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One of the more bizarre and ingenious heists we've heard of involves a bus, a suitcase and a contortionist.

One thief would buy a ticket on the bus from Girona Airport to Barcelona, stowing his suitcase in the compartment below.

While they're cleaning it off they'll clean you out.

Delays at Metro doors, escalators and bus lines are used to keep you still and distracted long enough to rifle through your bag.

Excessive jewellery, expensive cameras and obvious displays of wealth will also get criminal mouths watering.

There are a few easy things you can do to show you are alert to the threat of pickpockets, which is often enough to deter them.

Beware anyone offering to clean 'bird poo off your back.But they are all just variations on the misdirection theme.The difficulty for most travellers comes in deciding what's questionable behaviour and what is just cultural difference. Anyone who is overly friendly or persistent should be treated with caution, whether they're offering an opinion, service or advice.Pickpockets aren't they only ones trying to take you for a ride.There are several scams that can see you scratching your head as someone makes off with your wallet. These gangs of conmen flash a phony ID at you and try and intimidate or confuse you with some trumped up charge or story.

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