Pickpockets and scams to look out for in Barcelona. Unfortunately most large European cities in recent years have been blighted by an increase in pickpockets and bag snatching and sadly Barcelona is no exception. So we urge all of our clients to be vigilant and keep all valuables close and safe. Especially so in crowded areas such as the airport, metro and busy streets such as the Ramblas.
Barcelona hire car scams
Flying in to Barcelona airport and collecting a hire car before heading up to the Costa Brava? Please be vigilant. We know at least two people who have been robbed on the roadside and the police say that it happens daily. If you hear a loud noise coming from somewhere to the rear of your hire car while driving don’t stop. This scam works in the following way. Three people in another car; the driver, a woman passenger and someone hiding in the back. They target hire cars (they can spot them a mile off). They approach from behind and the person in the back fires a catapult at your car. This person then hides on the back seat.
The car then draws level and the woman passenger points to the rear of your car indicating something amiss. You pull over and the other car also stops in front of you. The driver stays in the car with the engine running. The woman gets out and takes you to the back of your car to investigate the problem. While you are looking under the car either she or the third person grabs valuables from the car and then they speed off.
Motorway service station scams
If you stop at a motorway service station between the airport and your destination it is advisable that one person stay with the car. We have also heard stories of people losing all their belongings while using the services. The thieves can easily spot hire cars and know that travelers will have valuable possessions with them in the car.
At the same time while we urge our clients to be vigilant we also don’t want you to be over careful or paranoid and as a consequence not get the most out of the beautiful city during your time here. Just try not to carry too much cash around with you and keep wallets and purses well out of reach and you will be fine. Being vigilant means you are prepared for Barcelona pickpockets and scams.
Crime on the Costa Brava is much lower than pickpockets and scams in Barcelona. We had one client once who had all his luggage stolen from his car while parked in a restaurant car park. Luckily this is a rare occurrence.
Before you travel
It is a good idea to prepare photo copies of Passports and other important documents before you travel. You should also keep a list of important phone numbers such as Banks or credit card companies that you can call to cancel cards in case of theft. Keep two duplicate lists in separate bags just in case!
If you are unlucky enough to be a victim of crime while in Spain the first thing you will need to do after cancelling your cards is to make a report at a Police station. In Catalonia there are various types of police; Guardia Civil, Guardia Militar and Mossos d’Esquadra. To make a police report it is necessary to speak to the Mossos d’Esquadra. This report will be necessary for insurance claims.
If your Passport is stolen you will need to make an appointment to visit your Consulate. Here is a list of all the Consulates in Barcelona
Getting to your vacation rental in one piece
An alternative to picking up a hire car at the airport is to arrange a transfer directly from the airport to your villa. We can also supply reasonable quote from local hire companies to deliver your hire cars directly to the villa. This eliminates the often lengthy queues at the airport waiting for your car. We are happy to arrange these services for our clients – just ask us.