Watch out, watch out, there’s thieves about!

Published on 6/25/2015 in Safety

If you are coming over for to spend Christmas in Spain, may I remind you to be very aware of potential thefts and be cautious. I, myself was mugged in Puerto Banus on Saturday. I was in McDonald’s with my daughter with my bag sat on my lap. They quickly snatched the bag from my lap. We were due to go to London this week but haven’t been able to because my passport was in the stolen bag. Unfortunately, I had brought everything out with me that day. Inside the bag was my mobile phone, a purse with all my bank cards, my house keys, car keys and a ticket for the car park where my car was parked.

Ironically, just a couple of weeks ago someone in Zara Ladieswear shop, again in Puerto Banus, had tried to distract me to attempt to steal my bag. She was trying on a coat and asking for my opinion whilst I was trying on shoes with my bag on the floor. My instincts told me that she was ‘acting’ so I quickly moved on and I spotted her doing the same with other people. They employ all kinds of tactics and prey on preoccupied shoppers.

Haven spoken to friends, they have informed me that they have heard of many similar incidents recently. So, I would advise anybody coming out at Christmas to take heed of the following:

  • Only carry the essentials with you.
  • Do not bring too many cards with you.
  • Ladies, carry your bag with the strap across your chest and do not put it down anywhere.
  • Parents with young children should not hang bags with purses etc inside of pushchairs and prams.
  • I appreciate that you will be on holiday and enjoying the festive spirit but be wary of peculiar types who try to strike up conversations with you. It is better to be rude than robbed.
  • Keep a list at hand with all your banks’ phone numbers in case you are robbed and need to call them to cancel your cards.
  • Try to distribute valuables amongst your party i.e. don’t have one person responsible for carrying everything.

If you are robbed, you should immediately go to a police station to do a denuncia. They will ask you exactly what has been lost and will make a report. You will be given a copy of the denuncia. If you are in the Costa del Sol and need to go to the British Consulate the address is Consulado Reino Unido, Calle Mauricio Moro Pareto, Malaga. The phone number is 952 352 300. If, for example, your passport is stolen they will help you get back to the UK. For more information see : UK in Spain

Written by: Susan Pedalino

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Women In Spain

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DavidJC said:
Sunday, August 2, 2015 @ 8:48 AM

May I just share with you a recent experience I had which apparently seems to be an all too common occurance.
In May of this year I was picking my partner up from Barcelona Airport, and was parked outside the terminal in the drop off area in my UK registered car.
A smartly dressed gentleman, apparantly on his mobile, walked past the car but then stopped and told me I had a flat rear tyre. I got out of the car to take a look, but thank goodness I took the keys out of the ignition. Nothing wrong with the tyre of course, the man had dissappeared, and when I got back in the car a cooler bag (which may have looked like a camera case), with a bottle of water inside had been stolen, this took no more than 10 seconds I would say.
Stay safe everybody!

Gaby said:
Monday, April 18, 2011 @ 10:12 AM

My parents got robbed on their first day in Spain. Although they are usually careful (and I had warned them) that day they had everything in my mom´s purse, all their cash money and passport. Murphy´s law. When I was studying in Madrid, my girlfriend got robbed 6 times in one year. Once in Barcelona (with a knife), once in Canary Island (the car got stolen), the rest in Madrid. I only got robbed once (a record by local standards), my landlord did not return my security deposit when I left. She did the same to all tenants (all exchange students from different countries), 20 people x 500euros, we learned that she does the same each year. Spain does absolutely nothing to protect tourists and strangers, especially now with the financial crisis they are having, anything they can keep within their borders is consider tourist tax. If you complain to the cops which just stand around smoking and having beers while chating among themselves they will tell you it is the fault of the immigrants, arabs, blacks, and latinos (goes to show they despise all foreigners and explains why so many people resort to thefts). The immigrants who try to make a somewhat honnest living selling fake purses or watched on the public squares or Cold sodas on the beach are hunted down like animals by herds of cops, leaving desperate people with only one option (a very lucrative and RISK FREE carreer) pickpocketing. I caught two pickpockets once which were trying to steal from my girlfriend (two fat gispsy women), we called the cops, made a report, 13 months later they send us a letter to present ourselves in court. But we were already in Canada by that time, and there was no way we were going to pay a plane ticket just to have the culprits walk away with a warning.

- Only bring the strict essential.
- Use your credit cards , and debit card to take out money as you go. It is better to pay some commissions then to have your savings stolen.
- Forget about holding your purse closely to your chest, that will only confirm the fact that you have something valuable. Thieves are professionals, they will find a way, and if you are lucky you will not know your were stolen until it is too late.
- Never travel with your passport. leave it in the hotel safe (unless in Italy were they will rob you in the hotel with the collaboration of its employees).
- make photocopies of your passport and send a scanned version to yourself by email.
- The best trick is to have a decoy wallet, with just enough money to pay for ice cream and stuff, a couple of ID´s, library card, COSCO card, etc. That is the wallet you take out in public. That saved me in Cuba, they stole my wallet with a Canadian Tire card and 5$ US, and 2$ in Canadian tire bills. My cash was hidden in my shoes, folded in my inner jean pocket, and in an inside pocket of my shirt.
- Never flash big bills, wear your best watch, show off your MontBlanc pen, etc.
- If anyone gets close to you and tries to distract you, trust your spider sense! It is probable that it is a diversion and someone is helping himself to your stuff behind your back.
- Thefts takes only a fraction of a second. There is usually no time to react. Be prepared.
- Be especially careful with gypsies, women and kids.
- Careful at the atm, go with someone, and don´t let anyone approach or distract you, especially kids. Gipsy´s send their kids to rob because they are underage and you can´t give them a beating nor send them to jail. It is a risk free technique.

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