was repeated by another scam artist. Don't fall for it.
Trudy Timm Lund
Rockford, IL USA 05/20/2013
Airport Wireless Services
Fellow travelers beware; as we move through airports and use various wireless services, many free, use caution with BOINGO. They have tapped me for a few months before I caught the charge as I was teaching. I would advise against using them at all as I am one of those who read the fine print and they still managed to get me. One day on my way home to Ireland in NOVEMBER and here it is May and I am cleaning it up, still. Slainte!
Winter Garden, FL USA 05/17/2013
Bird droppings scam(?)
I would like to share this experience we had last Sunday (May 12, 2013). While walking along the Seine river towards the Eiffel tower ( passing through the trees), we thought that we had bird droppings hit us (more on my wife) and we were just approached by a friendly and eager to help couple (Hispanic/ gypsy looking(?) who sounded like they were tourist also because of their accent but no cameras or maps or any touristy things...) who wanted to help us clean up the mess and wipe off the droppings. Fortunately my wife always carry tissues and wet ones with her so I just thanked them even if they were insisting and were even starting to wipe off the bird droppings (and even trying to lead us to a nearby toilet). I thanked them insistently until they just left but while my wife and I took turns wiping ourselves, I noticed that they are still sitting a few benches from where we are and observing us instead of just going and continuing on with their sight seeing and when they saw me looking at them they just stood up and left. Then another guy approached us to help also and pointed to some more bird droppings that we didn't see, again I thanked him and told him we're ok. We didn't think of anything wrong with this until we got back to our hotel. We observed the pattern of the bird droppings and it didn't really look like it came from above and more like it was sprayed from behind (top to bottom pattern) and it was really a lot, more like coming from a very big bird and not pigeon poop. It's color is like darker guacamole but not pasty. We just thought that maybe it's their way of getting near us since they know we're tourists and since we're pretty preoccupied with cleaning ourselves that they tried to pickpocket us. We just felt that there was really something wrong with that incident and we'd like to share it with you. If it's just a case of bird droppings then it's nice to now there are still individuals trying to lend a hand but if it's a scam to take advantage of another individual then it's just nice to be warned and learn from this incident.
Bolingbrook, IL USA 05/15/2013
Ring con in Paris
While in Paris last summer, the ring trick was tried on us a couple of times...the second time, when the guy stood up, we just started applauding..it was so much fun to do that!
Woodland Hills, Ca USA 05/08/2013
Our trip to Paris has been wonderful, and we have been staying in a charming flat in the 6th arrondissement . Today we went to do the Sacre Coeur walk and took the Metro to get to the area. As we got to the platform in Pigalle to make the transfer to the #2 line, something did not feel right. I looked around and noticed two people who seemed to be paying unusual attention to us. As my attention became more heightened, a new, older woman with clearly dyed blonde hair, approached me and said we needed to beware of picpockets. I felt sure that she was a part of this and took a step away from her. At the same time, I warned my companions that we were being marked and to beware of pickpockets. As I was doing this, my daughter had to keep the old woman away from my backpack and warned her off. the Metro came and we began to board an extremely crowded train. My wife noticed our friend's cell protruding from his back pocket and warned him to put it elsewhere. We are just boarding the train, and an old woman, a different old woman, came between my wife and our friend. At the same time, a poorly dressed young woman ran into our friend and thrust both hands into his pockets. He yelled at her to, "Get your hands out of my pockets". At the same time, both my wife and daughter were watching this. My wife grabbed the woman by the hair and told her to "Get away from us!". My daughter continued to berate the pickpocket and pushed her through the closing train doors. The old woman who had come between was crying and a number of people around us wanted to know what the problem was. My wife called out, "pickpocket", and I was surprised at the lack of reaction from the surrounding crowd. Indeed, there was an odd feeling of almost "Je ne sais quoi", but I think it was because a number of people around us, including the old crying woman, were in on the scam. As we were getting ourselves together to get off at our stop, the other old woman, who had first warned me, applauded me from down the train. I felt sure that she had been the leader of this crew, a large crew, who nearly filled this train car and also nearly took our money and cards. We were greatly helped by reading Rick's warnings the night before this journey. I would further warn your readers not to board an overly crowded train. Go further down the platform to avoid the crowded cars or wait for the next train that may be less crowded. In fact we know they target certain cars on certain trains because we saw the same crew on our return trip. We were in the Anvers station
Watsonville, CA USA 05/07/2013
Jeans are international.
