How Not to Get Mugged/Scammed in Europe?

I'm heading to Europe next month and everyone I've spoken to has warned me about getting mugged and/or scammed.

I've done some research and can spot the obvious street scammer, it's the muggings that has me concerned.

Would appreciate any tips to avoid getting mugged or stories you can share.


  • +2

    Check this out

    This fella will walk you through almost every scam that exists in Europe. Lookup the ATM scam vid on his channel, more common than one would think.

  • +5

    A friend in the U.S. always carries "mug money", a few small notes in a back pocket… They keep their main wallet elsewhere, somewhere not obvious…

    • +3

      Fake wallet ready

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Do not flash money around. Have your passport / cash in a under clothing wallet. Do not go out at night alone or if you do stick to well lit busy areas. I am a very fast walker which also helps to make people targeting you stand out.

    • +4

      Have your passport / cash in a under clothing wallet. Do not go out at night alone

      I’ve done 10+ trips to Europe totalling over 2 years there. (Note: I have always been a tourist and have not lived there.

      I keep my money/cards in my backpack and as a solo traveller, have gone out alone at night A LOT (if you travel in winter, you have no choice if you want to eat dinner).

      What’s with the fear mongering on this thread? It’s appalling.

      • Our tour guide had her bag snatched with her laptop and passport in it. Two girls had their passports stolen out of their hand bags as they were on an escalator. A group went skinny dipping and all their phones, wallet everything gone in seconds. I had a gypsy girl jump on my to distract me while she went through my pockets, but had my money in an under clothing wallet so she didn't get anything. In Spain a lot of the girls from the tour said they kept being offered drugs / harassed / followed at night. This was my experience from a 20 day top deck trip, but you know.. each to their own.

        • +1

          I’m not saying to just go and be free and assume there is nothing bad that could happen. I have consistently said do what you would do here. Which means being aware of your surroundings.

          I have never walked around my home town carrying my passport - have you? Overseas, I keep it locked in my bag back in my room/dorm.

          In Aus, I wouldn’t leave my items unattended while I went skinny dipping, why would Europe be different?

          Unfortunately, women get offered drugs / harassed / followed at night in Australia too. Keep as vigilant as you would be here.

          If I was carrying a laptop in Australia, I would be a bit more cautious in general too and would be holding my bag so no one could just snatch it.

          If anyone started to get near my personal space in Australia I would have already walked across the street and if they followed and got too close, I’d physically push them away.

          Everything you have said could easily have happened in Australia. I keep aware of my surroundings here and there.

  • +6

    I've made my way through Europe a few times now and never got mugged. I didn't do or act any different to how I normally do.

    • Do you look European?

      • +1

        Do you mean white ?

        • Yes lol

          • @FareEvader: You know it's mostly non-European looking people who do the violent mugging right?

  • +2

    Just do what you do here. It’s really no different.

    • -1

      Do you look European?

      • +4

        Which “European”? Southern Italian? Norwegian? Greek? Austrian?

        I’m a 5’ tiny woman who travels solo which screams “scam/mug her!” I’ve been to Europe, Africa and Asia alone. I don’t “look” all three.

        Be aware of your surroundings. Keep your wits about you. Trust your instincts.

    • Europe is a big place.

      But anywhere in the world if someone holds a DSLR with bling outfit will set you apart.

      • I’ve been to the majority of Europe with my DSLR hanging around my neck.

        Yes, there are parts of some cities where you get a vibe so you’re more cautious, but that’s no different to parts of Australia.

  • some cities in particular are worse than others, even within the same country. look up some advice from people who have been to where you're going in recent years

    avoid street vendors if you're worried about rip offs, i recently watched an exposé by a guy who i think was czech on youtube, he was exposing street vendors who consistently overcharged foreigners and pretended to not understand them when they asked for less meat, but whenever a non tourist bought food from him, they had no problems and he never gave them more than they wanted. i think the same guy did an exposé on some kind of ticket scam, where you could buy tickets or passes for something (i forgot what it was) and some vendors who were in a very convenient spot to sell were overcharging, but you could buy the same ticket / pass on the official government website (not well advertised) for much cheaper.

    for muggings, just don't go out alone at night. it would be nice to go out on a midnight stroll in a foreign city, but it's risky. if you really want to go out, just don't take anything you would miss, no heirlooms or anything valuable that you cannot afford to replace.

  • +1

    Make sure not to wear an expensive watch if you visiting Europe, especially London.

  • +1

    dress like a hobo and dont have a shower for few weeks

  • Best way to avoid getting targeted is to blend in with locals - match your behaviour to your surroundings, act the way they do, go about your day with purpose and avoid looking lost or out of place. Most importantly, just don't act like an idiot tourist and you will be fine.

