A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Camino Forum Donation

Warning: Reports of Scam in Galicia

nreyn12

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide leading groups 2013-present
There have been a couple of reports recently of a scam involving women posing as deaf and MUTE 'donation' collectors. They approach pilgrims on the trail carrying a clipboard with a paper explaining that they are collecting donations to help the deaf and MUTE, which they present themselves to be. The paper lists the names and amounts in euros that others have donated - usually around 25-30 euros.

I have personally passed these women upon arrival into O'Cebreiro and about .5 km after Sarria, away from the town where there are only pilgrims passing. I have heard reports of them being at the top of the stairs in Sarria and at the entrance to Portomarin.

In Portamarin, two of these women were observed talking animatedly to each other when there were no pilgrims around...in other words, they are not deaf and MUTE as they present themselves to be. In addition, there is at least one report of a pilgrim being mugged by one of the women in Portomarin.

It is possible that some of these women are legitimate, but use your judgement when handing over euros to people who are approaching only pilgrims and at odd places on the trail.
 

Kevin_A

--_
Camino(s) past & future
.
Hi Nancy,

I came across them mid May, two women on walking out of town, ( can't remember exactly where) they give the impression they are collecting names for a petition or some such as the information was in English, and you are right there is a column that indicates "donations" When I saw that I became uncomfortable and walked on with no problem.

Kevin

Afternote: having walked on local Spanish pilgrims were also of the view it was a scam and not a charity
 

Canucks

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances, SJPDP to Santiago (2013), Le Puy to SJPDP (2014)
Paris has been filled with women pulling that precise scam for years. It was always funny seeing groups of them gathered for lunch laughing and eating take out food and texting on their cell phones during their "break". It's just a job for them and it is only a matter of time before other areas are tried.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

DurhamParish

Un Cerveza, Por Favor
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portuguese 2012 & 2018
Camino Frances 2014, 2015, 2015, 2017, 2018
Canucks said:
Paris has been filled with women pulling that precise scam for years. It was always funny seeing groups of them gathered for lunch laughing and eating take out food and texting on their cell phones during their "break". It's just a job for them and it is only a matter of time before other areas are tried.
Yep. Last month we were in Paris, climbing the steps to Sacre Cour, and a group of these women gathered around my wife while another one distracted me. When we finally got away from them my wife noticed that her purse had been unzipped. Luckily, she didn't lose anything.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Scam? Look around every good sized city in Spain, in Portugal, in France, in Italy, in Greece, in Morocco, you saw them in India, and yes here in Jerusalem, all these places possess professional beggars. They all have their own stories, their own apparent wounds-sore-ailments-diseases-handicaps; they are part of the European urban cityscape. American cities are chock full of "homeless starving" beggars who most all live under a roof somewhere and have dinner. It's a very difficult way to make a living no matter what story they tell. We are commanded by the Good Book to give charity. We of the Jewish persuasion maintain and are commanded to give charity first and foremost within our own community anything beyond the synagogue the neighborhood the town is a personal decision and is a seen as a righteous act of one's choice. Nobody enjoys deceitful extortion but most of these people have fallen off the train of life long ago and will never make it back on, a question of lie or starve and their solution works for them we do not have to support them.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
Two girls were in Barbadelo only a few days ago and photographed by the people from the Albergue La Casa de Carmen. The photo has already been passed around on various Facebook sites. Another group of 3 girls "work" at a crossroad on the way to Portomarin. We saw them there last year and Adriaan ( my husband) came across them again about 10 days ago. Yes, they carry a paper that they want you to sign and then you will notice the donation column! Just steer clear! Anne
 

D.Matthew

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 (St Jean to Finisterre), Camino Portuguese 2018 (Central Route from Porto)
DurhamParish said:
Canucks said:
Paris has been filled with women pulling that precise scam for years. It was always funny seeing groups of them gathered for lunch laughing and eating take out food and texting on their cell phones during their "break". It's just a job for them and it is only a matter of time before other areas are tried.
Yep. Last month we were in Paris, climbing the steps to Sacre Cour, and a group of these women gathered around my wife while another one distracted me. When we finally got away from them my wife noticed that her purse had been unzipped. Luckily, she didn't lose anything.
I noticed this in Paris as well. I was traveling alone, and was swarmed by 3 or 4 girls. It's a shame that this practice has made it's way to the Camino.
 

Jochen-Schmidtke

Active Member
Police warning Reports of Scam in Paderborn Germany

nreyn12 said:
There have been a couple of reports recently of a scam involving women posing as deaf and dumb 'donation' collectors. They approach pilgrims on the trail carrying a clipboard with a paper explaining that they are collecting donations to help the deaf and dumb, which they present themselves to be. The paper lists the names and amounts in euros that others have donated - usually around 25-30 euros.

I have personally passed these women upon arrival into O'Cebreiro and about .5 km after Sarria, away from the town where there are only pilgrims passing. I have heard reports of them being at the top of the stairs in Sarria and at the entrance to Portomarin.

In Portamarin, two of these women were observed talking animatedly to each other when there were no pilgrims around...in other words, they are not deaf and dumb as they present themselves to be. In addition, there is at least one report of a pilgrim being mugged by one of the women in Portomarin.

It is possible that some of these women are legitimate, but use your judgement when handing over euros to people who are approaching only pilgrims and at odd places on the trail.
Hello.
I am a member of the "Cathedral Guild" on our cathedral in our more or less peaceful town Paderborn in Germany.
Even here and even in our cathedral these people perform the same scam as described above. Police is warnig NOT to give them money and under no circumstances give them your own address!
They phone their complices and give the information that this home is problably unguarded and burglary is without risk.
Buen Camino
Jochen
 

Madidi

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Santiago de Compostela - Fisterra Aug/Sept 2012; SdC - Fisterra - Muxia Sept 2013.
Camino Ingles May 2014. Camino Madrid (Madrid - Sahagun) May 2015. SdC -Fisterra-Muxia and back to SdC Oct 2015. Camino de San Salvador and Camino Primitivo Aug-Sept 2016
They were operating on the Plaza del Obradoiro outside the Cathedral when I arrived there in September last year. They were very persistent and didn't want to take 'NO' for an answer.

Not the most welcoming arrival in Santiago :x
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Madidi said:
They were operating on the Plaza del Obradoiro outside the Cathedral when I arrived there in September last year. They were very persistent and didn't want to take 'NO' for an answer.

Not the most welcoming arrival in Santiago :x
And both were arrested for assaulting a policeman who was called by the Pilgrims' Office when they were operating here. They have obviously moved on.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Nothing really new for me because I've seen those scams throughout the years in my country and on my travels.

But regarding the SCAM as B.Brecht has wrote:
"What is a robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank?"

I don't have much money (and I work damn hard for it), but sometimes I really feel like this fu***** bank. In the eyes of those people...
 

