Let me take your photo I have asked other tourists to take photos of the group I am with many times. And will continue to do so. But an unsolicited offer from a helpful passing tourist is often, not a good one to accept. Many travellers now carry very expensive digital cameras. One of the latest scams revolves around helpful strangers who are so willing to capture your precious moments with your group they approach you and ask if you would like them to take your photos. At locations such as the Spanish Steps in Rome, as an example, it is easy for a thief to quickly escape with your camera into a waiting automobile, or get lost in the large crowds, as you are organizing your group for that perfectly staged photo. There is a also reverse alternative to this scam. The thief asks you to take his or her picture. As you hand the camera back, the thief fumbles it and drops it in your direction. As you bend to pick up the camera, the thief, or a henchman, picks your pocket.

The Trojan horse While some airports do not allow non-travellers into the arrivals area where luggage is coming onto the carousels, many do. As a result anyone, including those with bad intentions, can wander around the carousel as baggage enters the turnstile.

The thief walks up to the carousel with a large suitcase that is completely empty. Arriving as early possible, as luggage from flights are only starting to come down, the thief moves to a quiet area of the carousel where there are no people.

As the luggage comes around, the thief grabs a smaller bag, quickly opens his empty one, tosses in the smaller case, and in no time is out the door of the airport.

This is one that is hard to protect against except to say it is important to get to your baggage carousel as soon as you can and stay close to where the bags come on to it.

Room inspector Two well-dressed individuals are at your hotel door explaining they are staff room inspectors, and want to make sure everything is up to standard. This often occurs shortly after you have checked in. In larger properties it is easy for thieves to be in a line-up behind you, finding out your room as you check in, then leaving the line-up for some un-explained reason once they have heard which room is yours. The two fake inspectors enter the room and start looking in different directions. As you are watching one, the other steals any valuables that may be laying around. Never let anyone in your room without checking with the front desk for confirmation first.

Credit card confirmation You get a call, often in the middle of the first night you have checked into the property. You answer the phone, tired and disoriented. The caller says it is the front desk, and your credit card did not go through. They want to confirm all the numbers. Many guests, while irritated, will go through the exercise of providing this information.

Your answer always should be you will go down in the morning, or now if necessary, to provide information directly at the front desk.

The stripper I only heard of this one very recently. It is set up by a woman, working with an accomplice street vendor. The woman and the vendor are seemingly involved in a loud shouting match where the vendor is accusing the woman of shoplifting from his cart.

She screams back that she stole nothing and commences to prove it by removing her clothing. The crowd looks on as she strips to her under garments. The vendor apologizes as she hastily grabs her clothes and leaves. In the meantime several pickpockets have been milling through the ‘audience’ relieving many of the gawkers in the crowd of their valuables.