How it works:
- Version 1: they work in a gang – one onlooker, one blocks, pushes, distracts, or engages you, one grabs and the final hides the loot under a cover (e.g. jacket/newspaper) and escapes.
- Version 2: gypsy children use distraction techniques such as fighting amongst themselves, bumping into you or swarming you.
- Version 3: photo taking scams.
Places to beware:
- Moscow: St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square (Krasnayaploshchad), Moscow Metro, Moscow Kremlin (MoskovskyKreml), The Armoury, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Lomonosov Moscow State University (MGU), GUM Department Store, Cathedral Square, Diamond Fund (Almazny Fond), Kremlin Walls and Towers, Izmailovsky Market, Novodevichy Convent, New Arbat (NovyArbat)
- St. Petersburg: The State Hermitage Museum, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, Peterhof Grand Palace, Catherine Palace and Park, The Naval Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Kronstadt, Peterhof State Museum Preserve, The Museum Complex The State Museum St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Faberge Museum, The Hermitage Pavilion, Park And Gardens of Peterhof, Yusupov Palace on Moika River, Grand Maket Russia Interactive Museum, Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, NevskyProspekt, Palace Square (DvortsovayaPloshchad), Palace Bridge, The Bath Block, Kazan Cathedral, Neva Embankments, St. Petersburg Metro, Peter and Paul Cathedral
What to do:
- Passport: carry a photocopy instead of the actual one.
- Valuables: wallet in front pocket, small valuables in a money belt/hidden pouch, large valuables in an anti-theft bag.
- Travel insurance: get a good one that covers theft (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – review).