DurhamParish

Un Cerveza, Por Favor
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portuguese 2012 & 2018
Camino Frances 2014, 2015, 2015, 2017, 2018
scruffy1 said:
Scam? Look around every good sized city in Spain, in Portugal, in France, in Italy, in Greece, in Morocco, you saw them in India, and yes here in Jerusalem, all these places possess professional beggars. They all have their own stories, their own apparent wounds-sore-ailments-diseases-handicaps; they are part of the European urban cityscape. American cities are chock full of "homeless starving" beggars who most all live under a roof somewhere and have dinner. It's a very difficult way to make a living no matter what story they tell. We are commanded by the Good Book to give charity. We of the Jewish persuasion maintain and are commanded to give charity first and foremost within our own community anything beyond the synagogue the neighborhood the town is a personal decision and is a seen as a righteous act of one's choice. Nobody enjoys deceitful extortion but most of these people have fallen off the train of life long ago and will never make it back on, a question of lie or starve and their solution works for them we do not have to support them.
Much truth in what you said.

Makes me think on an incident a few years ago. I was waiting in line for a bus after work one day. A person came up to the line waiting for the bus and asked for money. I gave this person a dollar, or probably, a half-dollar. This person immediately went into the liquor store few doors down. The ladies behind me in line said "Look, that person took your money and went straight to the liquor store to drink it up." I told them that I didn't mind because the first thing that I was going to do when I get home is pour myself a glass of wine, who am I to judge. We all had a big laugh.
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
The scams in different shape or form happen not just in galicia. It happen everywhere in europe. I was just in madrid recently and i saw the same thing. Just use common sense and walk away from these scams and tell them no gracias.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
These tips from the US Embassy for avoiding pickpockets in Paris make sense wherever you might travel. >> http://france.usembassy.gov/pickpockets.html There may not be a metro in XXX but scam techniques are unfortunately universal. I, too, may have been continually scammed on the Camino during winter 2006 in what I later called The Snow Job. It all began late one stormy night in the Villafranca Montes de Oca municipal albergue.You can read about here >> http://allmycaminos.blogspot.fr/2009/09 ... 52006.html

In retrospect I still do not want to believe that I was milked for money in a real snow job! Hopefully all was not just a ruse and I had not been duped. At least what I did was done in the Camino spirit of trust and mutual assistance. I still firmly believe one must act towards others “as ye would that men should do to you”. Nevertheless BE WARY!

Margaret Meredith
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
It would seem that every garden has at least one serpent in it -

we are sent out along the Camino "like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves".

Buen Camino
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide leading groups 2013-present
I really wanted to point out to people walking the Camino for the first time, these people are placing themselves directly in the path of pilgrims, and sometimes in places where there is no one else around. Be vigilant and walk confidently past. Someone who is legitimately soliciting money will not be doing so in the middle of nowhere, or in this case in a field a kilometer after a town.
 

Madidi

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Santiago de Compostela - Fisterra Aug/Sept 2012; SdC - Fisterra - Muxia Sept 2013.
Camino Ingles May 2014. Camino Madrid (Madrid - Sahagun) May 2015. SdC -Fisterra-Muxia and back to SdC Oct 2015. Camino de San Salvador and Camino Primitivo Aug-Sept 2016
And both were arrested for assaulting a policeman who was called by the Pilgrims' Office when they were operating here. They have obviously moved on.
Good to hear John.

Take care :D
 

Callea

New Member
Ok. I have to be honest here. This worries me. Because of my pace, I'm often in odd places alone. The mugging part is especially troubling. Any other suggestions for when I get to the places they are currently known to operate? I was just thinking today that I hadn't noticed nearly the problem with pickpockets that I'd seen in the big cities in Italy. Of course, I'm always vigilant, but I walk past and say No Gracias, will they hurt me if I'm alone?
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
Callea said:
Ok. I have to be honest here. This worries me. Because of my pace, I'm often in odd places alone. The mugging part is especially troubling. Any other suggestions for when I get to the places they are currently known to operate? I was just thinking today that I hadn't noticed nearly the problem with pickpockets that I'd seen in the big cities in Italy. Of course, I'm always vigilant, but I walk past and say No Gracias, will they hurt me if I'm alone?

Don't let this worry you and ruin your adventure.
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide leading groups 2013-present
Callea said:
Ok. I have to be honest here. This worries me. Because of my pace, I'm often in odd places alone. The mugging part is especially troubling. Any other suggestions for when I get to the places they are currently known to operate?
Callea, don't worry! Just put on your bad-aXX pilgrim attitude (which I know you now have!), smile and say, 'no, sorry' and walk on by. They are not really aggressive. If they become aggressive they blow their deaf/dumb cover!

(BTW, I've loved following your blog!)
xo Nancy
 

flyswatty

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked in May 2012 - Burgos to Santiago; Planning to walk in May 2013 - SJPP to Burgos!
Watch for the two men walking in the opposite direction and claiming to be walking Hungarians walking back to Hungary. Spotted on the leg approaching San Juan de Ortega just after the Spanish 'Monumento a Los Caidos'. They were approaching many pilgrims ( which I knew at later stop via exchanging stories) for .5 Euros.
 

carriedavey

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2013
The most hilarious thing we saw on the camino was the beggar woman who left her paper cup and hand written sign on one doorstep, whilst sitting on the adjacent one taking a call on her cell phone!
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
One Lourdes beggar just put his cup in the middle of the sidewalk while he sat on some front steps having a big can of beer at 0800.
 

carriedavey

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2013
I'm NOT 100% sure if this was an attempted scam, but on April 20, when we were completing the crossing of the bridge leading into Logrono I saw a guy standing on the sidewalk at the corner, wearing what appeared to be pilgrims gear and with a backpack. I said "buen camino" and he said to me "are you German?" in almost flawless english. I said "no, I'm Australian" He then showed me a battered and torn bank/credit card and said "Ive damaged my bank card and I'm out of money" looking at me expectantly. My "radar" told me that he was probably not fair-dinkum, and I didn't answer. He then said, "oh well, I guess I'll wait for some german pilgrims to get help from"
I realise that I could have simply handed him 20 euros, but there was something that didn't seem right about him. Has anyone else encountered this sort of thing? or did anyone else get approached by him for money?
 

Carol06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2012)
Frances (May 2015) all going well and with my husband this time.
I had exactly the same experience last June and was also asked if I was German. Same story line too. What freaked me was that I was in the middle of the forest and on my own but I reckoned I could outrun him if necessary. The really silly thing is that as I took off I called over my shoulder "The Germans are coming." Duh!!!
 

carriedavey

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2013
Choweth- Not meaning to be facetious...BUT you'd have to ask him that question :lol: It's a sad fact of life that where there are good people on a pilgrimage there will others who feel that their vulnerability is something to be exploited for their benefit. I want to always do the right thing, but my "street smarts" honed on the backstreets of Liverpool told me that this guy was not the real deal. I would hate to alarm folk, but would say, trust your gut feelings when approached by people like this. Carol06 gee that made me laugh! (your remark when departing that is!) :lol:
 
What was rather unsettling was to see a healthy fit beggar sitting on the steps on a side entrance to the Cathedral with his cup, and smoking a cigarette.
 

