Falling foul of scams in Rome is often the last thing on people’s minds when they book a romantic stay in the Eternal City. Being conned, tricked or scammed can, however, make a lovely vacation turn sour very quickly. In addition to the scams we’ve already written about, be wise, be smart, and watch out for these additional common scams in Rome.
1. Sleight of Hand Tricks With Taxis
Taxi drivers are quite adept at magic tricks, meaning that you pay more for your fare than agreed. This scam works by the dishonest taxi driver switching a note for one of a lower value, causing you to hand over more money to make up the “correct” fare. After he’s driven off, you’ll probably realize the trick and want to kick yourself. Count out the money when handing it over to avoid the possibility of notes being surreptitiously swapped.
2. Incorrect Meter Fare Used in Taxis
Another trick used by some less-than-honest taxi drivers is to set the meter to operate at a higher tariff. If your journey is within the city center, check that the meter is set to Zona (or Tariffa) 1; the higher rate charged for Zona 2 is for journeys outside of the city. Do also make sure that, if traveling during the day, that you are not being charged the higher nighttime rate. It also helps to have a rough idea of the fare before beginning your journey.
3. Thieves Posing as Police Officers
The law says people must carry ID when in Italy. A police officer can, and may, therefore, ask to see your passport and / or ID when you are holidaying in Rome. It’s always wise to ask to see their official ID first. If a “police officer” ever asks, however, for you to hand over your wallet, refuse. They generally say that they need to check for fake currency. You can ask to go to a police station for any checks to be made. Hapless tourists when faced with a police sign and asked for their wallets usually find themselves relieved of their wallet, complete with all their cash and bank cards.
4. Grossly Inflated Prices in Restaurants
Some restaurants con diners into paying huge amounts for a meal. One of the more frequent scams in Rome related to restaurants is for an establishment to say that they have no menus available. This usually happens during busy periods. Diners who order without checking the prices first are often in for a most unpleasant shock when the bill arrives. Always check the prices before ordering and eating.
If you are savvy and check the prices, don’t let your guard down if a server recommends an alternative. Be sure to check those prices too before agreeing.
5. Unofficial Touts Prowling in the Vatican
Unofficial guides and touts are particularly prevalent in the beautiful Vatican City. If queues are long for an attraction and somebody approaches you to offer fast-track admission, decline. The trick is that they either take your money and vanish, or that tickets are sold at unreasonably high prices. Unofficial guides may promise the earth, but invariably you will be left feeling disappointed, frustrated and cheated. Ignore anyone that approaches you on the street trying to sell you tickets or services.
6. Strangers Offering Various Gifts
When in Rome, as with most places in the world, be cautious of any strangers that seemingly want to give you a gift. No matter how much they may insist that it’s free, and regardless of how small, cheap and trivial the item might be, refuse. It is, ultimately, never free.
Keep in mind these common scams in Rome, but do also remember that most visits are hassle and trick free. Don’t let a few bad characters put you off taking a trip. Whether you’re looking for an awesome honeymoon destination, a place to celebrate a special anniversary or simply somewhere new to be loved up together, Rome is perfect. Book your vacation to Rome, one of Europe’s most romantic cities, and have a fabulous, scam-free getaway.