Scams in Rome
So you dream of visiting the eternal city , living “la dolce vita” , the simple life that allows one to fully indulge in life’s greatest pleasures?
When it comes to Rome, I have a love & hate relationship. Let’s face it ,I love their food ,wines & flare for designs but I dislike the dishonesty of the scams I see .
I will tell you how not to get scammed so you can have a pleasant visit. There are many scams in Rome and of course all around Europe . The point is, don’t be too trusting with anyone, especially when they approach you.
Trust me, when a stranger is approaching you there is only 1 motive. Yes, it is sly way to get money from you, that is all ! They have nothing special or interesting to tell you, they just want your money !!! Ignore them, walk away, avoid eye contact.
Here are my top scams that I continuously see when I travel to Rome. I get angry as it still occurs & these dishonest people get away with it. I only feel sorry for the victims.
The Fake Beggar
The fake beggar is everywhere the tourist goes. You will see them either walking hunchback with a cane or begging on the ground in the streets . These fakes have been caught on camera from Striscia La Notizia . Most of the time they are young roman Gypsies & pregnant. There is a law in Italy if a woman is pregnant she will not get arrested. So they continue to scam the trusting people.
The picture I added, notice her hands: they are NOT hands of an 80 year old but young healthy hands. Please never give your money to them, treat yourself to pizza instead !
Fake Designer Bags & Vendors
Who doesn’t think of owning a Prada or Gucci? You would probably sell your soul to get one of those bags and I don’t blame you. Italian fashion screams timeless ,classic & elegance.
Do not buy any fake designer bags, it will be the dumbest thing you can do. Let me explain why.
Due to some political issue in Rome, the police have been playing cat and mouse with these fake designer bags sellers. Usually they are refuges from from Africa and for some odd possible corrupt reason, they will not arrest the refuge but will charge the VICTIM!!! yes it is true, without your knowing you can get a fine of 1000$ buying a fake ! Again they will approach you because they know the tourists from the locals really well. They are sly and manipulative, so beware and ignore them.
The Tourist Menu
This is far the most deceiving for tourists. There are NO tourist menu, it is just an exaggerated price of generic Italian food. You will usually see this is the main tourist attractions, especially in the centre . To get the real authentic Italian cuisine you should go to restaurants, it is important to do research before just getting in a restaurant.
Speak to locals, hotel suggestions or a reputable food tour guide who can assist.
Short Changing Tourists
Whether you buy a bus ticket, a tour or anything that there is a monetary exchange, count your change back. There was a documentary once that a seller would short change 1 euro to every tourist waiting in line for a tour. Can you imagine in 1 day he can get over 100 euros in his pockets dishonestly !!
They have tried it with me and I have got them, 1 euro is 1 euro !! Again don’t be so trusting, be vigilant ! Italy is about survival of the fittest .
Taxi cabs can increase price, sales person inflates a price or a bank person can short change you in the hopes you did not notice. If you pay with a credit card , there is that sales person that will pretend to be talking on the phone to distract you. The purpose is to take a picture of your credit card !
I suggest to use money but keep a small amount on you . Also, please remember all stores or any monetary transaction, you MUST be given a receipt ! It is by law and if they don’t give it , you were scammed into them not claiming a certain portion on their taxes !
Be careful of the overly friendly local or any fabricated story to lure you into their BS. Motive? Of course your money !
The “Let’s Support a Drug Free Italy ” petition. They will approach you trying to make you believe you are signing something good so you can feel like a Good Samaritan. Nope, again they want you to donate to pocket the money!
I can write a whole novel on this, but will make it brief and to the point. Watch your belongings at all times !! Whether you are in airport, train station specifically and buses or trams, please be careful.
There are roman Gypsies as young as 12 years old that work the buses and trams to pickpocket tourists and people. The are wise , sly and dishonest. As a first time traveller to Italy you may not yet recognize them. It is a little difficult for me to describe them in details but if you see a young child on a bus or trams not part of a social circle of school mates, chances are he or she is a Gypsies working to steal money from you.
Again, keep you valuable in a safe place on you like a money belt or a cross purse for women. Do not keep a backpack because they pretend to push you so they open zippers from the back.
Made in Italy
Made in Italy sign should be authentic. It should be engrained on the sole of the shoe and NOT as a print. It should not say “Styled in Italy ” this is another dishonest way to pretend it is fabricated in Italy . It is NOT. These are from China !
The point is not to give in to their manipulative ways to get your attention. You are not rude if you ignore them , you are smart ! Italy is a great country to visit, lots of history , great food and beautiful landscapes everywhere. Just enjoy it but be careful !
For more information I added this link for more details.