carriedavey

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2013
Come ON JALAN JAUH! Everyone needs a break from their working day! :wink: :lol: :lol:
Incidentally, was anyone approached by that dude in the fancy costume selling CD's in front of the cathedral in Santiago? We politely said "no thank you" but that (apparently) was not going to cut it with this gentleman who then indignantly said "I'm not pleased with you" "I replied "not to worry mate, you'll get over it" and we then went on our way. 10 days later upon our return to Santiago we were accosted again by the same man, in view of his previous rudeness my wife said "Same answer as last week mate".....he then said "I am VERY unhappy with you!" I said You were unhappy LAST week too mate, you get used to it! :lol:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Cycling the camino de Santiago "2013"
Thanks for the warnings given here - I suspect we can all fall for this trick some time in our lives. And that is what people who would like a bit of what we have rely on! My husband is always being mistaken as German for some reason, so we might well be approached by this scammer - who might have had more luck with our German friends than us. I mean, why not "can you spare a dime mate?" rather than ask your origin. Reminds me of the time we were approached by a young man who asked us if we had any change - my husband, who had just lost his own job, said "get a job, mate" to which the reply was "I have a job, I just wanted some change for the meter"! Very red-faced we obliged :lol:
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
this forum brought back memories of two possible scams from my 2 caminos.

this past winter while walking the via de la plata, i was staying in mombuey and was approached by a spaniard who claimed he was waiting for his mother to send him some money for him to return home. he even shown me all the credentials that he said he have walked on the camino.he did not exactly come out and asked for money, but hinted quite regularly during our conversation. i left the next morning and later heard from a spanish peregrino that he was pulling the same trip.

last year i encountered a man who speak excellent english, i am not sure that he is english, in orisson during may while walking the camino frances. he was dropping hints and trying to solicit money from me. i did not and still do not believe that he is a mendicant..

i got the feelings that both occasions are nothing but a scam and did not bother to give any money.

be aware of any scam going on, just politely walk away. and please do not give them any money, it will just encourage them to do it continuously.


i
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
The deaf mute women were right outside Portomarin today when one started toward me I held up my hand, smiled, and said 'No!'

As I passed I heard a whispered 'F- YOU!'

Not only did she speak, but perfect English! Lol
 

Damian27

Member
Camino(s) past & future
1st- 05/28 - 06/27/2013
I encountered one of them 2 days ago outside Fonfria. The Guardia civil was hot on her trail. I gave them a full description and told them they were 8 minutes behind her. She did not look Spanish, but Central American.
BTW I asked her if she could hear me and she shook her head NO and pointed to her mouth lol - dead giveaway.
 

inspiredjen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April '13
Portugues in 2015?
I encountered these ladies on the route in May -- and I fell prey to the scam.

I skimmed the photocopied page and it looked legit enough. But only after I'd been milked out of 8 euro did it occur to me that all the previous "donors" names had been written in the same hand and all had (conveniently) donated 20-30 euro.

I felt sad -- especially as it was the first negative experience of the walk. However, I never felt physically threatened or in danger (that's as a woman, walking alone).

When the same gig repeated itself several towns later, I said "NO, GRACIAS!" assertively and continued on. No issue.

What must it say about these people if they're willing to lie to make money? Pity them far more than fear them.
 

inspiredjen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April '13
Portugues in 2015?
carriedavey said:
I'm NOT 100% sure if this was an attempted scam, but on April 20, when we were completing the crossing of the bridge leading into Logrono I saw a guy standing on the sidewalk at the corner, wearing what appeared to be pilgrims gear and with a backpack. I said "buen camino" and he said to me "are you German?" in almost flawless english.

Has anyone else encountered this sort of thing? or did anyone else get approached by him for money?
Sure did! My Austrian friend (who DOES speak German) got a long sob story about a shredded bank card and all the machinations it would take to get the new one, etc. etc. She fell for it, gave him 20 euro, and found out later about his ongoing scam.

I got the heebie-jeebies from him, but I couldn't understand what he was saying. Further evidence of the need to trust one's instincts.
 

jennysa

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino F 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 C Aragones 2012, 2017 2018 Via Francigena 2016 & 17 Primitivo 2018
inspiredjen said:
I encountered these ladies on the route in May -- and I fell prey to the scam.

I skimmed the photocopied page and it looked legit enough. But only after I'd been milked out of 8 euro did it occur to me that all the previous "donors" names had been written in the same hand and all had (conveniently) donated 20-30 euro.

I felt sad -- especially as it was the first negative experience of the walk. However, I never felt physically threatened or in danger (that's as a woman, walking alone).

When the same gig repeated itself several towns later, I said "NO, GRACIAS!" assertively and continued on. No issue.

What must it say about these people if they're willing to lie to make money? Pity them far more than fear them.
I met them before Cacabellos and also fell prey to them. About 2 days later I met another 2 'deaf' girls with the same sheet, but I was wiser this time.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
It sounds like there are enough pilgrims being taken in to keep the scam going.

Too bad a warning can't be posted in all of the albergues along the way. When the pilgrims quit paying they will pack up and go back to one of the cities.
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
inspiredjen said:
carriedavey said:
I'm NOT 100% sure if this was an attempted scam, but on April 20, when we were completing the crossing of the bridge leading into Logrono I saw a guy standing on the sidewalk at the corner, wearing what appeared to be pilgrims gear and with a backpack. I said "buen camino" and he said to me "are you German?" in almost flawless english.

Has anyone else encountered this sort of thing? or did anyone else get approached by him for money?
Sure did! My Austrian friend (who DOES speak German) got a long sob story about a shredded bank card and all the machinations it would take to get the new one, etc. etc. She fell for it, gave him 20 euro, and found out later about his ongoing scam.

I got the heebie-jeebies from him, but I couldn't understand what he was saying. Further evidence of the need to trust one's instincts.
Had the same experience May 2012, somewhere beyond Burgos, but exactly the same story.
You can never know for sure, I just have to go with my "gut" instinct, I thought it was a con, my wife thinks I'm just "heartless".
Good to put this one "out there" as it sounds if he and/or others are working the route. Knowing of these scams will help others make decisions when confronted.
Buen Camino
Colin
 

Camino2014

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Piémont, Frances, Littoral, Norte, Ingles (completed) Baztan, St. Jaume, Portuguese (planned!)
It's terrible that people abuse the Camino (and the genuine goodwill of pilgrims) to gain personal wealth from it. The whole point of the Way is to humble yourself, and these women are preying on the humble.

If they're caught, let's petition to imprison them in Belgium, where there is a tradition of forcing prisoners to walk El Camino in exchange for a pardon. Maybe they'll learn humility for once!
 

robertt

Active Member
The deaf-and-dumb scam usually involves young and nimble operators in groups. They used to be all over Sacre-Coeur, but I did encounter one working alone - in Moissac, of all places. The main thing is to watch your other parts while your hands are busy handling the pen and sheet. You can lose more than your donation. These guys are quick!
 

createspace

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 30 to June 30, 2013
3 of them with clipboards approached us in a pharmacy along the Camino Frances this June. I strongly told them "no" as I walked out quickly. A few days later a young man with a clipboard was coming down a hill on the route and I put my hand up and kept walking saying "no". Be firm and keep walking quickly.
 

Sue M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-Burgos(2012)Leon-Santiago(2013)Sarria- Santiago(Sept 2013),Frances (coach,2013),Le Puy-Conques(May 2014), parish pilgrimage organised for June 2015.
I saw the 'deaf mutes' 2 weeks ago, gave them one euro, refused to sign anything, walked on. No hassle. Thought it was probably a scam but if they need one euro that badly they can have it!
 

