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Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
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Travel2 months ago

Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours

Italy is a land of many faces. Incredible architecture, nuanced food culture, perfect weather, and a landscape that you’ll always remember. It’s all there. No wonder it got fourth place in 2021 in the number of international tourist arrivals.

But sadly, because of this, the country has also become a breeding ground for scammers preying on gullible travelers. And one TikTok user and her boyfriend got to experience it firsthand.

On one of their recent trips, Shauna and her partner went to Milan, where they expected to have a good time and relax. However, they immediately fell into a few local traps, designed to lure away their money.

Continue scrolling to learn what happened to them, and don’t miss the conversation we had about staying safe abroad with writer, adventurer, and creator of the travel blog Vicky Flip Flop.

More info: TikTok

TikToker Shauna and her boyfriend recently visited Milan, Italy, and were targeted by tourist scammers two times in just a couple of hours

Image credits: shaunacoade

So she made a video about it to warn everyone to be careful

@shaunacoade Scammers in Milan #scammers #milan #travel #beaware #scam #touristtrap ♬ original sound – S

For many hundreds of years, the Italian peninsula has seen waves of tourists and newcomers from wealthy countries. It was a prime destination for men and women from aristocratic families on a continental Grand Tour. But for the past six-or-so decades, young people from abroad have been doing their own low-budget version of this rite of passage, with roving backpackers in shorts and hiking boots strolling through every city, large and small.

But when visitors display money – paying for a coffee with a credit card, buying expensive watches or shoes, and eating in overpriced restaurants – someone is likely nearby, viewing them as easy pickings.

“City centers and popular tourist attractions are bad for tourist scammers,” Vicky Flip Flop, a trained journalist who has been to over 75 countries, told Bored Panda. “But I’d say the worst places are transport terminals. Scammers know that when you arrive at a new destination, you’re tired and desperate to get to your accommodation and you don’t get to know the lay of the land. You’re vulnerable. You need to mentally prepare yourself, when you exit the bus/train/boat, for any and all kinds of scams.”

Shauna also shared the pictures the scammer took for which he wanted 30 euros

Image credits: shaunacoade

Image credits: shaunacoade

Image credits: shaunacoade

Image credits: shaunacoade

Image credits: shaunacoade

There is no shortage of scams at all scales. For example, you have minor annoyances like the guys in Rome dressed as gladiators who are eager to take pictures with you, only to then insist upon ten euros for the privilege. But you also have online listings of houses that don’t reveal the extent of earthquake damage and want a top-drawer price.

Most importantly, thieves and scammers know they are likely to get away before being discovered. Or the victim won’t know how to find the police and report it. Or even worse, the police will respond but with shrugged shoulders. So they continue running their schemes.

In fact, Vicky has even experienced scammers in Italy herself. She had the “pleasure” of meeting them in Florence at the Duomo. “We gave a skinny female beggar some money and a pizza as we felt sorry for her. Then we watched from the steps as she went and delivered it to a fat old man sitting on the other side of the piazza,” the traveler recalled. “He tucked into the pizza while she went back to asking the tourists for more money. He seemed to have quite the operation going on!”

“If they’re being really pushy, that’s a sure sign,” Vicky said on how to notice these individuals with malicious intent. “Asking for money or offering a service you didn’t ask for is another one. Not leaving you alone or trying to convince you to come with them is another.”

“If you feel in any way uncomfortable or intimidated, you need to get out of the situation ASAP. Say a clear ‘no’ or even better if you can do it in their language. Don’t smile and give stern and closed-off body language. Tell them to go away and that you’re not interested.”

To avoid such situations, Vicky urges you to “do your research beforehand and have directions and important info printed or written out so you don’t have to have your phone out all the time, distracting you.”

That way, you will be able to enjoy everything Italy has to offer with far fewer headaches. And there’s a lot to see and experience. To start preparing for the trip, check out Vicky’s texts 22 Amazing Places to Go for a Long Weekend in Italy and 10 Awesome Stops on an Italy Road Trip You Need to Do.

After realizing what happened, the couple went on with their trip

Image credits: shaunacoade

But soon got entangled in another scheme

Image credits: shaunacoade

According to the travel blog The Stupid Bear, the most common scams in Italy include:

  • Pickpocketing;
  • Gladiator photo scam;
  • The designer coat;
  • Roses and bracelets;
  • Museum ticket scams;
  • Romeo rats;
  • Out of menu;
  • Helping scam;
  • Fake police;
  • Taxi drivers.

