How it works:
- Version 1: scammers posing as plainclothes officers approach and ask for your passport. If you hand it over, they will accuse you of a minor crime and issue you a fine to be paid on the spot.
- Version 2: the scammers demand to check your belongings. If you allow, they either steal your cash/cards without you realizing, or simply run off with it.
Places to beware:
- Vienna: Innere Stadt
What to do:
- Be skeptical: if you have not broken the law.
- Three steps: verify badges and threaten to call the police hotline. Never give your passport – only show a photocopy. Insist you will only comply at a police station with a lawyer or someone from your embassy.
- Valuables: hide in a money belt/hidden pouch and use a cheap spare wallet with little cash which can be given up.