Where there are tourists, there are people seeking to exploit them, with travel website TripAdvisor coming up with a list of the top 10 places worldwide to be especially aware of pickpockets.
“Not always a basic ‘lift-and-run’ operation, expert pickpocketing can sometimes involve more complicated scams,” said Christine Petersen, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor.
“Travellers need to be aware of all kinds of tricks meant to distract them from their belongings while enjoying popular world attractions.”
European cities dominated the top 10 list compiled by TripAdvisor’s travellers and editors.
Las Ramblas, the famous wide, pedestrian walkway full of life, music, and people at all hours of the day and night, is the perfect place to get your purse pinched.
2. Rome, Italy
With its ancient buildings, historical and cultural attractions, Rome is full of tourists admiring the Trevi Fountain or the Pantheon. It’s easy for a pickpocket to lift a camera or purse with a quick snip of scissors.
The beautiful Charles Bridge is lined with 30 baroque-style statues, as well as thousands of tourists who crowd its ancient stones each year, making a perfect recipe for pickpocketing. Before taking in the view of the Vltava River and the Prague Castle beyond, be sure valuables are strapped down.
El Rastro fleamarket and the crowded metro are often cited as spots where unfriendly pickpocket schemes can put a damper on a visit to this beautiful city. Travelers should also beware that in museums, pickpockets can also prey on distracted tourists.
The City of Light draws enormous crowds from the base of the Eiffel Tower to the steps of Sacre-Coeur but enormous crowds can also be found below ground, in the city’s metro system, where travelers should be especially cautious.
It is easy for tourists to be distracted by the majestic beauty of Michelangelo’s David and the other awe-inspiring works of art and pieces of history all around Florence but when admiring Michelangelo’s creation, or at its replica in busy Piazza della Signoria, be alert for pickpockets.
Buenos Aires is a vibrant and culturally rich city with much to offer, from the famed Teatro Colon to the city’s many distinct neighborhoods but if you are suddenly covered in “bird droppings” (likely mustard) and a “friendly” local happens to be standing by with napkins to help you clean up, beware.
Don’t be too taken in by the canals and the friendly, laid-back atmosphere – pickpockets have been known to take advantage of countless tourists in this enchanting city.
Whether visiting the Parthenon on the Acropolis, or anything else in this magnificent historic city, keep your bags close.
10. Hanoi, Vietnam
The capital of Vietnam has its charming Old Quarter, littered with monuments and colonial architecture, and the city also features 600 temples and pagodas, making it a beautiful and unique place to visit, but also a place to stay alert.
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