Here’s what people said after hearing their story

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Alexandru Bucur
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I can't stop rolling my eyes at this, because they must not be the sharpest tools in the shed to fall for such basic scams, not once, but twice and then post this online. Did they live under a rock before they traveled to Italy, because I know those particular scams aren't even uniquely Italian, they can be found all over the place from Mexico to Nepal and in the age of free, boundless information, there's really no excuse for not knowing this.

Janet C
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Some people just shouldn't travel.

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LilliVB
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm Italian. I know the supposed scams those two tourists were subjected to. They are easily avoidable in two simple ways. You just say no. I don't want your photo, I don't want your bracelet and so on. Or you don't pay what they are asking for. You give them a reasonable amount if you are willing or you give them nothing and if they are stirring troubles, go find a cop. There are always cops in those touristic places, like the Duomo of Milan or the Castello Sforzesco. They can't do what they are doing and they are going to run like hell. And I'm not saying that what those people are doing is right, but come on. You can't be so gullible to not know that touristic places, and not only in Italy, are a really a good places for this kind of things. You are going to find scammers and pickpockets, so maybe being a little bit more careful and don't trust random strangers would be a good idea.

Phyzzi
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The OP was probably on their first big trip and if you don't know you don't know. What you say is good advice though, along with something like "oh, for that much I need a written receipt". That said, there is sort of a reverse to these scams which is that one of the best ways to avoid them is to just keep your phone and camera put away (unless you are a professional or researcher) and enjoy actually being somewhere. If you are alert and enjoying the actual destination, (and maybe acting a little bit like "don't bother me I am not here for you") then you are less likely to be targeted by scams, you won't irk people who didn't want to be in your pictures anyway, and you might actually take something personal away from the visit. Also, I think it's worth reflecting for a second on who is really getting scammed, by which I mean I bet enough people watched and commented on their video that they earned over €40 on it.

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Chich
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Sorry, not a lot of sympathy here. It takes very little to look into it ahead of time and find out what scams are prevalent and how to avoid scams in general. One time "DoInG yOuR Own ReSeArCh" actually pays off.

Sequoia
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If you have never been scammed and haven't heard of this kind of thing, you deserve no sympathy? Sounds like victim blaming to me.

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Alexandru Bucur
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I can't stop rolling my eyes at this, because they must not be the sharpest tools in the shed to fall for such basic scams, not once, but twice and then post this online. Did they live under a rock before they traveled to Italy, because I know those particular scams aren't even uniquely Italian, they can be found all over the place from Mexico to Nepal and in the age of free, boundless information, there's really no excuse for not knowing this.

Janet C
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Some people just shouldn't travel.

Load More Replies...
LilliVB
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm Italian. I know the supposed scams those two tourists were subjected to. They are easily avoidable in two simple ways. You just say no. I don't want your photo, I don't want your bracelet and so on. Or you don't pay what they are asking for. You give them a reasonable amount if you are willing or you give them nothing and if they are stirring troubles, go find a cop. There are always cops in those touristic places, like the Duomo of Milan or the Castello Sforzesco. They can't do what they are doing and they are going to run like hell. And I'm not saying that what those people are doing is right, but come on. You can't be so gullible to not know that touristic places, and not only in Italy, are a really a good places for this kind of things. You are going to find scammers and pickpockets, so maybe being a little bit more careful and don't trust random strangers would be a good idea.

Phyzzi
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The OP was probably on their first big trip and if you don't know you don't know. What you say is good advice though, along with something like "oh, for that much I need a written receipt". That said, there is sort of a reverse to these scams which is that one of the best ways to avoid them is to just keep your phone and camera put away (unless you are a professional or researcher) and enjoy actually being somewhere. If you are alert and enjoying the actual destination, (and maybe acting a little bit like "don't bother me I am not here for you") then you are less likely to be targeted by scams, you won't irk people who didn't want to be in your pictures anyway, and you might actually take something personal away from the visit. Also, I think it's worth reflecting for a second on who is really getting scammed, by which I mean I bet enough people watched and commented on their video that they earned over €40 on it.

Load More Replies...
Chich
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Sorry, not a lot of sympathy here. It takes very little to look into it ahead of time and find out what scams are prevalent and how to avoid scams in general. One time "DoInG yOuR Own ReSeArCh" actually pays off.

Sequoia
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If you have never been scammed and haven't heard of this kind of thing, you deserve no sympathy? Sounds like victim blaming to me.

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