Thengel1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF April-May 2013; mid-Sept. 2017
I was approached somewhere in Galicia by a deaf-mute woman with a clipboard and I did end up giving her money. It's funny, in a city I would have never even considered it, but walking along a trail...

My previous walking/hiking experiences have been a little more remote, where the idea of someone walking the trail trying to scam money from walkers would have been absurd. So, I wasn't expecting it.

I did have a warning, but I recognized it too late. She showed me a list of people who had contributed, with all the amounts being 20-30 euros. Money was pretty tight by that point, so I didn't think I could afford that much. So, I wrote down 10 and reached for my wallet. The woman immediately began to aggressively point at the amounts the other people had "donated", rather rudely indicating that my contribution was inadequate. But, I really didn't think about it until I had moved on.
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
My Austrian friend (who DOES speak German) got a long sob story about a shredded bank card and all the machinations it would take to get the new one, etc. etc. She fell for it, gave him 20 euro, and found out later about his ongoing scam.

I got the heebie-jeebies from him, but I couldn't understand what he was saying. Further evidence of the need to trust one's instincts.
I think another good litmus test for stories about a shredded bank card or whatever is to consider what YOU would do if an ATM ate your card, you had all your money stolen, or whatever.

I certainly would not stand on a street corner next to a bridge asking random passersby for money. I think if I was going to ask my fellow pilgrims for a hand out in order to keep going, I would do it at the local alburque. It just seems like this would be a much more fruitful endeavor. Of course a scammer can't hang out at an alburque because he or she would get chased away or the police would be called.
 

Dubbydub

Member
I think I might need to do the Camino NOW to sort out my anger at this kind of caper.

I am partially deaf following meningitis. I have real problems with this, but have adapted. I am alive!

I just cannot see how being deaf requires a charitable donation. Baffled....

Anyhow, and may I be forgiven by the higher power, but I NEVER donate to anyone on the street, ever. That is because I cannot help everyone, and worry bout those I might have missed.

My contribution through my salary to two charities is what I am happy with.

Buen Camino.
 

MissM

New Member
I was approached by the two Hungarian guys just before St Juan in June, but actually thought they might have been a bit genuine. They certainly looked very tanned and rugged as if they had walked a long distance - I'm sure they were scamming to get money but felt it probably was to go home. Gave them a couple of Euros. Saw the deaf and dumb women near O'Cebreiro. I too thought it was some kind of survey until I read the sheet and looked closer at them - As soon as I read someone from New Zealand had given 45 euros I knew it was a scam - I live in Australia and have a ton of Kiwi friends and I assure you none of them would donate 45 euros out in the middle of nowhere!
 

Anne100

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte, Sept.-Nov. (2013)
You can always bark something in Klingon at the scammers, like, "Your mother smells like lemon cookies!" It's a language they haven't heard and don't know how to respond to and you can break away during their moment of confusion.

:)
 

Peachy

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 July/ august
oh,..I gave money to several 'deaf, mute ' girls.

I did not even think it could be a scam,..hmmm...live and learn, ..it is a pity as I am what some might classify as 'poor' myself,..little materially, but i feel rich in spirit, and i thought I was helping someone in need.

but i guess, if they feel the need to do this, they are infact in need of some kind,..on some level.
 

brkdn2

Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino francais, (2014 Aug.)
You can always bark something in Klingon at the scammers, like, "Your mother smells like lemon cookies!" It's a language they haven't heard and don't know how to respond to and you can break away during their moment of confusion.

:)
That's cute. I bet if you also learned sign language for hello, how are you? that slow em up some too. My daughter knows some ill have to have her teach me she taught my grandson to sign the word more hes one, very helpful when he's hungry. He wont do nomore he just starts throwing food we get the message.
 

HermanTheGerman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances '13, '14; Portuguese '13, '14, '17, '18; del Salvador '15; Primitivo '15; Mozarabe '16
Well I haven't seen them on the Camino yet, but I did get done by outside the Alhambra in Granada. We came out after 4hours to find a group of women waiting for tourists, all with a sprig of rosemary in their hands. One came up to me and wanted to read my fortune (or so I thought) and I thought well maybe it would be fun instead of telling her to bugger off. Thought I'd have to shell out about 5 euros. Ended up costing me 20. That was the most expensive sprig of rosemary I've ever bought as I didn't understand a bloody word of the gobble she was spouting. Did however find a 20 Euro note on the road later that night. Don't think it was the same one I parted with though.
 

jimb01930

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Pamplona (Sept - Oct 2012)
Caminho Portugal from Lisbon (Aug-Sept 2013)
European Peace Walk - Vienna, AU to Trieste, IT (2014)
Via Fracigena - Sienna to Rome (2015)
Here's the thing . . . there have been people scamming pilgrims for a thousand years. They are good at it. Do not feel badly if you get scammed. Everybody does. With the best scammers, very few even notice.


The best scams are subtle. My personal favorite was the young man working reception at the albergue in Pamplona. He ran the “No change” scam on everyone. If I remember right, the cost of a night there was 7euros. Whenever a pilgrim would hand him 10e or 20e for a couple he would pull out an empty change tray and say “no change” Most folks just let it go as they were happy to get a bed after a long day’s walk. The only place in the joint that had Wifi was the anteroom right outside his ao. A few of us were there for quite a while and heard him run the same line to everyone even after several had paid with the exact amount. When confronted he lost all language skills.


Other scams like the “pilgrims specials” that are advertised but do not actually exist to get you into a restaurant that does not have what you want or you get charged 10e ala carte when you order a “special” . These things happen all the time.


The way I see it Camino is a great experience for really short money. Do not let the scams get you down or put you off. These are people who are no different from us. They are trying to survive in a system that values money more than it values virtue. Count your blessings! Remember how blessed we are to be able to do this trek ! “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” Smile, and bless all in your heart.
 
M

Maverick

Guest
I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but on the Frances last week I was approached twice by young (Spanish, presumably) women, petitioning for donations to some local? charity for the deaf. At first I thought it was some kind of survey - they carried clip boards with official-looking forms - but money was requested. About a dozen signatures and amounts given were displayed - I gave 2 euros. However, it seemed that every other "donator" had put in 10,20 or 30 euros. Being somewhat cynical, I suspect that a nought had been added to each amount - I cannot believe that the dozen or so pilgrims before me had all put in such significant amounts.
The first encounter was just before O'Cebreiro, then 2 days later near Ventas de Naron - same woman both times. The second time I was ready, for her. I post this, not in any way to discourage genuine acts of charity giving, but because one is not expecting this, and on reflection it does seem a mite suspect.
 

christer1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
none (yet)
I saw about 10 of these and gave nothing. I have many other avenues to charity where I know what the money goes to.
 

vicrev

Active Member
I read some where about a person who when he was approached by" rosemary sellers" he would dig in his pocket & produce a glass eye,offer it to them & they would scatter.........I thought I would try something similar,bought a Egyptian broach thingo with an eye painted on it, so far it works............:)..........Vicrev
 

vicrev

Active Member
Just had a thought after my last Post,the"rosemary sellers"might think Iv'e got the evil eye......:eek:........thats why they avoid me.........;).........keep smiling.........Vicrev
 

stevenjarvis

Active Member
Pilgrims should also be aware that sometimes the person asking for the donation, showing information on a clipboard etc is simply a distraction for a pickpocket who will try and liberate a wallet from the victim or their backpack / waist pack. Pickpockets may operate in three's or more, one distracting, one stealing and passing to a third who removes the cask/cards/passport then dumps the wallet/purse.
 

