Prague Pickpockets and Theft
You have to be careful both in a hotel in Prague and while sight seeing. Theft is higher here than in other European cities like Madrid, Barcelona or even Paris. The pickpocket hot spots are the tram stops in Klarovo namesti close to the Wenceslas Square, Strossmayerorov Namesti in Prague Old Town and Malostranske Namesti in the the Mala Strana are appealing places for pickpocketing. Lately pickpockets have been noticed in the parking of lots of Prague shopping centres such as the one in Smichov at Andel. They watch clients to put their purses on the roof of the car while loading up the boot. Tourists are an easy target for petty thievery. Avoid any place where you’ll be pressed up against strangers. Pickpockets on trams and metro have numerous routines to relieve travellers of their valuables. Have a copy of your passport and avoid carrying too much cash. They post small children who crouch low and snatch your purse before you know what happened. Beware of false policemen in plainclothes. No policeman in plain clothes will ask you for id. Their scam is to tell you that your papers are not in order and that you must pay a fine of a few hundred Euros. Don’t let the pickpockets ruin your trip but no need to be paranoid.
Prague Taxi Drivers
Taxi drivers are not to be trusted for prices and they typically try to take advantage of tourists. There is almost zero regulation of the industry and many are mafia controlled. The best way to avoid being taken for a ride, is to phone a central dispatcher (CityTaxis) to send a car to you. Avoid using cars marked “transport”, and those without pricing information posted on the door and never agree to “negotiate” a price – taxis should always have a meter running. Don’t think that meter will guarantee fair price – they have “turbo switch” on the meter- price on the meter will run like crazy. If you notice that – ask to stop. From and to the airport better if you use a reliable Prague transfer or shuttle service to avoid any bad surprises.
Prague Stag & Hen Parties
Because beer and drinks are so cheap, those throwing parties find it cheaper to fly to Prague to buy massive amounts of alcohol than to do it at home. They are so wild and out of control that even vacationers are annoyed at the over abundance of stag members. If you are looking to avoid rowdy Brits on Hen and Stag parties, then avoid Wenceslas Square in the evening; the abundance of bars and clubs make it a very popular area for drinking, which in many cases, leads to violent outbreaks.
Prague Restaurant Scams
This works in a number of ways. Restaurants don’t print prices or English and Czech menus show different prices. If in doubt – ask to see the Czech menu. If the restaurant claims not to have any menus, leave. In the center of Prague, there are many restaurants and you’ll be able to find an honest one. Group scams normally centre on the number of drink or side dishes consumed. As the waiter will normally ask if you want to pay “together” then expect to pay 10% more than the correct price as in general it’s pretty easy to squeeze in a few extra drinks or plates of chips etc. The hand-written bill scam, in a Czech pub or “pivnice”, it’s usual for drink or bar food to be marked on paper and the cost calculated at the end. In restaurants this is not usual practice and even if you ask to pay “separately” you will almost certainly be overcharged for something.
Prague Changing Money Scam
You can be scammed in two ways with exchange. One is illegal and the other is quasi-legal. In the gray area, exchange offices will advertise a higher rate which only applies to large sums of money. The only time you realize is when you’ve handed over your dollars, pounds or euros and got much less than you expected in return. So check the exchange rates and commissions. The absolutely illegal variant is someone approaching you on the street to change money. People think they’re getting a good rate only to discover they’ve been given counterfeit notes. The Czech police consider this to be such a problem that they even have a mobile stall advising people. The only way to guarantee you won’t be scammed is to never change money with anyone who is not in an exchange office or a bank.
ATM Scams in Prague
It is safer and more convenient to use an ATM located within a bank and as large denomination notes are frequently given, the bank will break them down to smaller denominations free of charge. Be aware that although the ATM is located in a bank, it may not be operated by the bank. The CSOB bank uses a contractor to operate it’s ATM system. Note that this does not eliminate problems but it does reduce them. An ATM within a shop or private building are notorious for breaking down and keeping cards. At least if the bank ATM breaks down you’ve got a better chance of getting your card back the next day. This scam has been widely reported across the globe. A fake reader can be inserted into an ATM machine and steal data while a camera records your pin, as can be seen on this article at Snopes. A more recent a lo-tech approach was apparently a sticky money slot. Always ask the ATM for a receipt and keep it even if you get the money ok. I’ve known it several times that tourists think the transaction has not worked but, in fact the account was debited. Take it up with your credit card company or bank and give them the receipt details. If you get no ATM receipt, make a note of the bank name, street, local time and amount requested in local currency.
Prague Fake Policemen
There are very few plain clothes police. Those that do not have uniforms will have other police identification such as a baseball cap or t-shirt with “policie” on it. If you are stopped by someone who claims to be a policeman and you are unsure, ask to see his identification paper. If that doesn’t work, go to the nearest hotel reception to sort whatever problem there is and the reception should be able to translate into English for you. If you get caught up in this then you carry what you can afford to lose. This is a money crime that affects tourists. No police will stop you on the street. All experts on large city forums advise “do not carry large amounts of cash”. I’m sure that the “escort to police station” only comes if you have refused to let them see the wallet. In this case expect to lose everything when you get to the next quiet street.
Prague Fake Public Transport Inspectors
A person will claim to be a ticket inspector and claim a fine. The inspectors from the Prague Metropolitan Transport Service (DPP) are required to display a badge and are usually dressed in blue uniforms. Some do travel ‘incognito’ but they will show you the badge too. Also an inspector will write out a ticket you are not required to pay straight away; it is only cheaper if you do (700 CZK on the spot, 950 CZK at the office). For more information and an example of the inspector’s badge.
Prague Re-routed Trams
Tram lines are always being repaired somewhere! This means trams do get re-routed. Check out the latest changes before getting in. Re-routed trams are printed in yellow on the timetables. Standard routes are in white. In a city as old as Prague, the infrastructure needs constant repair. This means tearing up streets and, inevitably, re-routing your tram.
Prostitution in Prague
After 10PM main tourist areas are lined with girls offering sexual services. Although prostitution is illegal, the local police turn blind eye. Do not pickup any girls from the streets, it can be very dangerous. You could end up without any money and maybe with some disease.
- The Best Areas of Prague to Stay in? (kingwenceslas.co.uk)
- Tips on how to stay safe in Prague (kingwenceslas.co.uk)
- How to Get from Prague Airport to the City Centre (kingwenceslas.co.uk)