sexta-feira, 1 de março de 2013

Pickpockets in Barcelona - Beaware

Barcelona is known for the pickpockets and the quantity of them trying to steal tourists. It is not about the violence involved, there is almost none, so you can walk in peace everywhere in Barcelona, but your wallet may disappear in the strangest situations.

The main targets for thief are easy access wallets. Wallets located on pockets easily visible or wallets inside woman handbags.

Our experience was fairly good, we were not victims at all, being Portuguese (with the Iberian look) it is easier to pass by as locals in the city. My wife even used a necklace and we did not have any problems with that.

One of the Scheme to steal in Barcelona

While we were lunching in the Parc de La Ciudad, we saw a scheme to steal something from a woman purse. In the stairs shown in the image below,

A tourist couple was walking down the stairs when suddenly three kids/teenagers walked faster down the stairs, one of them opens a map and holds it in front of the couple, the other one starts talking with them, as if he is a tourist helper that just wants to show something on a map. The third is "the thief", it is the one that is not in front of the couple, he stayed behind the couple and he was trying to put his hand in the woman handbag.

It is a strange situation, and the couple cannot walk, since the kids are around and they do not want to be rude to walk against them. The couple did not seemed interest and wanted to continue walking down the stairs, but they could only try, since the two "helpers" were in front of them.

After a while, the three kids left and the couple continued, we were on a bench in the garden so I cannot tell if anything was stolen, but I believe it was an annoying moment for them.

There was no violence involved, but if you get your wallet stolen it can ruin your vacations and you may have to lose time to go to the embassy or consulate.

Most of these kids are in waiting in the stairs for the people, they are not hiding and you can easily spot them.

Story of a friend.

We know a couple that also went to Barcelona but brought a small sad story, easily solved. 

They arrived at the airport and then took the bus, after a while and after taking a second bus, the girl noticed she did not have their Barcelona Card anymore, it was stolen from her handbag.

Fortunately, they went to a desk of the Barcelona Card and after telling them their story and showing them that they had bought the cards online starting on that day, the staff was nice enough and gave them two cards for the rest of their stay.

It was not a big loss in money, but it was at least one hour wasted.

More about scams
Video about the Scams in Barcelona by National Geographic, you can find it useful so you don't get scammed.


  • Carrying a fake wallet with something not important is a way to attract the attention of the pickpockets. This way if they want to steal your wallet they will probably steal the "fake" wallet and you will not lose anything important.
  • Do not show signs of luxury. you do not have to look poor or homeless, but most of these pickpockets know how to evaluate how much money someone may be carrying. I do not mean fancy clothes or wallets, but a pocket full that 
  • When paying, do not show all your money, try to keep it separated, so when you are paying for your lunch or a souvenir, you will only grab a twenty euro note instead of a bunch of notes.
  • If you have an handbag, try to keep it closed, so there is no way of foreign hands trying to sneak in, it is very easy and quick to steal something from an open handbag.
  • Leaving your bags unattended is a big risk, there seems to be always someone looking for these bags and they disappear in less than a minute.

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