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Scams & Thieves to look out for in London, Paris & Italy

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Jul 22nd, 2013, 07:57 PM
  #1
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Scams & Thieves to look out for in London, Paris & Italy

I'm in my mid 30s and will be traveling to London, Paris & Italy (Florence, Venice & Rome) in September. These cities are flooded with tourists and I, undoubtedly, will be looking like one. I live in the US and have never been to Europe. I would greatly appreciate hearing your experiences about being scammed or how you dodged it. Besides my common sense, a carry-on and a money belt, it would be helpful to get some feedback from what you've encountered so I can better prepare myself as this will be my first time traveling to Europe. I will be solo and mostly staying in apartments. Thank you so much!
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Jul 22nd, 2013, 08:09 PM
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"...some feedback from what you've encountered..."

I almost always travel alone, have lost count of the number of times I've been to Europe and have never been scammed, robbed or otherwise interfered with. Your common sense and awareness of your surroundings will keep your self and your goods safe. Concentrate instead on having a fine time.
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Jul 22nd, 2013, 08:28 PM
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The cities you've mentioned are generally safe from major scams. Although no place is immune. So just use good sense and take the normal precautions.

Like you've already mentioned, I'd keep my passport, money, bank cards, etc. in a separate place (money belt) and not in my purse.

And like Mme Perdu said be aware of your surroundings.
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Jul 22nd, 2013, 08:53 PM
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You had 135 responses to your thread "solo traveller scared". I think if you reread that thread you will see there were lots of tips in there for keeping your stuff safe..

And for scams 99% of them require you to participate by stopping to talk to stranger.. do not stop or even acknowledge strangers who approach you .. either asking for help ( think about it, why would a FRENCH speaking person approach another person ( tourist ) and ask if they speak English,, why would then not approach another French speaker,,, oh, I know why, cause the French people IGNORE them!!)

Its really not half as scary or hard as you think this is swoosh.. look I am from a very small city and I manage fine in Paris solo.. I am not particularily brave or wise..
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Jul 22nd, 2013, 09:01 PM
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This is exactly correct. Do not let yourself get distracted or engaged by strangers and you will be fine. Do not be scared or paranoid...just be aware at all times and you will be fine.
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 01:13 AM
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A lot of this comes down to perceptions - and exercising common sense. It may surprise you to know that for many Europeans (particularly on a first visit), the US can seem very intimidating with the profusion of gun violence and absence of people on city streets at night.
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 01:47 AM
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Your two threads are focusing on the things that might go wrong which could be 1% of your travels and not focusing on the things that could go right which would be 99% of the trip. Perhaps you should think about the wonderful time you will have and not worry about the negatives.

I remember a delightful few minutes with a taxi driver in Rome who tried to cheat me by not returning the correct change. I handed over a bill and he gave me part of what I was due. I looked at him and motioned with my hand that I wanted more money back. He gave me some more; I looked at it and smiled and motioned that I wanted more, which he gave me. We did this a few times with him giving me a bit more money each time and we both started laughing. I got my change that I was owed and then gave him a bit back for a tip.

You need to keep a sense of humor and not worry so much. If someone tries to take your money they won't pull out a gun first.
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 03:58 AM
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Outside of the big cities I've often chatted to complete strangers across Europe and had a good time everytime, so just be aware in hi-tourist areas a stranger is out to do a deal...

Gordon R, great point," the US can seem very intimidating with the profusion of gun violence and absence of people on city streets at night" luckily Americans mainly kill each other (33,000 on average each year), still don't knock on any doors at night.

Does anyone know how many tourists die in the US?
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 04:40 AM
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These cities are flooded with tourists and I, undoubtedly, will be looking like one.

Why look like one?



Don't wear shorts.

Don't have a baseball cap. A Panama hat is OK.

Wear shoes and not sandals (and absolutely not with socks) or sneakers.

Don't carry a map or guide book - you can have everything on your phone.

Don't eat in the street.

Keep your voice down.

Avoid T-shirts and opt for a polo shirt - especially a European one (Lacoste bot Polo Ralph Lauren would be OK).

Prepare your day in advance so you always give the impression that you know where you are going.

Remember what your mother told you - don't accept sweets from strangers .... no, now that you are in your 30's don't speak to strangers.

Be discreet.

Observe rather than be observed.

HAVE A GOOD TIME!
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 04:54 AM
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I have been to europe more than 100 times and have never been the victim of any scam or crime. I think you will find the same is true of most other people on these boards.

Crime in europe is MUCH less common than in the US (for perspective) - so if you are not hesitant about visiting NY or similar cities - no reason to worry about europe.

Have never used any sort of money belt or pouch or anything pinned to my bra. Just use a cross body purse with a sturdy, heavy duty woven strap.