RoryGentry

Follow me!!! (Where are we, anyway?)
Camino(s) past & future
Burgos to Santiago, Sept. 16-Oct. 3, 2013

Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia to Santiago, April 2014
Come ON JALAN JAUH! Everyone needs a break from their working day! :wink: :lol: :lol:
Incidentally, was anyone approached by that dude in the fancy costume selling CD's in front of the cathedral in Santiago? We politely said "no thank you" but that (apparently) was not going to cut it with this gentleman who then indignantly said "I'm not pleased with you" "I replied "not to worry mate, you'll get over it" and we then went on our way. 10 days later upon our return to Santiago we were accosted again by the same man, in view of his previous rudeness my wife said "Same answer as last week mate".....he then said "I am VERY unhappy with you!" I said You were unhappy LAST week too mate, you get used to it! :lol:
That same guy approached me, and started his speech. I looked at the albums he was holding, and politely listened to what he had to say. He ended with, "the children are the future." I then said, "Sorry, no cash. I only have plastic." Boy, did he get PISSED! He mumbled something rude, and I said, "Sorry, pal. You approached me. You wasted your own time."

I was also approached by a "pregnant" woman asking for money. I promptly pointed out to her that her "baby" (a balled up sweatshirt stuffed in her shirt) was lumpy, and the sleeve was hanging out the bottom of her shirt. LOL
 

Caplen

Wherever you go, there you are.
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2000 - Frances;
Summer 2001 - Norte/Frances/Fisterra;
Spring 2015 - SJPdP>Irun(GR10)>SdC((Norte)>Fisterra/Muxia
I read some where about a person who when he was approached by" rosemary sellers" he would dig in his pocket & produce a glass eye,offer it to them & they would scatter.........I thought I would try something similar,bought a Egyptian broach thingo with an eye painted on it, so far it works............:)..........Vicrev
Funny, I've always kept a glass evil eye like this hanging on my pack:

Guess I'll see if it works on my next Camino! :D
 
M

MendiWalker

Guest
From the various examples mentioned above they are typical scams carried out by Eastern Europeans not Spanish who already get public help for housing and such.
Seems some want to map an extra buck. As P.T.Barnum once said, "There´s a sucker born every minute." Be alert. Watch out for your wallet. BTW they aren´t like the guy in the movie "The Way" either.

Buen Camino!
 
N

NoQ

Guest
I encountered these East Europeans just after Sarria in August. They had their clipboard with the 20 / 30 Euro donations and started the dumb can't speak spiel. Funny, but when I spoke in Slovak to them (I lived there for 2 years in the early nineties and tried to learn the lingo) their eyes almost popped out and they couldn't get away from me fast enough. Curious.

Anyway, for any non European, the truth is that most of Europe knows about this nonsense now (beggars crying for Sarajevo in metro trains for rather too long, beggars pushing 'lucky' stars or whatever into a passer by's hand and asking for money...paper money please, etc) but the Camino, just like Paris and many other cities across Europe has such an eclectic mix that these people know they can find unsuspecting people to part with their hard earned cash. If people actually give, then there'll be more and more of them.
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese Estellas 2014 Aurelia 2016 St Davids 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P. 2018 Michael Mary Way
Perhaps the best thing to do would be to smile widely and gesture to your ears and mouth - basically sign language - 'I am deaf and dumb too - how wonderful you are collecting for US!!
I do not generally give to folk 'chugging' nowadays - even when they are legit - I find it a bit galling that they assume they need to 'talk me into' charity. If I get waylaid I just explain that I give as much as I can afford to charities I have supported for many years. I do believe that consistent giving probably does more good - via planning etc, than one off donations anyway. And if I were giving a one off donation I would rather check out the charity and ensure they are legit and use the money well , not waste it on big cars, salaries, parties etc!!!
But I do agree with several previous posters - everyone has to live - and even in the UK, which has a fairly good welfare system, lots of people fall through the cracks (especially those with mental health problems, addictions, lack of education etc) So I do quite often buy people food - a hot pasty and a cup of tea - even when they probably would of preferred a shot of smack and a can of Special Brew...!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2014)
I've been traveling alone internationally since my late teens, and domestically (with parental limits imposed!) since my mid-teens. As most girls are, I was taught the importance of being accommodating, friendly, and polite regardless of the danger to myself (be a NICE GIRL! And of course NICE GIRLS and LADIES don't talk back, don't have an attitude, and aren't [gasp, clutch pearls] RUDE. )After a few very close calls my first time to England alone at 20 I learned that nice girls are not going to last long without being Nice, Polite victims of harassment and possibly assault. I have fought tooth and nail and knees to the balls in isolated alleys. I am no longer nice to strangers who have assertively and deliberately invaded my space.

Why do I mention this? Because North Americans, especially women, are taught that it's rude to ignore someone who is trying to get your attention and speaking directly to you.
And this is why scams are so very easy to pull off on North Americans. We want to be polite. And then experts reel you in with their sad stories.
I seldom get hassled now, because I don't engage at all. If someone's physically blocking my way I bark "no" aggressively in whatever language. A sharp "NEIN!" Works if "no" doesn't. But any conversation at all is not a good idea. The "no!" is only when ignoring them doesn't work.
If in doubt, watch how locals handle the beggars/scam artists. They are brusque and very "rude" by not responding to questions, and just walking on.

Be sensible, don't be a rube, trust your gut, and be open to all the lovely people out there too.
 
M

MendiWalker

Guest
I've been traveling alone internationally since my late teens, and domestically (with parental limits imposed!) since my mid-teens. As most girls are, I was taught the importance of being accommodating, friendly, and polite regardless of the danger to myself (be a NICE GIRL! And of course NICE GIRLS and LADIES don't talk back, don't have an attitude, and aren't [gasp, clutch pearls] RUDE. )After a few very close calls my first time to England alone at 20 I learned that nice girls are not going to last long without being Nice, Polite victims of harassment and possibly assault. I have fought tooth and nail and knees to the balls in isolated alleys. I am no longer nice to strangers who have assertively and deliberately invaded my space.

Why do I mention this? Because North Americans, especially women, are taught that it's rude to ignore someone who is trying to get your attention and speaking directly to you.
And this is why scams are so very easy to pull off on North Americans. We want to be polite. And then experts reel you in with their sad stories.
I seldom get hassled now, because I don't engage at all. If someone's physically blocking my way I bark "no" aggressively in whatever language. A sharp "NEIN!" Works if "no" doesn't. But any conversation at all is not a good idea. The "no!" is only when ignoring them doesn't work.
If in doubt, watch how locals handle the beggars/scam artists. They are brusque and very "rude" by not responding to questions, and just walking on.

