This is a continuation of my recent post, informing you of some of the Barcelona scams to watch out for - not all are for the tourists here. Today's post is a classic pickpocketing scam. It has been around for a long time, and I remember it being tried on my friend and I a couple of times when we first got here - problem was that we always got it on the way home, so never had any money left, and neither of us carried a wallet.
It is usually performed in and around Las Ramblas and Plaça Reial, and usually to men who have had a little to drink. It's almost always the cocky young North Africans performing the lift. The scam involves them approaching you and asking if you like football. The most common answer is yes, and even if it isn't they can continue with the scam. They then ask if you want to "Dance the Ronaldinho dance?" (when I first arrived it was Rivaldo, for example). This is a simple distraction technique and they proceed anyway. Whilst they are saying "ok, you put your foot here, and I hook my leg around here, and then we jump 3 times" or other such rubbish, they are in fact fleecing your back two pockets and taking your phone and wallet, or anything else you might have left in there. I've seen it done a copuple of times, and the victim has even walked away, happy to have met such "friendly locals" showing them the "funny dance"! There was also a documentary filmed from the balconies of Las Ramblas about 3 years ago highlighting the ease and apparent lack of action by the local cops. It looked sooo easy, it was freightening!
For more information on Barcelona, see this Barcelona Guide.
Barcelona apartments for groups