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Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For … – Bored Panda

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Italy is a land of many faces. Incredible architecture, nuanced food culture, perfect weather, and a landscape that you’ll always remember. It’s all there. No wonder it got fourth place in 2021 in the number of international tourist arrivals.
But sadly, because of this, the country has also become a breeding ground for scammers preying on gullible travelers. And one TikTok user and her boyfriend got to experience it firsthand.
On one of their recent trips, Shauna and her partner went to Milan, where they expected to have a good time and relax. However, they immediately fell into a few local traps, designed to lure away their money.
Continue scrolling to learn what happened to them, and don’t miss the conversation we had about staying safe abroad with writer, adventurer, and creator of the travel blog Vicky Flip Flop.
More info: TikTok
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Image credits: shaunacoade

Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
For many hundreds of years, the Italian peninsula has seen waves of tourists and newcomers from wealthy countries. It was a prime destination for men and women from aristocratic families on a continental Grand Tour. But for the past six-or-so decades, young people from abroad have been doing their own low-budget version of this rite of passage, with roving backpackers in shorts and hiking boots strolling through every city, large and small.
But when visitors display money – paying for a coffee with a credit card, buying expensive watches or shoes, and eating in overpriced restaurants – someone is likely nearby, viewing them as easy pickings.
“City centers and popular tourist attractions are bad for tourist scammers,” Vicky Flip Flop, a trained journalist who has been to over 75 countries, told Bored Panda. “But I’d say the worst places are transport terminals. Scammers know that when you arrive at a new destination, you’re tired and desperate to get to your accommodation and you don’t get to know the lay of the land. You’re vulnerable. You need to mentally prepare yourself, when you exit the bus/train/boat, for any and all kinds of scams.”
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Image credits: shaunacoade
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Image credits: shaunacoade
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Image credits: shaunacoade
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Image credits: shaunacoade
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Image credits: shaunacoade
There is no shortage of scams at all scales. For example, you have minor annoyances like the guys in Rome dressed as gladiators who are eager to take pictures with you, only to then insist upon ten euros for the privilege. But you also have online listings of houses that don’t reveal the extent of earthquake damage and want a top-drawer price.
Most importantly, thieves and scammers know they are likely to get away before being discovered. Or the victim won’t know how to find the police and report it. Or even worse, the police will respond but with shrugged shoulders. So they continue running their schemes.
In fact, Vicky has even experienced scammers in Italy herself. She had the “pleasure” of meeting them in Florence at the Duomo. “We gave a skinny female beggar some money and a pizza as we felt sorry for her. Then we watched from the steps as she went and delivered it to a fat old man sitting on the other side of the piazza,” the traveler recalled. “He tucked into the pizza while she went back to asking the tourists for more money. He seemed to have quite the operation going on!”
“If they’re being really pushy, that’s a sure sign,” Vicky said on how to notice these individuals with malicious intent. “Asking for money or offering a service you didn’t ask for is another one. Not leaving you alone or trying to convince you to come with them is another.”
“If you feel in any way uncomfortable or intimidated, you need to get out of the situation ASAP. Say a clear ‘no’ or even better if you can do it in their language. Don’t smile and give stern and closed-off body language. Tell them to go away and that you’re not interested.”
To avoid such situations, Vicky urges you to “do your research beforehand and have directions and important info printed or written out so you don’t have to have your phone out all the time, distracting you.”
That way, you will be able to enjoy everything Italy has to offer with far fewer headaches. And there’s a lot to see and experience. To start preparing for the trip, check out Vicky’s texts 22 Amazing Places to Go for a Long Weekend in Italy and 10 Awesome Stops on an Italy Road Trip You Need to Do.
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Image credits: shaunacoade
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Image credits: shaunacoade
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
According to the travel blog The Stupid Bear, the most common scams in Italy include:
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
Couple Travel To Italy, Are Flabbergasted When They Fall For Obvious Tourist Traps 2 Times Within Hours
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Rokas is a writer at Bored Panda with a BA in Communication. After working for a sculptor, he fell in love with visual storytelling and enjoys covering everything from TV shows (any Sopranos fans out there?) to photography. Throughout his years in Bored Panda, over 235 million people have read the posts he’s written, which is probably more than he could count to.
Austėja is a Photo Editor at Bored Panda with a BA in Photography. They have a diverse set of creative skills and a wide portfolio which ranges from photography to digital editing and traditional art. After graduating from Nottingham Trent University in 2018 they have worked as a freelance photographer until Bored Panda. When not editing, they enjoy biking, taking too many pictures of their dog and drawing.
I can’t stop rolling my eyes at this, because they must not be the sharpest tools in the shed to fall for such basic scams, not once, but twice and then post this online. Did they live under a rock before they traveled to Italy, because I know those particular scams aren’t even uniquely Italian, they can be found all over the place from Mexico to Nepal and in the age of free, boundless information, there’s really no excuse for not knowing this.
Some people just shouldn’t travel.
It seems even if they stayed home they would also be clicking on phishing emails and text scams. The basic awareness just isn’t there.
