In Europe, watch for pickpockets and scammers

Plaza de Espana in Seville Spain

In Europe, tricksters abound. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the rosemary scam!

When I was at the Plaza de Espana in Seville, my tour guide warned our group about a common scam to watch out for. 

This is the scam: Women will come up to you and offer you rosemary for good luck and a long life. Whatever you do, don’t take the rosemary or let them shove it in your hands. Because once you’re holding it, they will demand payment and make a scene if you don’t give them money. Even if you give them money, if they don’t think it’s enough they will continue to make a scene.

Pickpockets are also a concern, and these are some of the distraction techniques they might use:

👉🏻 A pickpocket takes a selfie, blocking a passageway and causing a lineup to form — thus creating a perfect “sitting duck” scenario for their partners.

👉🏻 A clumsy person bumps into a tourist and spills a drink on him. As the pickpocket is helping his mark to clean up, a partner is stealing his valuables.

👉🏻 A pickpocket asks you to sign a petition, then uses the clipboard to block the sight of his or her partner looting your bag or coat pocket.

👉🏻 A lost “tourist” asks for directions as you’re at the ATM. It might be legitimate, but it’s more likely that pickpockets are trying to steal your wallet or see your PIN.

Remember, most pickpockets work in groups and they are often adolescents. Some women will even have their babies with them.