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General Pickpocket Scams and Videos All Around Italy

Italy is one of the top tourist destinations of the world - but is alos known as one the top 10 countires where

pickpockets love to target tourists.  This is a general article on how to avoid pickpockets all over Italy.  Read these tips to give you a baseline of knowledge in order to understand how pickpockets operate, then read up on specific pickpocket scams which have been reported in certain cities in Italy.

Some of the specific articles which cover pickpockets in Italy include:

Note that any of these scams, as well as countless variations are used by pickpockets around the world.

Pickpocket Scams in Naples Italy

General Scams - These are a listing of general scams that occur around the world, as well as throughout Italy, however pickpockets are extensively reported in Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Milan and Sicily, but also smaller cities including Pisa, San Gimignano, Orvieto or even Civitavecchia.

General Pickpocket Scams All Around Italy

  • Two or three woman and a couple of young children surround you. One holds a small baby and extends the baby to you. While you are distracted by the sleeping baby, one of the children picks your pocket and disappears around a corner or down a side street. The child then passes off the stolen item (e.g. money, watch, wallet, etc.) to an adult so that if the child is caught, the stolen item cannot be found. This scam can also occur with a group of women and children approaching you with a cardboard sign or newspapers. Some tourists have actually had the baby or doll thrown at them to catch – with the hands reached out toward the baby, the pockets are open to pick.
  • You enter a taxi and the driver attempts to cover the meter so you are unable notice that the driver did not reset the fare from the previous traveler. He is instead trying to double his fare.
  • Be wary of a friendly stranger, who offers to take your picture with your camera, after the photo is captured, the stranger walks away with the camera.
  • Be mindful of your belongings when disembarking trains. Gypsies may be waiting to steal as you enter the chaos of the train station.  They man also ask for money directly while getting on and off trains at random stops in the pursuit of easy to grab luggage.
  • Think twice before taking advantage of the fake Gucci purse, for the alluring price of €20 (the authentic costing €200), being sold by a street vendor, set up on a simple cardboard box. As you pull out your wallet to pay, the vendor snags it. Despite the seemingly good deals, selling in this manner is illegal.
  • While driving from Rome to Florence, someone waves you down saying that you have a flat tire. You do indeed have a flat (perhaps from the man who flagged you down) and the helpful man offers to take you to the nearest station. While you are at the station, your luggage and possessions that remain in the car are stolen.
  • Traveling in a foreign country usually means paying with foreign money. Double check change you receive, it is possible that a vendor will give you a counterfeit bill, old currency such as the Lira, or even the wrong change all together.
  • It is common for travelers to spontaneously visit a city in Italy without making a prior hotel reservation. Once the traveler arrives at the train station, there are many hotel representatives eagerly awaiting the new arrivals to share their excellent rates. The representatives seem legitimate with name tags, nice brochures or posters for the hotel with photos. The representative will even offer to escort you to the hotel. Once you arrive, you check-in and pay, then you go to you room only to find that it does not even closely resemble the room shown in the brochure, it is a total dump. At this point it is unfortunately almost impossible to get your money back. Always ask to see a room before paying.

Video of Pickpocket Scams in Italy

20 Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Belongings from Pickpockets in Italy

Although millions of people have fallen victim to petty theft, it is most certainly not a reason to avoid the beauties of Italy. There are simple things you can do to not be a target. Travel companies have even created special products to help you keep your belongings safe while viewing the wonders of the world. Take advantage of these tools.

  1. Research ahead of time to determine areas with high pick pocketing activity. Either avoid these areas, or be vigilant when traveling through.
  2. Vattene! (VATtene!) – ”Get Lost!” It will confuse the thief if you firmly and loudly tell them to go away in Italian. This is a great way to distract them!
  3. Appear confident, even if you are nervous, or lost.
  4. Try to avoid talking to strangers. If unavoidable, stay alert while speaking with them.
  5. Use ATMs located in bank lobbies during bank opening hours. Block the keypad when entering your PIN.
  6. During the day, walk on the sunny side of the street. Most pick pockets lurk in the shade.
  7. Avoid known areas of high theft activity, especially at night.
  8. Be on high alert in areas that are crowded and create the opportunity for people to easily bump into one another: buses, metros, markets, etc.
  9. If possible, travel in groups – safety in numbers.
  10. Try to dress like the locals, no shorts, flip flops, baseball caps, etc.
  11. When traveling on a train, attempt to find a seat. If a seat is not available, try not to stand by the doors.
  12. Do not pull out cash in public to avoid drawing attention to you. Keep your money spread out in multiple pockets.
  13. Leave large amounts of cash in the hotel safe.
  14. Be cautious when in a crowd, including elevators, escalators, trains, buses, etc.
  15. Do not examine your map while in a crowded area. Try to study your map before leaving the hotel or while sitting at a restaurant.
  16. If you carry a backpack or purse in a crowded place, wear the backpack on the front, or your purse across your body.
  17. Wear a money belt or a neck pouch.
  18. Never leave your purse hanging on the back of a chair.
  19. If you suspect that you are being followed, do something unpredictable and go into a store. This will catch the pick pocket off guard.
  20. Last, prepare for the worst and gather pertinent information such as: credit card phone numbers, make two photocopies of your passport, make additional copies of tickets and hotel reservation information.

Anti pickpocket Products to Keep Your Belongings Safe from Pickpockets

 Travel companies have invented some ingenious products to give travelers peace of mind when traveling. Such products include special slash proof bags with locks, a leather belt with a money compartment on the inside, plus travel wallets, neck pouches, and wrist, arm or leg wallets. For ideas for the perfect travel bag or to purchase a money belt, visit www.corporatetravelsafety.com.

To avoid asking a stranger to snap a photo of the two of you, the Quickpod Compod Slim Tripod is an excellent solution, as it allows you to hold the tripod and snap your own photo.

Additionally, the PacSafe DaySafe 100 is a slash proof, snatch proof and tamperproof bag with an inner security compartment inside that locks closed and can even be locked to a secure fixture.

Women may enjoy the convenience of a multi-pocket security handbag with a feature to lock the top zipper of the bag and a slash proof shoulder strap while men may appreciate the compact PacSafe MetroSafe 200, which can be worn as a shoulder bag or a waist pack.

Or, to fully educate and prepare yourself for a chance encounter with a petty thief, check out Traveler Beware, an audio book by Detective Kevin Coffey.  All of the cutting edge travel gadgets to give you peace of mind when traveling can be found at www.corporatetravelsafety.com.

Our site contains over 100 pages of travel safety tips and security tips that are useful for any traveler. You will find tips involving luggage theft, avoiding pickpockets, laptop theft, hotel burglary, and airplane, train, automobile, and boat travel crimes.