How it works:
- Opening: a local/tourist first engages you in conversation (e.g. ask about directions). Next, fake police officers appear and accuse you both of engaging in an illegal activity (e.g. drugs).
- Version 1: they demand you hand over your passport and belongings for them to check. The local will comply and pressure you to do so. If you, they will steal any valuables they can find.
- Version 2: the fake police officers claim that they have to take you to the police station. You board an unmarked car, and are then driven to a secluded location to be robbed.
Places to beware:
- La Paz
What to do:
- Be skeptical: if you have not broken the law.
- Three steps: verify badges and threaten to call the police. Never give your passport – only show a photocopy. Only comply at a police station with a lawyer/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.