Be sensible, don't be a rube, trust your gut, and be open to all the lovely people out there too.

Totally agree with you on that. Us Americans are suckers for scammers.:(
Nowadays when someone comes up to me and asks for money, I just point to the nearest bank and say………... " Try there they have loads of money!" and continue walking. By the way I say it with a smile , my mother taught me to be polite to people.:)

Buen Camino!
 

nreyn12

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked (2005) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015); Guide leading groups 2013-present
On October 16, leaving O'Cebreiro, I encountered three women running the deaf-mute-collecting-euros scam, about 200 yards/meters after the albergue. I didn't even slow down, but just said 'no, sorry' as I walked by. I am glad that I wasn't walking alone when I met them, out there on the trail in the woods! They are still out there...
 

StuartM

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012)
Only really read this thread today so a bit late. They were operating the same thing in Oviedo cathedral when I was there. The sheets looked really poorly done which set me suspicious, I just said no and walked off.
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese Estellas 2014 Aurelia 2016 St Davids 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P. 2018 Michael Mary Way
We Brits are so polite too - when I found a guy trying to rob my bag on the Madrid underground I was stuttering - trying to find the right words to swear at him in his own language - it just didn't seem right to do it in Anglo-Saxon! Luckily my husband is not polite and pushed him off the train backwards...
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
They were operating the same Scam in Paris a couple of weeks ago. In all of the main tourist areas.
For some reason they pretty much left me alone and went after others. Maybe it was because I was at the tail end of 2 1/2 months of Camino activity and probably looked it.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
We read yesterday of a new scam/threat, chiefly aimed at residents but also taking place on the backstreets of some towns in Spain, not just Galicia.
The person is approached and asked to buy perfume, then offered the bottle to smell the fragrance. It is instead a powerful knockout drug with nasty side effects possible. While the person is unconcious their house is ransacked or, on the steet, their wallet/other belongings taken.
Spain is not the only country affected by these gangs and there is effort being made to catch the criminals, but best to be aware and don't buy perfume from a street seller, unless maybe they sniff it first.
 
Last edited:

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
We read yesterday of a new scam/threat, chiefly aimed at residents but also taking place on the backstreets of some towns in Spain, not just Galicia.
The person is approached and asked to buy perfume, then offered the bottle to smell the fragrance. It is instead a powerful knockout drug with nasty side effects possible. While the person is unconcious their house is ransacked or, on the steet, their wallet/other belongings taken.
Spain is not the only country affected by these gangs and there is effort being made to catch the criminals, but best to be aware and don't buy perfume from a street seller, unless maybe they sniff it first.
Yes, I live in southern Spain and have also seen a local warning about this scam. It is difficult to know whether it is true or not, but forearmed is forewarned!

.....Camino Frances with my daughter: http://magwood.wordpress.com
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
Look at it this way: The medieval pilgrimage was full of thieves and scammers. They are part of the authentic experience and should be appreciated as such.
 

tploomis

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept. to Nov., 2013
I was pickpocketed in late September in the Atocha railway station in Madrid after being in Spain less than an hour! I have to say I was impressed with the woman's professionalism. She distracted me by offering to help me find the right train track and lifted my wallet and cut the tether while bumping me, an additional distraction. After that I had no credit cards to worry about!

We were approached by the deaf mute girls outside of Sarria at the end of October. They readily accepted our refusal to donate money. I did notice their clipboard had a number of names on it with large donations. I think they might get more donations if they made the recorded donations in lower amounts. I knew about this scam because of this thread.

I assume that issues of trust, distrust, and gullibility come up on the Camino for people for whom these are issues. What I learned from getting pickpocketed was worth far more than the inconvenience it caused. I want to be able to trust the trustworthy and recognize the untrustworthy.
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
I was pickpocketed in late September in the Atocha railway station in Madrid after being in Spain less than an hour! I have to say I was impressed with the woman's professionalism. She distracted me by offering to help me find the right train track and lifted my wallet and cut the tether while bumping me, an additional distraction. After that I had no credit cards to worry about!

We were approached by the deaf mute girls outside of Sarria at the end of October. They readily accepted our refusal to donate money. I did notice their clipboard had a number of names on it with large donations. I think they might get more donations if they made the recorded donations in lower amounts. I knew about this scam because of this thread.

I assume that issues of trust, distrust, and gullibility come up on the Camino for people for whom these are issues. What I learned from getting pickpocketed was worth far more than the inconvenience it caused. I want to be able to trust the trustworthy and recognize the untrustworthy.
Hello tploomis,

I am sorry to hear you have been the victim of pickpocketing in madrid at atocha station. Atocha and chamartin stations, the puerta del sol areas, plaza santa ana, etc, have a high concentration of pickpockets. The victims are just not tourists, but also local residents. You have to be alert. If you need information at the station it is better to approach the security guards or station attendants. Do not trust any other persons who tried to be helpful.

The scams by the deaf and mute girls are everywhere. I worked for 2 1/2 months this past summer in santiago and there are usually 2 young girls hanging around the oficina del peregrinos inside and outside the court yard and also in the vicinity of the cathedral by the door soliciting money with clipboards. Please do not give them any money. I have seemed too many innocent tourists giving them money. That is why they hang around the area with high concentration of tourist and pilgrims.

If you want to be charitable, spent more money on the small pueblos in gratitude for their kind hospitality.

Buen camino to all peregrinos and god bless.
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
I was pickpocketed in late September in the Atocha railway station in Madrid after being in Spain less than an hour! I have to say I was impressed with the woman's professionalism. She distracted me by offering to help me find the right train track and lifted my wallet and cut the tether while bumping me, an additional distraction. After that I had no credit cards to worry about!

We were approached by the deaf mute girls outside of Sarria at the end of October. They readily accepted our refusal to donate money. I did notice their clipboard had a number of names on it with large donations. I think they might get more donations if they made the recorded donations in lower amounts. I knew about this scam because of this thread.

I assume that issues of trust, distrust, and gullibility come up on the Camino for people for whom these are issues. What I learned from getting pickpocketed was worth far more than the inconvenience it caused. I want to be able to trust the trustworthy and recognize the untrustworthy.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I ran into the same two ladies with clipboards three times in three days last year. Once on the hill leading into a village before O'Cebreiro, once a couple km before Sarria and the third time ... don't recall. There were a couple of men following them outside of Sarria by about half a km. I blew them off after having a look at their clipboard, they claimed to be collecting in order to build a Deaf Academy on behalf of the charity Caritas, and there's no way that Caritas would fund raise like this.

The second and third time I saw them, I waved and said, "Oh it's you again" and I didn't lessen my pace. A story was going around the day after I first encountered them that the police had detained them briefly. I couldn't figure out why they were moving westward and then walking into us over and over again. I'm not THAT slow.
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
And, of course, there are genuine Deaf people making a living. In Spain they are often selling lotto tickets. In France they are often selling tourist trinkets quite often going round restaurants to do this
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
And, of course, there are genuine Deaf people making a living. In Spain they are often selling lotto tickets. In France they are often selling tourist trinkets quite often going round restaurants to do this
I wondere whether these could be the two hanging around the cathedral in santiago and around the oficina del peregrinos.

