Navigating Greece, a country that has faced financial challenges and grappled with the influx of refugees, demands a keen awareness of potential petty crime. The confluence of circumstances has led to a perception that “foreigners” are responsible for such incidents, particularly in tourist destinations. To safeguard yourself, here are some key tips:
Avoid standing out as a tourist. Keep conspicuous signs like a large camera or constant phone usage at bay. Walk confidently with a clear sense of direction, as if you know the area well. If you need to check directions, do so at a café rather than on the street.
Always keep your belongings within view. Refrain from placing your wallet, money, or phone in your back pocket, where they are more susceptible to theft.
Be especially alert for pickpockets in major cities. Exercise caution in crowded places, as these are often prime targets for thieves.
Public transportation can be a hotspot for pickpocketing. Whether at airports, bus/train stations, or the port, maintain a watchful eye on your valuables.
Utilize a decoy wallet to misdirect thieves. Diversify the placement of your cash and cards on your person. Investing in a discreet money belt under your clothing can also enhance security. Specialized anti-theft travel clothing with hidden pockets offers additional protection.
At accommodations, lock up your bags, and use the available safes for valuable items.
Greek nightlife is generally safe, but exercise responsible drinking and remain alert. Greeks often gather outdoors in village squares, fostering an inclusive café culture. When seated outside, keep a close eye on your belongings.
Here are some prevalent scams in Greece to watch out for:
- Crowded Public Transport Theft: Be cautious when using crowded public transport, especially during peak hours. Scammers may use the crowded environment as an opportunity to bump into you and steal from your bag while you’re distracted. Stay vigilant and keep your belongings secure, even if you’re in close proximity to others.
- The Nun Scam: Beware of individuals dressed as nuns who may approach you with the intention of giving you a cross. These impostors will try to distract you while an accomplice steals your belongings. Politely but firmly decline any interactions and avoid being taken in by their ploy.
- Café Scam: Never leave your valuables, such as phones, cameras, or wallets, on the table while you’re eating or drinking. Scammers may use distractions like maps, questions, or signs to divert your attention while their accomplice swipes your belongings. Stay attentive and keep your valuables in sight.
- Baby Begging Scam: Be cautious when approached by women with babies asking for money. While this can be a heart-wrenching situation, scammers have been known to exploit the situation to distract you while they attempt to steal from you.
- Taxi Scams: Taxi scams are a concern in many parts of the world, including Greece. Watch out for drivers who try to overcharge you for rides to and from the airport or port. Familiarize yourself with the standard fare rates and ensure that the driver adheres to them. Also, when paying, count your money carefully and be wary of any attempts to switch notes.
- Use Ride-Share Apps: To mitigate taxi scams, consider using ride-share apps like Beat. This allows you to book rides using your credit card, ensuring transparent pricing and often better customer service. These apps can help you avoid potential taxi-related hassles.
While these scams exist, it’s important to note that they are not exclusive to Greece and can occur in many tourist destinations around the world. By staying alert, practicing common-sense safety measures, and being cautious of your surroundings, you can help protect yourself from falling victim to these schemes and make the most of your time in Greece.
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