People wear jeans all over the world, it's not just an American fashion statement.
Athens, Greece 05/04/2013
When last I was in Paris, I was approached several times by gypsies. Instead of saying "No", say "Nein". If they think you are German, they tend to leave you alone.
Newbury Park, CA USA 05/04/2013
Jeans on Paris metro
In regard to the stupidity of wearing jeans in Paris...lots of people wear jeans all over the world. My husband has had his pocket picked exactly once--wearing cargo pants...couldn't feel the razor blade because the pants are looser than jeans. Luck comes both ways. C'est la vie!
San Diego, Califo USA 05/01/2013
Berlin scam, 28/04/2013
I saw some one playing with 3 small boxes on a peace of carpet. People surrounding him (his complices) would guess under which box there was a small ball. He was playing so clumsily that viewers could easily guess which box includes the ball. However standers-by were alternatively winner or looser. I didn't notice that it was a play (scam) to allure me in the trap. When the victim comes into play, they are always the winner by special tricks and they rip you off as they ripped me $300. Afterwards I realized that they are a gang of at least 15 persons. Some of them guard at surrounding area and if they feel police coming they alarm each other. Subsequent day I took them in a camera footage but I didn't see a policeman to share it with him and ask why they can not use an undercover agent to save the town from this smear.
Berlin, Berlin Germany 04/29/2013
ticket scam paris
Upon arrival. in. Paris. a. kindly ma.n assisted my husband. to. purchase tickets.. My husband. thought he paid for two five day passes. for €66 but was given. two. single tickets. Always double check information , don't rely on. strangers who overwhelm you. with. friendly chat and. concern..
The Rock, nsw australia 04/27/2013
Watch the Closing Doors...
I've seen grab-n-go thefts on trams in France and Italy. When thieves know that you're not going to see it coming, they can get pretty bold.
Your stop might be two or three stops away, so you're busy texting your friends, or checking your map. But the kid who's watching you is going to time his grab and bolt out the closing door at the very next stop. ...Especially if he's sure you're not getting off there.
...and yes, they WILL grab phones/wallets/etc... right out of your hand.
San Francisco, CA USA 04/25/2013
Paris metro pickpocket catches inexperienced traveler
While in Rome we met a retired American couple who had just come from Paris. As he was going through the turnstile for the metro he was pushed from behind. He then realized the kid had picked his wallet from his back pocket and tossed it to his accomplice heading the other direction. He caught the kid without the wallet and waited for police. Unfortunately, all this resulted in him wasting his vacation in a police office until 1am in the morning.
He lost his driver's license and couldn't rent the car in Rome. He lost his money, his credit cards and military ID. Their daughter was wiring them money. They also told a story about someone in Paris telling them to watch their luggage as they were being "cased" by two girls.
We offered to help but they had the situation under control at that point. I felt like smacking the guy and telling him, you are wearing jeans and white tennis shoes, you two stand out like naïve American tourists. Then you have everything in your wallet which you put in your back pocket!? Come on!!
I realize that the people on this website are experienced travelers, keep important documents in money belts, keep their money and cards secure, wear things like Travelsmith pants with hidden zipper pockets (like I do) and go on our European trips repeatedly without issues. Our big challenge and mission should be to get this message out to people who are not on this website!
Chandler, AZ USA 04/24/2013
Gold Ring Scam in Paris
My husband and I spent a week in Paris in April this year (2013). We were approached by a middle-aged woman outside the Orsay Museum on the bank of the Seine. She picked up a ring off the ground and asked in French if it was ours. When we said no, she offered it to us for good luck. After we declined a few more times, she stopped smiling, turned to her partner several feet away, shook her head, and they walked off together. The next day, outside the Eiffel Tower, an older woman rushed up to us holding out a gold ring, but we were walking briskly and she couldn't keep up. She shouted in French, "Please! Please! Please!" Holding the ring as she chased after us. We weren't sure what the scam was until we got back home and Googled it, which lead us to Rick's site. We're glad we didn't accept!
