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Bangalore Business Network [This Network is not currently active and cannot accept new posts] | | Topics
BBNers - International Experiences Thread - Sharing Global Information & ExperiencesViews: 630
Nov 06, 2006 10:19 pm Con Job in Spain
Nirmal Shah NEVER - repeat - NEVER carry your passport around when you hang out in the city - its always better to leave it in the hotel safe. You can carry a copy with your for ID purposes - you are not required by law to carry your passport on you everywhere - so dont! If a policeman asks you, suggest that you can take him to your hotel. There are several known incidents of con-men posing as cops and taking away your passport.

Real incident I went through in Barcelona (where crowds move around some places well pass midnight, and so you would automatically assume that its a safe city): I was walking on a nearly empty street (adjoining a very crowded street corner) when someone who looked like a tourist asked me if I speak Spanish. When I said I dont, he spoke in broken English and showed me a tattered, and well worn scratch pad with an address. Apprently, he was looking for some street address. In hindsight, I realized that he must have been using this same page on the scratch pad with everyone he tries to trick - it was very worn and could not have been something he was using for the first time.

I told him I didnt know where this was, when suddenly someone jumped in and showed what looked like a police badge (but no photo ID). He said he was a cop and asked what is going on. This happened very swiftly and is usually done in a way that gives you no time to get your bearings. Before I could say anything - he asked for our passports. The guy 'looking' for the address flashed out something that could have been a passport, but the cop insisted that I show him the passport. I was not carrying mine with me (fortunately for me) and I suggested that we go to my hotel two blocks away so that he can check it. Immediately the 'cop' changed his tack and asked me if the other guy was try to sell me drugs or something. While he did this, the other guy slipped away as swiflty as the cop had jumped in. The 'cop' said I can go and before I could figure what happened, he promptly vanished too. All this in less than 4-5 minutes.

I later learned that this is a common con-job and had I shown my passport, I would have been asked to wait while it was being 'verified' and the cop and the other person would have vanished with my passport.

Beware of tricks of this nature - never show your passport to anyone when you are alone. If someone claims to be a cop - ask for a photo ID. It is likely that you wont know what the ID says, but usually they will balk when you start asking questions and you will be 'allowed to go'. If pushed, say that he can go with you to your hotel and check your passport. Most of these guys are otherwise 'harmless' and will find a way to get away from you at that point.

Private Reply to Nirmal Shah (new win)

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