Italy – Scams at the Roma Termini Train Station

While pickpocket scams occur on trains used by tourists around the world, it never hurts to read up on some of the train pickpocket scams.  This one was recently reported on a train that left the Roma Termini terminal to Firenze.

The train pickpocket scam targeted a couple who had traveled several times before to Europe, Italy and South America. They got hit by a team of young girls while they were boarding the train at Rome Termini going north.

The couple had reserved train seats and was walking along the platform looking for their train compartment.  They found their car and began to board the train when two young girls offered to help them with their luggage.  The couple politely refused their offer of assistance and made their way towards the entrance to their train car.  Just as the couple reached the stairs to the car, the two young girls got between the couple as they boarded the train and a third girl was behind them.

As the couple began to look around the inside of the car, they discovered they were in the wrong compartment and had to retrace their steps and go into another train compartment.  There is a sliding door connecting the two train compartments that usually opens by pushing a button on the door – but it refused to open.   This caused the couple and everyone behind them to bunch up that also wanted to go into the next car.   The wife attempted to open the door and pushed the button several times to no avail.  The woman did not realize that her husband was not behind her and that one of the young girls who tried to help her previously was.

The woman’s husband was two passengers behind the victim and was trying to see what was going on with his wife, but he was also distracted by the back up of fellow train passengers. It is believed that the time the woman was distracted with the sliding door not opening, one of the young girls got behind the women, unzipped her jacket pocket and took out her travel wallet.  She lost her credit cards, money: USD/Euro bills and even her USA passport.   At or about the same time, her husband had his wallet pick-pocketed from his back pants pocket. When traveling, he normally carries it in one of his front pants pockets but had used an ATM at the train station and forgot to place it back into his front pants pocket.

Neither the husband nor wife did not notice anything out of the ordinary until after the train departed the Rome train station and for some reason the husband reached for his wallet and noted that it was missing. She felt for her travel wallet and felt it through the outside of her jacket. It was not until she got off the train and observed that its contents were missing.

Lessons learned:

  • NEVER get in the situation when you are rushing to the train station. They thought they had enough time to get to the train station and board their train in time but they got delayed.
  • NEVER used the ATM at the train station when possible. It is believe they got targeted by this pickpocket team when they were observed taking the money out of the ATM and placing it in their respective wallets and where they placed their wallets on their persons.
  • NEVER allow anyone to step between yourself and your traveling companion on a train, bus or tram.
  • NEVER leave your wallet in your back pants pocket or an unsecured purse, handbag, or backpack that can be easily entered by a pickpocket!