  • +1
    • Oooo ouch.

      There was one comment in that article that complained they had been charged for breadsticks.

      This is actually quite common all over Italy. You will get a “pane e coperto” charge, for bread and cover (service/tip). But it’s usually €1-4 per person, and should be displayed at the bottom of the menu that’s outside the restaurant.

      Some places don’t charge for the cover (and usually advertise this) but then charge you for the bread if you eat it.

  • +3

    I got scammed in Rome back in the 90s.
    I was ~21, walking around with my girlfriend, had only arrived the day before from Oz and was jetlagged.
    a car pulled up next to us and the driver asks us something in Italian.
    I said in Italian that I wasn't from there and couldn't help him (I had studied italian briefly at uni).
    He said "you're visiting! where are you from?"
    Me - "Australia"
    Him - "my cousin is in australia!, where in Australia?"
    Me - "Melbourne"
    Him - "my cousin lives in Coburg!"
    me (feeling a connection - lightens up/relaxes) - "cool"
    him - "why are you here in Rome?"
    me (To curry favour with my girlfriend) - "we are on our honey moon"
    him - "congratulations…say I am a designer from Milan, here as a present I have this leather jacket for you"
    and the guy hand me a plastic bag and inside there is a leather jacket (folded up).
    Me- 'thank you …are you sure?"
    him " yes, I am so happy to see young people in love"
    me - " thanks"
    him - "perhaps you can help me, I am visiting from Milan and my fuel card isn't working could you give me 10,000 lire (this is the olden days pre- euro - about AU$10).
    me (feeling grateful for the leather jacket I open my wallet and I only have a GBP20 note (AU$40).
    him - "that will be fine" plucks out of my wallet and drives off.

    I looked at the leather jacket - it's vinyl. it's ugly, …..and then it dawns on me that the dude just scammed me.
    it happened extremely fast, the guy bought into my confidence and trust, and I was young and naive. it was so smooth it took me a few minutes to replay it in my head.

    lesson learned.

    more recently in Paris (2015) walking around next to the Seine and was stopped by 2 women with clipboards. they were wanting me to sign a petition to improve child literacy - sure OK. signed this badly photocopied piece of paper. the women then said "ok now you must give me 20euros. I said "why?". she said "because you signed the paper". I walked off.

    • +1

      I've seen the petition thing even here in Sydney pre covid

  • +1

    Here is some advice with illustrations to help you set the scene…

    Also, this.

  • +1

    If someone approaches you asking for money for a charity in Europe, it's a scam. 100% of the time. Doesn't matter how honest and sincere their spiele sounds, it's always a scam.

    Also, never give money to beggars in Europe. If you give money to one, expect to suddenly be swarmed by half a dozen of them. You won't even see it coming.

    Speaking from experience.

    • Its the wave of recent refugees there are wreaking havoc on the European society.
      Media ignores it, authorities ignore it.
      It goes on.

      • Scammers have been common in Europe for a long time.

        • I didn’t say otherwise

          Scams have existed everywhere since forever.
          I was talking about the disproportionate rise that has taken place recently. Also, the two kinds of scams listed above by ‘Cluster’ are new and unique, invented by the refugees.

  • +2

    I got scammed by a dude in Czech who approached me wanting to break a large note. He wanted to give me 2x500 czech koruna's for my 1000. This was outside a currency exchange so in my head I thought I'd go in there and change it back and check with them straight after but it was too late, I'd given 1000 Koruna's (~$60) in exchange for 2 random pieces of paper that resembles money. Dude was long gone by the time I came back out of the exchange shop.

    • We left our locked car for 10 min in Prague to buy some snacks and it was broken into and our stuff stolen.

      They were watching us I'm sure

  • Had a hand try to dip into my hip/side pocket in high street London. But my hand was already in that pocket. Worst threat was in Toulouse France when two males (appeared ice affected) were targetting us. Same location where an oz cricketer (from memory) was assaulted and mugged, after leaving a restaurant.

  • After living and travelling in Europe I eventually got used to no longer carrying my wallet in back pocket. Almost immediately reverted back in Australia even after living away for 2 years

  • -1

    After a short while you will notice most of the scamming and mugging is being done by the same type of people. It helps to be vigilant any time you see such a person who fits the profile.

    I won't say who/what it is and neither should you because it's no longer politically or socially acceptable to care for your own safety. Just do it internally.

    And as a general rule, if somebody speaks very fluent English outside of the UK, it's usually a scam.

  • Just use common sense.

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