Marietta, GA USA 04/16/2013
COUNT YOUR CHANGE IN UK
The new pieces of money (2L and 5p were confusing . I am ashamed that even having lived in UK I was shorted 99p when merchant gave me back 4pound coins and 1 penny IN A STACK. I didnt count my change.....
Aurora, IN USA 04/16/2013
Found Ring Scam
The "Found Ring" scam mentioned in the Paris Guide is still practiced. We experienced it this week about 500 meters from the Arc de Triomphe on Ave D'Iena. Scam attempted by an elderly Eastern European woman. Thanks for the heads up.
Isola Vicentina, Veneto Italy 04/14/2013
Paris Pickpockets Force closing of the Louvre
4/10/13 "The Louvre was forced to close its doors as staff walked out in protest at the increasing problem of pickpockets working in the famous museum." The pick pockets are so bad that the gypsies don't even hide it. They are out in force trying to get you to sign papers. My iphone was stolen today from my cafe table while I was actively watching the kid as he did it. He attempted to get me to read an 8 1/2 X 11 inch piece of Orange paper with french writing on it. He laid it down on the table and used his finger to point to the middle of it, then after several protesting gestures from me, he left... with my phone under the paper. Didn't get it back. Lesson learned. Leave nothing in sight, even under your own nose.
PHX, AZ USA 04/10/2013
Inexpensive way to secure your belongings
Pick up some silicon tie wraps they come in packages of 8-10 inexpensive and easy to use time and time again. A great safety measure for securing the zippers on a backpack or purse preventing thieves from gaining easy access. Great for securing your purse or back to a chair or table leg if you care to do so. May not stop an aggressive thief who is really intent on stealing but it will certainly slow them down or better still they won't waste their time and simply move on to an easier target.
Richmond, BC CANADA 04/07/2013
Taxi 5 for 50 switcheroo
We took a cab from the Chora Church in Istanbul and the cab driver did the quick switch and pretended that I gave him a 5 Lira bill instead of a 50 Lira bill. I had just read about that trick in the Rick Steves' book that morning. I very sternly said that I gave him 50 lira and he owed me 20. He realized I was on to him and gave me my change. Saying the denomination of the bill as you give it to the cab driver is a great tip for anywhere.
St Paul, MN USA 03/30/2013
GOLD RING SCAM
Roma Gypsy Gold Ring Scammers are operating in the Gloucester Road, Kensington, London area today 25.3.13.
London, UK 03/25/2013
Petition signing in Paris
People asking you to sign petitions. While you are looking at the roster, and telling them no, they are picking your pocket. Happens mostly on the bridges, and during the week, when there is less police at the main sights.
Hillsdale, NJ USA 03/24/2013
rome colosseum pick pocket gangs!
Be aware at the Colosseum in Rome. We were at the upper level terrace area most popular for snapping photos. I was with my wife and it was super crowded (Saturday). We heard a warning earlier about pick pockets so it was on our minds. I was almost at the railing of the terrace to get a picture (waiting for others to finish) when I felt a bump or tug on my backpack. Assuming it was my wife, I looked back but didn't see her. I quickly slid my backpack around and found it 1/4 if the way unzipped. My nexus 7 and shure ear buds were still inside, fortunately. I consider myself very lucky.
My wife said that she got separated from me by this woman who was rudely pushing her way in front of her. At first, she said she shoved her back but the woman kept insistently pushing through and waving her cheap phone while pretending to take a pic. My wife just thought the lady was being rude but the reality is that she was trying to block her vision of my backpack. I didn't notice this until I turned back and didn't see my wife behind me, at which point the red flags went off.
We saw the gang of low lives (at least 4-5+ in their 20s-40s) trying to defraud people. We walked by them twice giving them long stare-downs. The greasy sleazebag dude just stared back; I so wanted to kick him in the groin and punch his face. They were very brazen to continue hanging around that area and stalk people's belongings. Anyway, we reported them to a staff member but I should have snapped pics of them too. They put a real damper on the rest of the day...I was so irritated
The point is, these guys definitely work in gangs and will try to separate you. I didn't have anything in my pant pockets so I was OK there. But if you notice someone trying to distract you aggressively, be aggressive back and start yelling even. That should be a decent deterrent outside of the common sense stuff like keeping your pack in front of you and using the travel lock or keyring zipper deterrents....two things I should have done.
irvine, ca USA 03/23/2013
BEWARE reservation cancellation fees
I want to alert travellers to very harsh (I consider them predatory) cancellation practices I encountered at two hotels in Villefranche-sur-Mer. In February I made reservations for June which I cancelled later in February. Both hotels charged me a hefty cancellation fee. I was very surprised that this happened. Both places were listed in the latest RS's book on Provence and the French Riviera. I read carefully the recommendation to make reservations well in advance and to give the hotels the courtesy of sufficient notice of cancellation. There was no mention of this in the book yet each hotel claimed this was their standard practice.
