One of Rome‘s biggest problems is the number of pickpockets that render the centre unsafe. The buses and metros are infested with them and also in other places where chaos reigns (the lines at the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums, crowded shopping streets and squares like the Piazza di Spagna and the one in front of the Trevi Fountain, the Sunday market at Porta Portese) it is better to be very alert to what happens around you.
Pick-pocketed in Rome?
The Good News First
The good news is that most pickpockets in Rome are only interested in cash and/or objects they can sell, so usually they just throw away credit cards after they have stolen your wallet. The same goes for passports, driver’s licenses and other important documents. Still, it is of course a big nuisance when this happens, so here are some recommendations.
What to do
When you have been robbed of your belongings the first thing to do is to have your credit cards blocked. We recommend that you make sure you either always have the relevant information and phone numbers of the credit card companies or the bank that issued the card(s) with you or make sure that you always have access to it by mailing it to yourself before the start of your holiday.
The next step is to go to a police office in Rome and fill out a form declaring what has been stolen. You will need this for your insurance company and for your embassy in case a passport, driver’s license or other kind of ID is among the stolen objects.
Precautions against pickpockets in Rome
It is of course far better and less time-consuming to make sure that thieves cannot get to your stuff. Some precautions you can take:
- Do not have your wallet in your back pocket.
- Make sure your day-pack is not on your back, but have it in front of you, where you can see it. Especially on the buses and in the underground this is very important.
- When somebody asks you a question, pay attention to what happens around you. It could be somebody trying to get your attention away from his mate, the pickpocket.
- On buses and metros: The person leaning into you might have his fingers in your pocket or getting the attention away from his accomplice.
Unfortunately in Italy it is mandatory to always carry a valid ID, so it is best to carry this underneath your clothes. A copy of your passport is not considered a valid ID.
Main credit card companies
- American Express has an office in Rome. It is situated at the bottom of the Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna 38 – 00187, Rome, Italy). The American Express office is open form Mondays to Fridays from 9 AM until 5,30 PM. On Saturdays it closes at 12,30 PM and on Sundays it is not open at all. Their phone number is: +39 0667641.
- Between 7 AM and 1 AM the following numbers can be called: +39 0672900347 or 800914912.
- The customer service number +39 0672282 is available 24/7.
- Call the bank that has issued your card.
- Alternatively call 800 019 014.
- Call the bank that issued your credit card.
- Or call 800 019 014.
- Diner’s Club has an office in Rome itself, on the Via Abruzzi 2/4. It is open from 8,30 AM until 1,30 PM and from 2,20 AM till 4 PM. The phone number is +39 063575333.
- There is also a 24/7 toll free number: 800864064.
- Carta Si has a toll free number: 800151616.