Beware of Pickpockets!

Barcelona is a beautiful city with a rich history and culture. However, like many popular tourist destinations, it is also known for scams and thefts. In this article we’re going to share some tips on how to avoid these unfortunate situations.

One of the most common cons in Barcelona is when people pretend to have been robbed and ask for money to get back to their hotel or embassy. Sometimes these people sit at the side of the pavement with a sign, sometimes they approach people in popular places like train stations or busy tourist sights. They usually seem distraught and desperate and often ask for relatively large amounts of money, not just a few Euros. This scam is particularly effective as it is easy for people to empathise with someone and they can easily imagine how they would feel if they were in the same position. These scammers usually have really elaborate backstories and often have very convincing accents. On a good day they can make a lot of money from sympathetic tourists who want to help!

Another scam to watch out for is the “broken cashpoint” trick. This involves someone approaching you near a cashpoint or ATM and telling you that it is broken. They will then offer to help you withdraw money from a different ATM, but will actually steal your card and withdraw money themselves.

Pickpocketing is also a common problem in Barcelona, especially in crowded tourist areas. Pickpockets often work in teams, with one person distracting you while the other steals your valuables. They may also use tactics such as bumping into you or asking for directions to distract you. Sometimes if you are sitting on a terrace, pickpockets may approach you and put something, like a newspaper, on the table so that you can’t see when they take your wallet, phone or glasses.

Unfortunately, in recent times, thieves have become bolder and rather than just pickpocketing have started snatching bags from women’s shoulders and watches off people’s wrists. Sometimes these robberies can be quite aggressive and the victims can be injured and shaken up.

To avoid theft in Barcelona, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables close. Avoid carrying large sums of cash and keep your passport and other important documents in a secure place. Be wary of anyone who approaches you with an offer that seems too good to be true.

If you are robbed, it is important to report the incident to the police as soon as possible. You’ll need to go to the nearest police station and report what happened to get a crime number that you can use to claim on your insurance, if you have it! The police may be able to recover your stolen items, but this is extremely unlikely. Make sure to also contact your embassy or consulate for assistance if you need it.

Fortunately, many locals in Barcelona recognise scams and pickpocketing when they see it and will warn tourists to be careful.

In conclusion, while Barcelona is a beautiful city to visit, it is important to stay vigilant and aware of potential scams and thefts. Although the cityis generally very safe , it is important to follow these tips and stay alert so that you can enjoy your trip without falling victim to these unfortunate situations.


  • Approach: to move towards someone or something
  • Avoid: to stay away from someone or something
  • Backstories: the past experiences or events that have influenced a person’s current situation or behavior
  • Belongings: the things that someone owns or has with them
  • Bolder: more confident and courageous
  • Cashpoint: a machine that dispenses cash from a bank account when a personal identification number is entered
  • Distraught: extremely upset and emotional
  • Embassy: a building where the government of one country has offices and representatives in another country
  • Insurance: a financial product that provides protection against certain risks, such as loss or damage to property or illness or injury
  • Pavement: the hard surface of a road or sidewalk
  • Rather: to a certain extent or degree
  • Scan/con: an act of quickly looking over something or someone, often with suspicion or deceitful intent
  • Share: to divide or distribute something among people
  • Snatching: taking something quickly and often forcefully
  • Thefts: the act of taking someone else’s property without permission or legal right
  • Wary: cautious and careful in order to avoid danger or risk
  • Withdraw: to remove or take away something from a particular place or person
  • Wrist: the joint between the hand and the arm, or the part of the body where this joint is located.