Last updated: 01:17 PM ET, Tue June 09 2015

Robbers in Switzerland Posing as Police to Target Tourists

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | June 09, 2015

Robbers in Switzerland Posing as Police to Target Tourists

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Swiss authorities as well as travel professionals are warning tourists about a possible criminal ring in Geneva, Switzerland who are dressing as police officers and targeting tourists.

According to John Hutchinson of the Daily Mail, United Nations at Geneva's security service chief, Andre Bouchard, shared the news of the robbers posing as police officers and claimed that even members of UN staff have been duped by the con artists.

The scam consists of two or three men wearing suits approaching a potential victim while quickly showing their identification. The men will ask for ID from the victim and search through their belongings, stealing what they can while the victim is preoccupied with one of the other accomplices.

Bouchard told the Daily Mail that police officers in Geneva wear their identification badges in clear site and all tourists should carefully inspect them before allowing the search. He also warns that most police hardly ever do a stop-and-search in the country, so people should be suspicious.

The belief is that the group is not violent, but they are known to hang out in areas that are frequented by tourists. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) acknowledged the issue with robberies in Geneva and warned travelers to be cautious and investigate all identification badges thoroughly.

A spokesperson for the ABTA shared a statement with the Daily Mail:

“Although there is a low rate of crime in Switzerland, tourists can be targeted by pickpockets, and thieves in busy areas such city centers, airports, railway stations and on trains. ABTA is aware of some tourists being targeted by scammers in Geneva masquerading as policemen who insist on searching tourists bags at which point they help themselves to any cash inside. Legitimate police would be unlikely to conduct spot checks on tourists' bags and in addition all plain clothed policeman must display an official ID card displaying their photo, symbol of the region as well as wearing a badge.”

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