I’m Italian. I know the supposed scams those two tourists were subjected to. They are easily avoidable in two simple ways. You just say no. I don’t want your photo, I don’t want your bracelet and so on. Or you don’t pay what they are asking for. You give them a reasonable amount if you are willing or you give them nothing and if they are stirring troubles, go find a cop. There are always cops in those touristic places, like the Duomo of Milan or the Castello Sforzesco. They can’t do what they are doing and they are going to run like hell. And I’m not saying that what those people are doing is right, but come on. You can’t be so gullible to not know that touristic places, and not only in Italy, are a really a good places for this kind of things. You are going to find scammers and pickpockets, so maybe being a little bit more careful and don’t trust random strangers would be a good idea.
The OP was probably on their first big trip and if you don’t know you don’t know. What you say is good advice though, along with something like “oh, for that much I need a written receipt”. That said, there is sort of a reverse to these scams which is that one of the best ways to avoid them is to just keep your phone and camera put away (unless you are a professional or researcher) and enjoy actually being somewhere. If you are alert and enjoying the actual destination, (and maybe acting a little bit like “don’t bother me I am not here for you”) then you are less likely to be targeted by scams, you won’t irk people who didn’t want to be in your pictures anyway, and you might actually take something personal away from the visit. Also, I think it’s worth reflecting for a second on who is really getting scammed, by which I mean I bet enough people watched and commented on their video that they earned over €40 on it.
Yes tourist should also be more careful
I am Italian too and I agree. Plus the gladiators in Rome is not a scam, they wear the outfit if you want the photo you pay, otherwise you just don’t take the photo with them. And the fake police scam? As in the USA everyone dials 911, the European number is 112 and you call the real police..!
Sorry, not a lot of sympathy here. It takes very little to look into it ahead of time and find out what scams are prevalent and how to avoid scams in general. One time “DoInG yOuR Own ReSeArCh” actually pays off.
If you have never been scammed and haven’t heard of this kind of thing, you deserve no sympathy? Sounds like victim blaming to me.
Haven’t heard of scammers? I don’t know what world they live in
Who hasn’t heard of scammers? I get when old people fall for it more eas, they’re more vulnerable in many ways, but come on. A young couple and haven’t ever heard of scammers? I could somewhat see the picture one (although I’m pretty weirded out thinking they gave a stranger their phone number, or email address?) but not going with the person to a bank maschine and the bracelet? Nothing is free. At best they want money. But they can also tag you and it just could be to pick pocket whilst you’re focused on something else.
I can’t stop rolling my eyes at this, because they must not be the sharpest tools in the shed to fall for such basic scams, not once, but twice and then post this online. Did they live under a rock before they traveled to Italy, because I know those particular scams aren’t even uniquely Italian, they can be found all over the place from Mexico to Nepal and in the age of free, boundless information, there’s really no excuse for not knowing this.
Some people just shouldn’t travel.
It seems even if they stayed home they would also be clicking on phishing emails and text scams. The basic awareness just isn’t there.
I’m Italian. I know the supposed scams those two tourists were subjected to. They are easily avoidable in two simple ways. You just say no. I don’t want your photo, I don’t want your bracelet and so on. Or you don’t pay what they are asking for. You give them a reasonable amount if you are willing or you give them nothing and if they are stirring troubles, go find a cop. There are always cops in those touristic places, like the Duomo of Milan or the Castello Sforzesco. They can’t do what they are doing and they are going to run like hell. And I’m not saying that what those people are doing is right, but come on. You can’t be so gullible to not know that touristic places, and not only in Italy, are a really a good places for this kind of things. You are going to find scammers and pickpockets, so maybe being a little bit more careful and don’t trust random strangers would be a good idea.
The OP was probably on their first big trip and if you don’t know you don’t know. What you say is good advice though, along with something like “oh, for that much I need a written receipt”. That said, there is sort of a reverse to these scams which is that one of the best ways to avoid them is to just keep your phone and camera put away (unless you are a professional or researcher) and enjoy actually being somewhere. If you are alert and enjoying the actual destination, (and maybe acting a little bit like “don’t bother me I am not here for you”) then you are less likely to be targeted by scams, you won’t irk people who didn’t want to be in your pictures anyway, and you might actually take something personal away from the visit. Also, I think it’s worth reflecting for a second on who is really getting scammed, by which I mean I bet enough people watched and commented on their video that they earned over €40 on it.
Yes tourist should also be more careful
I am Italian too and I agree. Plus the gladiators in Rome is not a scam, they wear the outfit if you want the photo you pay, otherwise you just don’t take the photo with them. And the fake police scam? As in the USA everyone dials 911, the European number is 112 and you call the real police..!
Sorry, not a lot of sympathy here. It takes very little to look into it ahead of time and find out what scams are prevalent and how to avoid scams in general. One time “DoInG yOuR Own ReSeArCh” actually pays off.
If you have never been scammed and haven’t heard of this kind of thing, you deserve no sympathy? Sounds like victim blaming to me.
Haven’t heard of scammers? I don’t know what world they live in
Who hasn’t heard of scammers? I get when old people fall for it more eas, they’re more vulnerable in many ways, but come on. A young couple and haven’t ever heard of scammers? I could somewhat see the picture one (although I’m pretty weirded out thinking they gave a stranger their phone number, or email address?) but not going with the person to a bank maschine and the bracelet? Nothing is free. At best they want money. But they can also tag you and it just could be to pick pocket whilst you’re focused on something else.
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