Tourist Scams in Europe !!

Europe is a voyage through history, With a millions of tourists visiting this continent every year there is a a huge hub for all the pickpocket’s to easily rob the tourists. Although it is wise to be careful while travelling anywhere as a tourist, I’d strongly suggest to be super attentive when visiting Barcelona & Paris. Barcelona attracts tourists with its architectural beauty and with the increasing number of visitors, it has earned itself the reputation as the pickpocket capital of the world.

Here are a few scams that I have seen happening myself and others that I have heard of.

The Overcharge scam in Venice

Venice hit the headlines again for charging a British family Eur 526 for Lunch.

Recently a family from Birmingham was eating at Trattoria Casanova in the central San Marco district and they ordered one pasta dish and two sides. They were duly brought that – along with 20 oysters and around 3kg of fresh grilled fish, which the tourist says he didn’t ask for. They ate it all thinking that it was included in what they ordered. This happens often with tourists, so verify your order when it arrives and don’t be too shy to raise concerns.

Most of the restaurants in Italy charge a coperto which means a charge for the table cover. It might be 50 cents, or in a really posh place it might be €4.

The Bracelet scam in Paris

This scam happens mainly around Cathedral’s like Sacre Coeur. You might think that the person is approaching you with a positive gesture but the intentions are far from friendly. You’ll be offered a ‘friendship bracelet’. Your hand will be quickly grasped and the bracelet will be tied tight around your wrist. It will be impossible to remove so even if you wanted to refuse and return it, you can’t. You’ll then be asked for money, since you ‘bought’ the bracelet. If you try to walk away, you’ll be followed and persistently hounded for the money, often €20. Sometimes, while you’re distracted with the bracelet situation, your wallet will be picked by another accomplice.

Avoid – Being friendly with them. Stay alert and stay away. Keep your hands well hidden in your jacket or somewhere if you walk past them.

Taxi scam in Amsterdam

As soon as you land in Amsterdam , getting to the official taxi stand may prove to be a challenge, because as soon as you step out of the door of the airport hall you’ll be awaited by a group of taxi drivers offering their services. They may show you their official taxi license and even promise a cheaper rate than the official rates. But once you agree to go with them they won’t take you to the official taxi stand but to one of their mates waiting around the corner and that’s when you should walk away and follow the signs to the official taxis. Because you’re guaranteed to get ripped off. There have been cases when people have been charged almost four times the cost of the actual trip.

At Schiphol airport ALWAYS take a taxi only from the regular taxi stand right outside of the airport terminal. Do not accept offers from drivers that wait for you when you exit customs, those are likely scammers.

Some people might approach you inside the airport building, ignore them. Don’t agree on a fixed fee, just use the meter. Ask for a receipt, this contains all the information about the trip. When something went wrong, you can contact the taxi company. Thankfully there are attempts to regulate the taxi market in The Netherlands.

Across all European cities – The Lost soul scam in Restaurants.

This is somewhat common at a lot of restaurants near the tourist places in Europe. While you are seated in a restaurant waiting for the local delicacy to be served to you, the scammers will try to distract you and they have many ways of doing so.

For instance, one could ask you for directions and someone comes in with a map and puts it over your valuables on the table (assuming you have left it there) and asks for directions. When they take the map up, they take your valuables with them or ask a random question while the accomplice strikes Or one could pretend to look for a friend to create distraction.

Of course, there are also the simple ones as there are careless victims who leave their luggage behind their seats unattended or out of their line of sight.

Avoid carrying the purse or wallet in the back pocket. Also, use a spare wallet, money belt or to further protect yourself from pickpockets. Keep most of your valuables and passport in the hotel safe & carry around a photocopy of your passport instead( I know a lot of you might not totally agree with this, but I personally prefer to do this as you can always go back to your hotel in case the passport is really being asked for, rather than going through the hassle of loosing it and figuring out on ways to get back home).

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