Just ignore them and don't pay any attention to them and don't ever give them any money.

Yes, you are right, the spanish government give deaf people the license to sell lottery tickets with kiosk on the streets.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
One has to be aware that 192,000 + pilgrims walking along the Caminos to Santiago each year are a moveable feast .... predators will appear, picking off the weak and the unaware. It is as it has always been ... think about it .. I have sat in village squares and watched this - so many pilgrims have ridiculously expensive specific walking clothes, costing hundreds and hundreds of Euros, expensive backpacks, cameras ... why .. even some of the walking poles cost more than the weekly unemployment benefit in Spain ... therefore the rich pilgrim is a target - and don't immediately think "but I am not a rich pilgrim" - of course you are; the very fact that you are on pilgrimage, if you come from a different country, means that you are. I am not speaking of those who saved for years, who bought secondhand kit, who live simply, who don't even own a camera - those in the minority, but the other pilgrims - you most likely took five weeks off work, flew over half the way round the world ... before you left you visited trekking shops and spent hundreds, hundreds, some even thousands, on special clothing and kit, .. and most can afford to eat out every night - do you not know that most people on this planet never eat out? Most humans on this planet never have the spare money to eat out, let alone every night for week after week ..... so, to many poor people and most predators, you are like fat wildebeest, migrating across the plains .. you are a target, of course you are ....

But, let us not get out of proportion here - ... of that 192,000 pilgrims last year .. how many had problems? two dozen? if that ..... so - I would say to all of you ... be kind, keep a coins pocket to give to those in need, do not flaunt your wealth .... dress simply, walk simply, live simply ..... and be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves ...

... Buen Camino
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 1/2 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
If you want to help actual beggars, keep some food in an accessible pocket. When I lived in Spain, I used to have small bags of nuts. When Madrid beggars did their usual "Tengo hambre" spiel (I'm hungry) I'd give them a bag of nuts. Hungry people would usually tear the bag open and eat the nuts straight away, while the ones who just wanted money would either refuse or take the bag and throw it at me.

Where I live, there have been reports of people who have helped the beggars get here and who demand most of their take. If they get food they can eat straight away, it won't help their "handlers".
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
So true Heidl. Over here (UK) there are small-time criminals called "taxmen" who prey on beggars and take most of their money, threatening violence if they don't comply. If I meet a beggar who is asking for money for food I tend to go into the nearest shop - they are usually sitting near small inner town corner supermarkets - and buy some fruit or similar and give them that. When the winter really hit I had a spare waterproof and windproof coat, so I took in into town in a bag three times and offered it to street beggars. Two of them laughed at me, two of them said they didn't want it .... I put the coat in a charity shop eventually. However - I still believe that we should give if we are able, unless it is an obvious ferret-eyed con. We don't know the back story and we are wealthy .. that we are in Spain on Camino means that we are wealthy, even if we think we are poor.
Apart from this, it is the act of giving that is good for us, don't you think?
 
Last edited:

Gillyweb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Villafranca - Santiago (2013)
SJPP - Santiago (2014)
Portugues (2017)
I met them last year near Sarria but more worrying was the guy mentioned above posing as a pilgrim with a backpack. I had decided to walk late into the afternoon so was really alone. I also said Buen Camino and then got the story about the damaged cards and no money. I said I had no change and walked on. I was however on a lonely stretch - I can't recall where exactly - and very shortly afterwards I was met by another scruffy guy coming in the other direction. There was nowhere for him to be be coming from or going to and my sixth sense was triggered. As he passed me he turned into a little clearing and just waited, looking at me, then came back out and started to follow me. My walking stick went up in my hand like a weapon and my whistle came out. After a minute or two, rather than be followed I stepped into a gap in the hedge and stood whistle in mouth, sword (as it were) in hand till he went by. He went round the corner, vanished and I never saw him again. I'm not convinced the guy posing as a pilgrim wasn't passing on messages about lone pilgrims to the second guy, but I'll never be sure. For certain it wasn't a good moment and I was pretty scared all the way to the next town, but it was the only really scary moment on a short pilgrimage that otherwise felt incredibly safe. And it hasn't put me off heading back for the whole thing this year - just a little wiser.
 
Last edited:

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
One has to be aware that 192,000 + pilgrims walking along the Caminos to Santiago each year are a moveable feast .... predators will appear, picking off the weak and the unaware. It is as it has always been ... think about it .. I have sat in village squares and watched this - so many pilgrims have ridiculously expensive specific walking clothes, costing hundreds and hundreds of Euros, expensive backpacks, cameras ... why .. even some of the walking poles cost more than the weekly unemployment benefit in Spain ... therefore the rich pilgrim is a target - and don't immediately think "but I am not a rich pilgrim" - of course you are; the very fact that you are on pilgrimage, if you come from a different country, means that you are. I am not speaking of those who saved for years, who bought secondhand kit, who live simply, who don't even own a camera - those in the minority, but the other pilgrims - you most likely took five weeks off work, flew over half the way round the world ... before you left you visited trekking shops and spent hundreds, hundreds, some even thousands, on special clothing and kit, .. and most can afford to eat out every night - do you not know that most people on this planet never eat out? Most humans on this planet never have the spare money to eat out, let alone every night for week after week ..... so, to many poor people and most predators, you are like fat wildebeest, migrating across the plains .. you are a target, of course you are ....

But, let us not get out of proportion here - ... of that 192,000 pilgrims last year .. how many had problems? two dozen? if that ..... so - I would say to all of you ... be kind, keep a coins pocket to give to those in need, do not flaunt your wealth .... dress simply, walk simply, live simply ..... and be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves ...

... Buen Camino
You know, I'd just like to add, many of us are accustomed to wearing rings, earrings, necklaces, etc. and I have seen many women on the camino with the same jewellery that they wear at home. I would caution you to leave all your jewellery at home when you go to walk your camino. "Bling" is a major alert to thieves that you have money and other valuables. Don't make yourself a target.
 

CaminoKris2013

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2014)
Very good point, Lynne. I, for one, don't wear jewelry other than my scallop shell necklace (thanks, David). I am a daughter of a former NYC policeman who put into a healthy dose of skepticism. I am friendly, but also cautious as a rule.
 

Bonners

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy en Velay to Santiago de Compostela (2014)
I was pickpocketed in late September in the Atocha railway station in Madrid after being in Spain less than an hour! I have to say I was impressed with the woman's professionalism. She distracted me by offering to help me find the right train track and lifted my wallet and cut the tether while bumping me, an additional distraction. After that I had no credit cards to worry about!

We were approached by the deaf mute girls outside of Sarria at the end of October. They readily accepted our refusal to donate money. I did notice their clipboard had a number of names on it with large donations. I think they might get more donations if they made the recorded donations in lower amounts. I knew about this scam because of this thread.

