Pickpocketers, etc., Moscow
Be careful, they are slick operators and they usually work in groups. Favorite hangouts: Smolenskaya Prospekt, Stariy Arbat, the Metro, and anywhere tourists are found.
Be careful of groups of children, flower sellers, and people that stop you on the street to ask directions, especially at night. Avoid speaking English into your mobile phone on the street or too loudly anytime, as this marks you as a foreigner.
Be careful when you are carrying packages and your hands are full, especially getting on and off the Metro or riding the crowded escallators. Keep your wallet buried deep inside your inner clothing, never in the back pocket or on the outside. If you have to give up your jacket at a coat check, don't forget to check your pockets. Mobile phones are easy targets.
Spilt your passport, money and other ID into different pockets, to make it more difficult to steal. Make a photo copy of all your credit cards, ID and passport just in case they are stolen. Keep these pages handy or in the hotel for easy reference. Know who to call if anything is stolen, so you can quickly cancel credit cards, etc.
Use common sense always.
Begging includes the various methods used by persons to obtain money, food, shelter, drugs, alcohol, or other things from people they encounter.
Nowdays Moscow's beggars use to sleep in the metro trains - don't tuch hand-rails there!
Try to stay away from beggars - many of them are ill...
Much moreso than in St. Petersburg, we saw beggars in Moscow. Coming from Toronto, where the downtown core has a league of squee-gee kids, it didn't seem overwhelming, however, the demographics are different. . .we weren't used to seeing elderly women begging.
As is always the case, it helps to be prepared mentally as to how you want to handle this situation. You might decide to give your change whenever you have any, or to make a larger donation to an agency ~ some peace of mind can be had from thinking this through ahead of time.
Foreign tourists, especially Americans, are easily recognized and may be targeted by pickpockets or other criminals.
Wear plain T-shirts, keep your camera out of sight, pay close attention to your surroundings.
Avoid walking alone! Even if you are travelling by yourself, stay close to another group.
October 2006; just minutes after arriving, I walked out of the metro station next to the red square; a few locals standing near the exit, spot a tourist and start working. (they signal each other).
One walks in front of you and drops a wad of money, looks like 50 bill in a packet. I knew this trick as we call it "paquete chileno) (Chilean packet)....so I changed direction 90 degrees and walked towards a group of tourists...
Don't fall for it, if someone drops cash, walk away, quickly; this is a known trick and you will loose one way or the other. The group of locals was about 4 from what I could see, there is no way out of that one....
Also at the metro station, two guys asking for directions and the police immediatelly asked them to leave, clearly pickpockets already known by police.
Good ammount of police in the city; just be aware of your surroundings!
Watch out for gypsies in the subway. They will grab your items at the end of an escalator and then run up the opposite side when the subway is packed with people. Your best bet is to keep a very tight grip on your valuables, and keep them in front of your body with arms crossed over them. Of course, then you look like you actually got something worth stealing......so find a happy medium :))
Beware of fake foreigners trying to sell you their last posession for a "few" bucks. A friend of mine was tricked into paying $50 for a fake Swiss watch on Moskvoretskiy Bridge near Kremlin by a Finn. Just dress and act like a local and/or hang out with your Russian friends (best bet).
It is tempting to feel sorry and want to help when you see a bedraggled woman holding an ill or sleeping child as she begs. Odds are that the child is drugged and the woman works for someone else who is nearby. You may also be accosted by several children begging. It seems rude but you must yell NO and move away. If you give them money, they will go around the corner and give it to the perosn who is employing them. They may even pick your pockets. This is not to say that all of Moscow or Russia is like this. It is not. But you will see some of this and you must be alert. If you want to be a good samaritan, look for a war veteran or an old lady begging quietly near the metro entrances. They really need the money.
The police are apathetic. Pickpockets are rampant. Gypsies slice at purses and pockets with razorblades. These are all bad, but the city's biggest problem is skinheads. They attacked me on the metro...AND I'M WHITE!! My black friends were ruffed up on a regular basis. They both had to carry knives and concealed weapons to shop for food. It is a horrid city with very few redeeming qualities.
Men may approach you wanting to take you out to the clubs and introduce you to women or have women they can set up for you. Some want to rob you or use you for money while others just want to provide prostitute services. Many prostitute services are set up all around Moscow in private flats run by men. Best to avoid all of this in general. There is much more opportunities to meet people other ways than to spend time with seedy characters.
Le problème des voleurs qui vous fouillent les poches sans vergogne est mondial. A Moscou et dans toutes les grandes villes de Russie, de nombreuses bandes se partagent le "marché". Mais ce n'est ni plus ni moins qu'ailleurs.
C'est l'occasion pour moi de redonner "mes astuces"
The problem of the thieves that searches you the pockets without shame is world. In Moscow, and in all big cities of Russia, numerous strips share the " market ". But it is no more no less only elsewhere.
It is the opportunity for me to give back " my tricks "
1 ever of sign conspicuous that one is a tourist !
2 some portfolio exists, or of the purse, provide a chain (5 to 10 Euros on any market). It is a good means to dissuade the thieves (the chain is visible).
3 not to put all his/her/its money in the same place, and to separate banking cards, species, checkbook...
4 in the public transportation, not to remain to the middle, but always to get back to a baffle (or seated). not to wait in the front for the embankment (ever no one behind you).
Conspicuous 5 steps of sign of wealth in the tourist places.
6 to avoid to remain immobile in a tail or in the street.
7 to keep on oneself that the copy of his identity papers and passport. The original being in security.
8 to separate money and the papers : EVER ALL TO THE SAME PLACE.
9 in the tails (movies, museums, tourist places), when you are in family, that each supervises that that it happens behind the family's other members.
10 in case of doubt : TO SHOUT ! If the person is dishonest, she is going to run away.
And especially, to remain attentive to everything that surrounds you. Mistrust in a group the hustles, the false drunkards, the children...
The most dangerous places remain the subway, the tourist places, the proximity of the automatic tellers...
We took an overnight sleeper train from St. Petersburg to Moscow. A number of touists in our carriage got robbed in their sleep. The money and cameras were gone, but not the passports. Locking the did not seem to help much. The thieves must have the keys. Be very careful
its a new one (for me...) :
you see a bundle of monew falling from a guy walking ahead of you. you call him but he doesnt turn. while doing it, another person picks it and tries to convince you to tell no body, and share it with him. if you cooperate, the other guy will show up (as police man...) and blame you for taking money out of this bundle. so, IGNORE, KEEP WALKING!
pick pockets abound. put your document under your belt. They are watching ATM machines. In most countries you need to watch the obvious criminals. In Russian where there are so many poor you must be watchful of everyone. Do not go on public transport unless your money and document are protgected well.
I know we are tourists, but these people do this as a living. I feel very safe as far as my own personal safty is concerned. I know a German businesman who flashed alot of money was found dead. Police stopped his Mersades Benz and killed him. Just look and act like the locals and noone will harm you.
Remember that the police are also poor and they can be as much or more criminal than the gang member.
Someone had stolen my flip-flops while I was swimming in the swimming-pool Chayka (Seagull).
It’s not only that they were sold at 25 euro, very ergonomic, meant to last long and practically impossible to replace. It’s the lack of safety that makes one really upset.
The staff gladly told me that it was far from the first incident in this sports center, and apparently, far from the last.