ARGENTINA – Tips on avoiding pickpocketing and my experience in Buenos Aires (#TBT)

Argentina - Buenos Aires
Argentina - Buenos Aires

#TBT [ThrowBackThursday] week 9 of 2015, Tips on avoiding pickpocketing and my experience. This week Argentina 1 of the 52 countries I visited prior to 2015.

In all my travels I got pickpocketed only once and I knew it was happening! Here my experiences with pickpocketing in Buenos Aires.

So how did I still lost some pesos (approx 100 euro) while I knew it was happening? I was walking through downtown Buenos Aires back in 2012 when someone shouted at me that there was dirt on the back of my jacket. I took my jacket off and checked on the back and indeed it was dirt, bad-smelling too! Two persons approached me with a map in their hand offering help to clean. I directly realized what was happening so I said “I do not need help” and walked towards a taxi to get back to the hotel. In the time that I turned they already emptied one of my pockets. All this happened in a matter of seconds. So how got my jacket dirty? A third person had put this on my back without me noticing. Then the two other person come to offer “help”. A scheme often practiced by pickpockets and I knew this approach and still lost money! So be warned, don’t accept help from strangers and be aware even if you know the tricks 🙁

Argentina - Buenos Aires
Argentina – Buenos Aires

Tips on avoiding pickpocketing

– In taxi’s always say out loud the amount you give the driver or better try to give the correct amount. They tend sometimes to change a 100 bill to a 10 bill or a 50 to a 5 bill. When the driver tried this on me I asked him if we should ask the police for assistance. He quickly gave back the change and I left the taxi.

– Anyone approaching you to offer help, asking questions, or offering you something: deny. Or, if you think it’s honest, make sure you keep some distance. There are of course honest people asking for help too!

– People who bump into you can take your wallet. Keep attention; it happens often.

– Do not use your phone on streets where they can just grab it and run away. They tried it at me too but saw it coming luckily.

Best way is to put your belongings in a safe place. Never carry too much cash, credit cards and ID’s, only take what you need. Get information from your hotel for example which are the places most things happen and be prepared.

Safe travels!

Do you have any unique memories of something similar? Please share them in the comments below. I love to hear from you!

6 Comments

  1. Remember coz one person has never hit a pot of bad luck, doesn’t mean you will also not. Be alert and never fall when someone is too friendly.. I was scammed at a ATM in Johannesburg. Simply for believing this guy was genuinely helping me when my card got stuck… That was me coming from Zimbabwe, where your card would frequently get swallowed by a ATM, but was genuine. Be Alert and don’t let your holiday be spoilt. Do it yourself or be patient and ask someone in a shop.

  2. Hm…difficult issue. In all my travels i have not been robbed or scamed once. And that comes from a guy who lost count on how many countries he vistited.
    I guess a looot of experience factors in there and probably the fact that i am staying at luxury hotels and thus tend to be sort of seperated from a lot of everyday stuff where most tourists will get scammed. (like private transport, concierge service for tickets, etc)

    I do “go local” though. And that is why i said it is a diffcult topic. This year in Peru, everyone kept on warning me about pickpocketing and taxi-abduction and what not. I think those constant warnings sort of also create problems. If you don’t trust locals a mutual sense of respect will not evolve and thus lead to much unwanted reactions and incidents.
    My reaction: I did not head them at all.

    All in all i read a lot of reports on how to not get robbed etc on the internet. Unlike this one, they usually come from travel bloggers with more or less experience trying to write a piece that gets a lot of shares and and easy articile at that.

    Worst of all, in so doing they copy from each other without actual experience.

    Common sense and respect for different cultures is, i think the best advice. Oh and staying away from all those tourist crowds. But that is not an advice against pickpocketing but rather one for having a wonderful experience 😉

    my 2 cents

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