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25+ Tourist Scams in Europe

10-20% of tourists to Europe fall victim to tourist SCAMS. Know what to watch for!

10-20% of tourists to Europe fall victim to tourist SCAMS. Know what to watch for!

According to U.K.'s The Telegraph, between 10 and 20% of British tourists to Spain, France, and Italy fall victim to pickpocketing and/or tourist scams. Barcelona, Paris, and Rome are the cities where tourists are most likely to be preyed upon. (See full articles here and here.)

If you're heading to Europe this summer, or traveling anywhere frequented by tourists, stay a step ahead of the scams with these bloggers' tips below. Be sure to check each blogger's full article to learn more about these scams and how to proactively prepare.

Note: the date of each posts' original publication is included to be sure travelers are keeping up with current scams.

Travel Scams in Europe

Jo at Frugal First Class Travel warns of Five Tourist Scams in Paris You Need to Know (2016) and More Paris Tourist Scams (2016). Jo says to be on the alert, in Paris or elsewhere, if:

  • a man approaches with a ring he just found/picked up in front of you, and asked if you lost/dropped it
  • you are asked to sign a petition
  • a local strolls over to chat while you're sitting at an outdoor cafe table
  • you're in a crowd, be it a train, a queue line, or a museum
  • a "teacher," maybe even with a New York accent, tells you she ran out of Euros and just needs a little money
  • a charity drive requires a specific minimum donation amounts
  • "disabled" children ask for money
  • a "business man" in an airport asks for just a little money to change his train ticket so he can leave the airport
  • a fellow tourist asks you to make a purchase for them so they can avoid customs fees when returning home

American International Group (AIG) posted 8 Travel Scams Happening in Europe (2015), and urges caution if:

  • a helpful local shows up just as you notice you have a flat tire
  • an "official" appears at your car window as you enter Gibraltar from Spain, and asks you to pay the entrance fee
  • a "police officer" with a "badge" demands to see your wallet and passport
  • a street vendor or taxi driver offers to change money for you
  • a taxi driver recommends a specific bar or club
  • approached by a "taxi driver" whose car does not have company name and number on the side and roof or posted fare rates

And finally, Just the Flight's 40 Tourist Scams to Avoid this Summer (2014) warns to be cautious if:

  • someone tries to tie a friendship bracelet on your wrist or offers a rosemary sprig as a sign of friendship
  • a woman throws her baby at you
  • you see a dropped wallet on the ground and feel the instinct to check your own wallet
  • someone offers to take a photograph for you
  • the cashier is on the phone while handling your credit card
  • an "official" walks along a queue line offering higher priced tickets to bypass the line
  • someone holds a map (or even a pizza box) up to you
  • you see posted signs warning of pickpockets in the area and feel the instinct to check your own wallet
  • you're asked to take a photo for someone/a group and the camera doesn't work
  • children ask you to sign a petition, buy a newspaper or help them write a postcard
  • the hotel "front desk" calls and asks you to confirm your credit card over the phone
  • "hotel employees" show up at your room and ask to inspect the room

Looking for more info on travel scams around the world?

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10-20% of tourists to Europe fall victim to tourist SCAMS. Know what to watch for!

10-20% of tourists to Europe fall victim to tourist SCAMS. Know what to watch for!

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