Be very careful. Read and translate any fine print before committing to a date using your credit card.
Mary Ellen Zoulas
Edmonds, WA USA 03/11/2013
Credit Card Scams
This is a reminder to NEVER let your credit card leave your sight, even at a RS recommended restaurant. While in Venice, we had our credit card duplicated. The thieves made an identical card after they copied the magnetic strip information from our card to a dummy card. We only use this card at hotels, major stores and for substantial checks at recommended restaurants. We thought we were careful but one time we let our guard down. We were eating outside at a recommended restaurant and did not think too much about it when the waiter took our card inside to complete the transaction. A day later, our card was denied at a different restaurant. As it turned out, just a few minutes earlier, the thieves made a transaction for 1000 euros and attempted another 1000 e transaction prompting the credit card company to shut down the card. We called the company immediately when we returned to the hotel and they immediately removed the charge. Luckily, we are not out any money. We are going to step up our security a notch. First, we will NEVER let our card out of our sight. Also, we are going to add email alerts with every transaction and SMS alerts with any transaction over a certain amount. We have traveled all over Europe and this is the only time we have had a problem. Don't be scared, just be smart.
Scams in Lisbon and Barcelona
I had my backpack "pick pocketed" on a Lisbon tram - luckily it was a Pacsafe and the part left unlocked didn't have anything in it. They got my attention with all the pushing and when they started talking to each other about not being able to get into the lock open. There were at least 4 or 5 of them.
In Barcelona my husband was asked for the time while a partner started walking behind us to pick my husband's pocket. A women walking near us, started yelling "no". So we quickly walked on.
But the most interesting scam was one we watched from our hotel balcony on Las Ramblas in Barcelona. It was the shell game. We saw it broken up by police but restarted later. There were 5 or 6 people involved. Some looked like tourists and one was a women. At times they were the only ones playing the game and one of them was always winning. Once a stranger appeared they took turns hitting on him to get him to play while they kept playing and wining.
Phoenix, AZ USA 02/13/2013
Scams all over
By now everyone knows about the Paris gold ring scam, please enough about this and let's hear more from other cities....for instance in Barcelona where they will pick your pockets on the trains, usually when boarding. They will even go into the front pockets. Be careful, keep your money/cards in a money belt inside your clothing and keep your phone well hidden or protected. Same goes in Barcelona if late at night when the clubs are closing...look for the black hooker girls who will walk up, grab your crotch while the other is trying to pick your pockets. Last thing and most importantly, if someone randomly comes up to you and ask if you speak English or have the time, just ignore them and keep moving...in ANY city. Trust me on this, it only leads to things which sometimes are difficult to get out of.
World Traveler., 02/09/2013
Paris Ring scam and pickpocket update
Was over joyed last weekend in Paris when nearly everyone in the tour group I was leading encountered the Ring Scam. At breakfast the next morning, one member showed me the impressively large ring he got. "You fell for it?" "Yes and no. When she put the ring on my finger, I gave her a 2 Euro coin. When she protested that that was not nearly enough for such a valuable ring, I said I'd give it back, but then feigned that is was stuck on my finger and I couldn't get it off." The following day at the airport, I asked why he wasn't wearing the ring anymore. "I had to take it off. It was turning my finger green!" One member got pickpocketed at the Musee D'Orsay 5th floor restaurant. Everyone passing by on the raised walkway stopped to get a picture of the huge window clock looking out over Paris. While adjusting the focus and flash, pickpockets are bumping along behind you and wallet fishing. Fortunately, our photographer was using the RS dummy wallet strategy. When the thief realized he was scammed, he dropped the wallet on the ground and quickly moved on.
