It Could Happen To Anyone

Over this past summer I spent a couple of weeks traveling all over Italy, turning all my postcard dreams into a reality. The beauty of the country was more than I could have ever expected.

Before going there, I had been told to be careful of pickpocketing. To not wear all my rings or jewelry because I would stand out as a target. To blend in with locals as much as possible. Yet I still did not believe it could ever happen to me. I was traveling in the nice, touristy areas – there was no way I would run into such a situation.

I was wrong.

A few of us spent the day exploring the city of Rome, overwhelmed with the ancient architecture. Exhausted, we boarded the metro to head back to the hostel during rush hour. While conversing about the great day we had, I placed my hand in my pocket. As I did, someone else’s hand was already there, fishing around in my pocket.

I was startled. It all happened so quickly. Before I could turn around to see who the hand belonged to, the thief was off running through the crowded metro.

Fortunately, I had all my valuables tucked away, therefore the individual was unable to snatch any of my belongings with his/her sly act. I was lucky. The situation could have been so much worse.

I was shaken. I could not believe something like this happened to me. I was in the ‘good’ areas. I was smart. I prepped myself.

I was wrong.

Unfortunately, this can happen anywhere and to anyone.

All across Europe individuals are taking up this type of lifestyle, Italy being one of the top locations for these acts to transpire. Thieves are taught from a young age how to steal, beg, and distract tourists. Typically, they hang out around the most popular tourist spots in cities, thriving in areas crowded with targets. Some say they can spot an American – who are the most common victims of these scams – a mile away.

As I continued with my travels, I never encountered another pickpocketer. However the experience heightened my awareness as well as my resolve to take precautions.

Being mindful of common scams along your travel route will contribute greatly to your safety.

The greatest lesson I learned: be aware of your surroundings, yourself, and your belongings.

Living Abroad’s country reports will benefit expats by gaining a better understanding of ways to stay safe in your new host country as well as while traveling for business.

Written by Jennifer Lange, Living Abroad LLC


With Living Abroad’s International Relocation Center, your assignees, men and women, and business travelers will never be far from getting the information they need, when they need it, no matter where they are in the world.  Subscribe to one destination, or many.  Living Abroad has the world covered!