How to Avoid Pickpockets in Europe

Old Jun 13th, 2012, 06:05 PM
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I want my passport with me at all times - so I know where it is. Am not leaving it in a hotel "safe" for several days - to find it gone when ready to check out. I can take better care of my own things than a hotel can.
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Old Jun 13th, 2012, 06:32 PM
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In Barcelona, by law you are required to carry a photo ID. You will be asked in shops to show an ID when using a credit card. When I lived there and I got asked all the time to show ID when using my credit card. Usually, not at restaurants but it has happened to me when I least expect it - like Pizza Hut of all places. (not my first choice to eat, but little kids get homesick

I did not carry my passport around. But, I did carry my US driver's license and that worked fine.

Too lazy to find the government web page, but this is from Time Out, which is a reputable source:

"From the age of 14, Spaniards are legally obliged to carry their DNI (identity card). Foreigners are also meant to carry an ID card or passport, and are in theory subject to a fine – in practice, you’re more likely to get a warning. If you don’t want to carry it around with you (wisely, given the prevalence of petty crime), it’s a good idea to carry a photocopy or a driver’s licence instead: technically, it’s not legal, but usually acceptable.

ID is needed to check into a hotel, hire a car, pay with a card in shops and exchange or pay with travelers’ cheques."

And, relating specifically to credit cards:

"Note: you need photographic ID (a passport, driving licence or something similar) when using a credit or debit card in a shop, but that is usually not required in a restaurant."


Scroll down to the sections on ID's and money/credit cards.
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Old Jun 13th, 2012, 06:42 PM
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I was not asked for any I.D. in Madrid or Barcelona when paying with CC for clothing . My last visit was in Oct.
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Old Jun 13th, 2012, 06:54 PM
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Sometimes you need a photo id, but never a passport, at least as far as all the places I've been. I never carry my passport with me -- well except for the one time in Rome in the olden days when I needed to cash traveler's checks where a passport was, in fact required. Fortunately, the thief on Bus 64 took the wallet and not the passport . . . !

Having lived in France and in England, I never needed my passport for anything, including using my credit cards.
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Old Jun 13th, 2012, 07:04 PM
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Regarding the bra wallet -- thanks for mentioning this, I had not heard of this until last December! -- I never bothered to use this until a trip over the new year to Mexico City. This little contraption reminded me of money we used to pin under our dresses in the '60's in case our little purses were stolen. Anyway, the bra money holder is pretty awesome!

There's another cool item -- an arm band for your cell phone. In case your purse was stolen, you still have your cell phone in your arm band. I actually still wear that thing, because it's practical and looks sharp!
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Old Jun 13th, 2012, 10:31 PM
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I have been asked for ID when using my cc in Madrid and the chip machine or my chip didn't work.

The general rule in Sweden is that you must present an ID when using your cc if it hasn't got a chip and a pin. I guess many shops/restaurants will accept your cc even though you haven't got any ID with you just beacause of the situation and that you are a tourist. It probably also depends on the amount of the purchase. But I wouldn't count on it and the general rule IS that you must show an approved ID (passport, IC, driving license).
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Old Jun 14th, 2012, 09:36 AM
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I'm Spanish, I'm talking about Spain (where Barcelona is, remember?), the shops are required to ask for an official ID card with photo or a passport if you are using credit cards. It's a security measure. In fact, Spanish people show ID card automatically, since we know it is required.
Maybe they are not asking it to tourists for fear of losing the business, but in that case they're breaking the law. If you are unlucky enough to have your card stolen, you will be grateful that ID with photo is required.
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Old Jun 19th, 2012, 05:03 AM
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Wonder if that's why I haven't been to Europe since 2004! Off to Paris in a few months so hoping I don't have a problem. Now I have to go look for my moneybelt.
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Old Jun 19th, 2012, 06:26 AM
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Probably small stores in Spain are wiling to break the law to make a sale.
The only shop that asked for I D was a big bookstore on P. De Garcia in Barcelona.
In 2007, I paid for groceries in Stockholm with a CC without I.D.
I don't remember if my card had a chip.
The other spots I shopped with CC only would be : Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Prague, Venice.,etc.
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Old Jun 19th, 2012, 07:57 AM
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I travel extensively throughout Europe and in forty years I have never been subject to pick pocketing or any other type of robbery. (cross fingers, may that continue!)
As for pan handling and street beggars I was shocked as to how prevalent this now is in California and Las Vegas during my trip there in April, at a level I have not experienced in western Europe. Even in Santa Barbara on State St, you could not walk five yards, without being accosted.
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