Green Bay, WI USA 02/07/2013
Pickpockets reaching in Front Pocket
Be extra careful in crowded Rome. I had a lady reach down deep in the front pocket of my pants for my wallet as I was getting on a crowded subway train. She did it in the doorway and I stopped, turned around and confronted her. I held up the crowd and the door of the train and demanded she give me my wallet back. When she feigned ignorance, I gently poked the fake baby she was carrying and behind which she was concealing her hand holding my wallet. I made quite a scene and told her I was about to call for the police who would settle this matter. She immediately looked down at her feet as I heard something hit the platform. It was my wallet. I picked it up, gave her a few choice swear words and got on the train. The point is, they are actually reaching down the FRONT pockets now. Very brazen.
Portland, OR USA 02/02/2013
gold ring scam
My husband and I were on the R.S. Paris tour in November. We had heard about the gold ring as the latest scam. It was pulled on us three times in just a few blocks. It was so ridiculous, we just laughed at them each time.
Aberdeen, WA USA 01/31/2013
Roma scam along the Seine.
This event occurred in Paris: Near the Musee d'Orsay, I was stopped on a bridge over the Seine, taking a photograph. A Roma woman approached me and about 15 feet away, she began pointing to the ground and making excited noises. She bent over and picked up an object. Then, in perfect English (gee, how did she know I was American?) she held out her hand, asking, "Is this yours?"
Immediately I was wary. She came closer, holding out her hand and was trying to distract me with some[INVALID]obviously fake[INVALID]gold plated ring. I did not want her to get anywhere near me.
She said, "Oh my gosh! Did you drop your wedding ring?"
Without letting her get close, I said "Nope, it's yours now!" and turned around quickly to walk away. This surprised her[INVALID]and also her boyfriend/accomplice who was approaching me from behind. I smirked at him and he kept his distance. Nice try, pickpockets.
Be very wary along the Seine near the museums. There is a high Roma population there and they know the area is ripe for tourists.
Salinas, CA USA 01/30/2013
ATM scam in Paris
There is a common scam in Paris involving ATMs. Basically the person peeks over your shoulder, sees you enter your PIN, then very so sweetly asks if you need help understanding how to use a French cash machine-- implying that it can be very complicated. As they are distracting you with that question, they hit the cancel button, grab your card, and go. Be sure to cover your hand when you enter your PIN. The French are obsessive about it and cover the keys with their other hand or a bag while they type in their code.
Seattle, WA USA 01/29/2013
High Jumps in Paris
Was on high alert when we went to Paris after reading the warnings. While in the underground metro - going thru the ticket turn-style having just inserted the ticket, 1 young gypsie man jumped in the turn-style with me, another one jumped over the ticket turn-style and headed to my boyfriend who had already gone thru. I suspect they were trying to get his camera drapped around his shoulder (I know, not smart). I had noticed them watching us before the spectacular leaps so was on guard. While shouting a warning to my boyfriend who's back was turned and unaware of the events, I braced and reinforced my elbow - which caught him betwn his ribs knocking his wind out. The partners in crime looked a tad shocked...come to think of it, so did my boyfriend.
Thanks for the warnings.
San Francisco, CA USA 01/29/2013
Typical scams in Paris, but overall a great trip!
Saw several of the typical scams in Paris during our Summer 2012 trip:
1. Beware pickpockets on the train from the airport into Paris. Saw a guy trying to work open a woman's suitcase as she stood next to it (I was sitting and was eye level with the pickpocket's hands, which were quietly and slowly working to open the zipper). I don't think anyone would have noticed him, but I was being super vigilant. I assume since most overseas flights arrive early in the morning, tired travelers are an easy target!
2. Bracelet scam in front of Sacre Coeur...had to firmly say "No" several times while continuing to walk past.
3. Gypsy women up and down the Champs d'elysee. One suddenly asked "Do you speak English?" and before I could answer she pushed a note into my hand. I quickly realized it was a scam before I even finished reading the first sentence. Gave the paper back and quickly moved on.
We also traveled via train to Swizterland (Interlaken), Munich, and Amsterdam, but didn't run into any issues in those destinations. Just use common sense and be aware of your surroundings and your belongings and you will have a wonderful time!
Tampa, FL USA 01/10/2013