Thursday, October 30, 2008

Barcelona Scams. The map readers.

Time for another heads up on some of the common scams in the city. This one is a clever little trick and involves a map, usually two girls, and someone wearing a backpack. When I was a teacher this happened to 4 of my students in 1 month, so again it's not just the tourists who need to be aware.

The success of the scam relies on the fact that the people performing the scam look perfectly innocent. I've seen it mainly performed by young girls of around 10-13, who seem to fit in with the touristy look - they have back packs on themselves, and are carrying a map. The thing is that they are BOTH carrying the map with one hand (one left one right) and then their other hands are used to lift a clasp or unbuckle a bag, whilst the other takes anything inside the bag on top within reach - all under perfect cover of the map.
Barcelona Scams - Map cover
This sounds like it would be so easy to spot, but the scam is always performed in crowded areas, where it's not uncommon to see people carrying maps and consulting them. It's also performed in an area where pedestrian congestion is perfectly normal - an escalator, or the path/sidewalk of a busy street, for example. I've seen it done in broad daylight on a Sunday morning for example, and they are very very good at it. The Police often catch them as they know them but as they are minors, they are let off with a slap on the wrist and a don't come back here again. Which of course they do.

For more information on Barcelona, see this Barcelona Guide.

Barcelona apartments for groups


Anonymous said...

Thank you for that advice. Well worth knowing. Better to be safe than sorry.

Stag weekends Barcelona

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