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Old July 23rd, 2014, 03:57 PM
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Mike M Mike M is offline
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We were "almost" taken by a band of children in Barcelona. A group of about six kids (ages 5-10) came into a cafe, with an adult, and started running around playing "tag". They got closer and closer to our table and then knocked over a chair to distract us.

As I bent over to pick up the chair, right away, I felt a little hand going for my front pocket. I grabbed his hand and told him, and the adult, to get away from us. They immediately ran out of the cafe. The owner was grateful and comped our meal. My wife believes that he was in on it and did it so we didn't go to the police. She may be right.

The other thing to watch out for is in using ATM's. There is a BIG problem in Europe where they will put a false card slot on an ATM and a small camera, on the top ledge, above the keypad. With this they get your PIN number and can clone your card. Always put your other hand over the hand you enter the PIN number with. My nephew, who is an English Police Sergeant, told me about this scam. Also run your hand under the top ledge to feel if there is something there. If you feel something, go to another ATM.

The other is when withdrawing money from an ATM always make sure you watch the card slot and the money dispensary slot. Three years ago I was on the Carnival Breeze, Cruisemates Cruise, in Florence, and I was taking a few seconds longer than usual, at the ATM, because I was unfamiliar with the layout of the bank's ATM. The money dispensary slot was lower than I was use to and just as I saw the money coming out, a hand, that wasn't mine, reached in to grab the money. I brought up my left elbow and hit the person square in the face. The blood (not mine) and bruise on my elbow gave me the satisfaction in knowing I made good contact. He ran off down the street holding his face.

Overall, you are "reasonably" safe when traveling but you always have to keep your guard up and you can't be as "helpful" as you normally are because of the scams that perpetrated to get your money.

Take care,
Mike
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