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There are so many scams out there involving travelers that it’s impossible to keep track of them all. I’m a seasoned traveler and consider myself pretty savvy but the bad guys are getting so good it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish between what’s a scam and what isn’t. RELATED: Don’t Fall For This Scam at Airports
Last week, I wrote about a clear cup scam that is popular in Paris and will no doubt make its way to other countries. My buddy and fellow American travel writer Kevin Revolinski just emailed me about another new scam, which will probably pop up in popular tourist hotspots around the world as well.

Kevin writes: “I saw the clear cup scam post in your newsletter, and it reminded me I had meant to contact you about our trip back in November in Rome. A group of maybe four or five young guys set up at the door of a subway car at the end of the platform and after letting the other passengers off, they stall you so that you don’t get on to the car before the doors close.

“My wife and I got separated. They let her walk past as though they were being polite, and then clumsily kept cutting me off as I was trying to get on after her. The door started beeping and I just thought they were being idiots so I pushed hard and squeezed through the two of them into the car.

“The door closed and two of the guys were still on the car and they turned around and were trying to force the door open again. Two guys on the outside came and helped them open it and they jumped off. A few passengers just sort of sat there staring dumbly. My wife and I were just standing there in shock a bit and then I started checking my pockets to make sure I hadn’t been picked. But all I could think afterwards is that I would have been standing with four guys alone late night on a train platform after everyone had just cleared out. I Googled it and it seems this is a regular occurrence in Paris as well. Scary stuff!”

That is indeed scary and the only way to prevent something like this from happening in my eyes is to not travel by subway late at night. When I travel, I rarely stay out after 11pm; now that I’m a husband and father, I’m home at night with my family. But if I did stay out later, this would be the time to spend extra money for a taxi, rideshare or a car service.

If you have no choice for whatever reason and need to take the subway, then I would hold my wife’s hand and avoid taking the first or last car since they usually have the least amount of people in them. Better to opt for one in the middle since they usually have more people. But remember to watch out for pickpockets. And speaking of which, here’s another great tip because anyone can get pickpocketed: Rick Steves Got Pickpocketed in Paris: Here’s What He Wants You to Know

Again, I’ve traveled all over the world and have taken public transportation extensively and (knock on wood) have never had a problem and tips like this one should hopefully only help to keep it that way. Thanks, Kevin!

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1 Comment On "Travel Writer Exposes New Scam Involving European Subways and Trains"
  1. Donna|

    This is what I exactly happened to my husband and me years ago except it was in late afternoon. We were traveling with German friends who warned us about the pickpockets. My husband put rubber bands around his wallet just in case. Our “robbers” let the wives on the train and then accosted the men. One thing they didn’t realize was that the guys were military officers and eventually let go of them. Yelling in German and fighting the pickpockets we were able to get on the train.
    We weren’t aware of the vest you promote at the time.

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