How to avoid scams during the Spanish summer

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Spain is one of the most popular destinations for Australians during the European summer. From the historic streets of Barcelona and Madrid to the beaches of Majorca and Ibiza, Spain is the place to be for hot temperatures and summer fun.

However, like every country in the world, there are those in Spain who prey on tourists through various scams. While travel insurance is great protection for when things go wrong, it also pays to be smart and aware of possible scams when you’re out and about. Here are three well-known scams to avoid.

The football scam

Spain is one of the best footballing nations in the world and also home to arguably the biggest clubs in the world, Real Madrid and Barcelona. As football is more like a religion than a sport in Spain, you might come across games on the footpath or street while you explore the country. Perhaps, even the locals will invite you to play.

The problem is that when you put down your bags and belongings to play, your valuables are stolen without your knowledge. While this scam is simple, it’s very easy to be tempted to play and fall victim. Our advice, admire the sweet skills from the safety of the sidelines.

Flower pin scam

Spain is famous for its markets, street stalls and local vendors. This said, there are some more than ‘friendly’ individuals who will try and get you something like a flower pin for ‘free’. When you accept the pin, the vendor will either ask for money, accuse you of stealing or have distracted you enough for someone else pickpockets you.

The key in these situations is to be wary and ensure you know where your valuables are located. You can also politely reject the flower pin or gift and give it back to them.

Street pickpockets

Street pickpockets are common at major tourist attractions around the world, including Spanish locations such as Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia and Las Ramblas. Generally, pickpockets operate in the art of distraction – either when you’re admiring something or when someone takes your mind off protecting your valuables.

As such, around busy and crowded areas, always stay alert to the people around you and move if you feel unsafe. It might also be a good idea to leave valuables such as your passport, cash and jewellery at the hotel. Another good tip is to use a spare wallet to protect your cash or invest in a slash proof backpack.


TID is an Australian online travel insurance company.

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