I assume that issues of trust, distrust, and gullibility come up on the Camino for people for whom these are issues. What I learned from getting pickpocketed was worth far more than the inconvenience it caused. I want to be able to trust the trustworthy and recognize the untrustworthy.
Hi, I was approached in Brisbane Australia of all places with this scam. I offered $5 which he took in his hand. Then he showed me the clipboard with supposed donations of $30 to $50 and very rudely demanded more. I dropped my almost empty take away coffee cup on the pavement, then snatched my $5 back out of his hand, told him that was the price for being ungrateful, empty hands and coffee stains on his trousers. But many thanks for the warning, I have been too busy with preparations to even think of personal security.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
Most times your common sense will warn you it's a take or scam (I'll walk past quickly )but I also try to have coins at the ready as quite often (specially in Spain), you see genuine cases : when both head and heart are telling you this is genuine . To go against how I truly feel, I think, makes me feel 'un Christian '
And a meany!

Too bad if I've been taken. As you say we've spent a lot more that that to get to Spain and we know the unemployment is high. Seeing someone unemployed but trying - I would help any day.

Somewhere on the Frances last year there were a couple of gents with a table of bits and pieces, home made bread, chocolate etc.
Trying to make a few euros ft donations. Their board /message that this was how they were trying - they preferred to do that than 'rob you'. Their words.
Annie
 

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (1994)
Camino Francés (2013 - 2018)
Camino Portugués (2015 - 2018)
the ladies were 'working' the camino between april and october last year, moving between palas de rei and sarria. they are not deaf or mute and yes, they are a scam. they are not dangerous, but if possible, the local police or guardia civil should be notified.

charity organisations never ask for donations outside of towns in spain - simple fact.
 

Thomas1962

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010: Porto - SdC - Finisterra 2011: E4 on Crete 2012: Le Puy - SJPdP 2013: Camino Madrid -> Del Salvador -> Primitivo 2014: European Peace Walk. 2015: Amsterdam - SdC & Barcelona -Burgos. 2016:Norte & hospitalero
Off course it is important to be cautious and keep on using common sense on the camino.
But I also would like to stress the words of David saying that only a few dozen out of 192.000 people did actually have some bad experience themselves. (and 192.000 did hear something about it...) Off course, it is a shocking thing when it actually does happen to you.
Still, especially in this thread, I would like to stress out that in general the camino is a very, very, very safe place to be. Althought it is a very subjective thing, I personally haven't felt more safe and rich anywhere else.
 
Last edited:

Silvester

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Salvador (2014)
Camino Primitivo (2014)
Camino Muxia (2014)
Camino Fisterra (2014)
Very good point, Lynne. I, for one, don't wear jewelry other than my scallop shell necklace (thanks, David). I am a daughter of a former NYC policeman who put into a healthy dose of skepticism. I am friendly, but also cautious as a rule.
Not even a wedding band that is a very snug fit? Actually, with current gold rates, a gold ring is probably a fairly conspicuously valuable nowadays... even if not flashy/blingy.
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Interesting that you should mention wedding bands. On my first camino, I only wore my wedding band, but it became very uncomfortable after not too long, because of swelling of my hands in the heat and being in contact with my poles. So now my husband and I walk "unmarried" and bling-free.

EDIT: Just re-read the above:) - I wore clothing and gear in addition to my wedding band!:D
 

Gillyweb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Villafranca - Santiago (2013)
SJPP - Santiago (2014)
Portugues (2017)
Off course it is important to be cautious and keep on using common sense on the camino.
But I also would like to stress the words of David saying that only a few dozen out of 192.000 people did actually have some bad experience themselves. (and 192.000 did hear something about it...) Off course, it is a shocking thing when it actually does happen to you.
Still, especially in this thread, I would like to stress out that in general the camino is a very, very, very safe place to be. Althought it is a very subjective thing, I personally haven't felt more safe and rich anywhere else.
Absolutely and perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned my bad experience because I don't want to cause any alarm. In fact I was astonished at how safe I felt on my 120 mile stretch. But it does no harm to remind people to be aware and exercise caution and common sense, and I confess has made me slightly nervous about some stretches this year....My advice would be trust your own instincts and if you feel uncomfortable act on that. If you don't feel at all threatened but still get ripped off it's just part of life's great circle and no great loss. Hoping I leave my small bout of nerves quickly behind somewhere near SJPP.
 

Darryle

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2014
We came across the same scam on Barcelona in 2007. My reply is standard I gave in Paris. Unless in Paris. In Barcelona they surrounded my wife and were about to rob her.
I just pushed them away and yelled at them.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese Estellas 2014 Aurelia 2016 St Davids 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P. 2018 Michael Mary Way
I agree with David and others, we need to keep a sensible head on, but I would rather be ripped off a few times than fail to help someone in real need. Often in cities my husband brushes beggars/scammers etc off and I wander behind with coins/food ready in case I think/feel people are genuine. After having my purse nearly taken yet again in Antibes, my husband took to walking behind me - with his fist ready!!!
 

supersullivan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago 2012. SJPP-Santiago-Finisterre-Muxia 2013. Ponferrada-Santiago June 2014. Leon-Santiago-Finisterre September 2014. April-May 2015: SJPP- S de C- Finisterre -Muxia- S de C.
The 2 women I saw near Sarria in June with the clipboard and the page half filled with €20/€30 'donations' were working around the Cathedral area and Rua de Vilar in Santiago in the last week when I passed through on the way to Finisterre and on my return back. They were still approaching obvious peregrinos in preference to the normal tourist.

Seamus
 

Camino2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés
SJPP to Santiago (2010)
SJPP to Fisterra (2011)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2012)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2015)
SJPP to Fisterra/Muxia (2016)
I was approached by the two Hungarian guys just before St Juan in June, but actually thought they might have been a bit genuine. They certainly looked very tanned and rugged as if they had walked a long distance - I'm sure they were scamming to get money but felt it probably was to go home. Gave them a couple of Euros. Saw the deaf and dumb women near O'Cebreiro. I too thought it was some kind of survey until I read the sheet and looked closer at them - As soon as I read someone from New Zealand had given 45 euros I knew it was a scam - I live in Australia and have a ton of Kiwi friends and I assure you none of them would donate 45 euros out in the middle of nowhere!
This is a long time later to be replying to your post, but if you happen to see it, I'm reasonably sure this could have been my friend from Hungary (who I met on my first Camino in 2010), and his uncle. They were indeed on their way back to Hungary at that time (having walked the Camino west together first), and short on money, and they used what was given to them to return home. If it was my friend you saw, I went to stay with him and his family in Hungary in 2011, and they were incredibly kind and generous (his mom is an amazing cook!). It was the first example to me that you can meet someone from halfway around the world on the Camino (I'm from Canada), and not know how you could ever see them again, and then it gets to happen! My friend wanted very much to take his uncle on the Camino, and it helped to save his uncle's life, because he was feeling pretty lost before they went. I'm glad they had that experience together, even if maybe it would have been good for them to have had more money saved before they went. ;)
 

OLDER threads on this topic


Book your lodging here

Booking.com


Advertisement

Booking.com

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 12 1.3%
  • February

    Votes: 5 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 40 4.4%
  • April

    Votes: 136 15.1%
  • May

    Votes: 223 24.8%
  • June

    Votes: 66 7.3%
  • July

    Votes: 19 2.1%
  • August

    Votes: 13 1.4%
  • September

    Votes: 261 29.0%
  • October

    Votes: 108 12.0%
  • November

    Votes: 12 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.6%
Top