The keys are the very basic ones you use anywhere:

Never let go of your purse - anywhere

Always be aware of your surroundings

Do not feel you need to interact with or be "nice" to strangers who approach you in public places with any sort of story or request - simply ignore them and walk past - and if they bother you scream your lungs out
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 05:00 AM
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Absolute rubbish about the shorts.

Just got back from Venice.

EVERYONE was wearing shorts.

EVERYONE!!!!!

Shop owners, waiters, delivery guys, the guys who drive the boats were wearing shorts.

Took the bus to Marco Polo. Watched countless residents walking around Mestre wearing shorts.

Saw hundreds of locals walking around Vicenza wearing shorts.

Anyone who says Europeans don't wear shorts are delusional and don't really travel.


Thin
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 05:04 AM
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I am rolling here over these ridiculous comments.

Don't wear T-shirts?????

T-shirts are sold in countless high-end shops in Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, Venice, and Florence.

Put down that gin bottle, sweetie!

Thin
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 06:04 AM
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la classe non è acqua!
nochblad is online now  
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 07:31 AM
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Shorts if hot are fine,, but not out for nice dinners.

Sandals and socks are pretty common in many places.. locals wear then on vacation too... old ones and German ones mostly. lol

T shirts everyone wears them. Europeon young men tend to wear tighter fitted ones though,,, not the baggy street look ones popluar in some places and in some age groups in States and Canada.

Women over a certain age would keep short wearing to beaches and beach resorts,, in heat they are more likely to wear sundresses and skirts.
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 07:47 AM
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I've never been scammed in Europe because I just don't put up with nonsense or lend myself to it, that's all. There is nothing special to know, you just don't do stupid things or engage with strangers on the street or be greedy. For example, a lot of the scams involve people being cheap or greedy, so if you aren't, you wouldn't get involved in them. For example, somebody selling you metro tickets on the street for cheaper than they are worth. Now how dumb do you have to be to buy them? Because they won't be valid. Even the infamous gold ring scam -- I am astonished at how common this apparently is in various major cities in Europe because I can't comprehend there would be that many people so dumb/greedy to have anything to do with it. This is where someone pretends to find a gold ring on the street and offers to sell it to you. Now why would you even talk to someone on the street who is stopping you to talk about a ring they supposedly found, and why on earth would you want to buy it? geez, if you were in the market for a gold ring, wouldn't you go to a jewelry store.

so I think the term scam by definition means being cheated and you can't be cheated if you aren't engaging in some dubious transaction of some kind, now can you? And don't allow strangers to "help" you do anything in busy places that involve money and machines, obviously.
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 07:49 AM
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Oh fer chrissake, wear whatever is comfortable (so long as it meets the dress code for any religious institution you'll visit that day) and don't worry about looking like a tourist. I walked into a restaurant in Gdansk in a winter coat in December 2006 - basically what everyone else had to wear in that weather - and the first waiter to approach me starts speaking to me in English. And I was wandering around the Abbey de Fontevraud (Loire Valley, France) with her highness in May 2007 in (wait for it) shorts and a T-shirt and some Brit pensioner tourists came up to me and asked me directions in French.

It's not like you're going to blend if you try and the notion that all Europeans dress in high fashion is complete bollocks - the majority of them dress worse in casual settings than Americans.
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 08:52 AM
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There is an area in London called "the City" which has scammed hundreds of billions of pounds from British citizens in recent years. The police can do nothing.
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 09:31 AM
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Apparently the City of London Police who are the police force for the fiefdom of robber barons called the Square Mile have been putting up signs saying "thieves operating here".

Tell us something we didn't already know
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 09:38 AM
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I think a little attitudinal switcharoo is in order here. The glass CAN be half full, you know. You're not going to Syria or Iraq, fer chrissake. It's Europe, where millions of tourists, ranging from experienced and savvy to dead stupid and naïve, manage to have a good time all year long every year.

Two entire posts devoted to being scared to death and now scams?? Why all the negativity? Why did you decide to make this trip? Maybe it's not worth the time and dollars.
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Jul 23rd, 2013, 09:50 AM
  #20
 
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Travellers from the USA have fears about travel in Europe and travellers from Europe have fears about travel in the USA. No doubt such fears have existed since the first person travelled anywhere.

They are illogical fears in reality and your chances of being robbed or scammed as a tourist in another country are probably no greater than as a tourist within your own country. They might even be lower since you will be more on your guard in a foreign country than in your home country.

But FEAR is not about logic. It is an emotion and as most people know, 'when emotion comes in the door, logic goes out the window.'

So no matter how many people tell you your fears are basically groundless, it will have little or no affect on how you FEEL. So I would suggest you stop looking for reassurances or tips that will make you FEEL better and simply decide whether you want to travel or not. If you do, then you will simply have to put up with your fears and go on regardless. If you can't do that, then you should stay home. Not EVERYONE enjoys travel and some people simply should not do so.
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