Security Alert – U.S. Mission Spain

Location:  Spain. 

Event:  U.S. citizens should remain vigilant to the risk of theft and criminal schemes – including pickpocketing in major urban centers and flat tire or pull-over scams on roadways – across Spain.

  • Distraction scams:  In one common scheme, thieves may wave your vehicle over to the side of the road to assist with a flat tire or other mechanical issues.  While you exit the car to examine the purported flat tire, one of the thieves makes off with your valuables from your unlocked car.  In another common scheme, while walking in a tourist area, a stranger may approach and offer to wipe a spill off your clothing, while removing your wallet or other valuables from your pocket or bag.  In both of these distraction scams, thieves work in teams to divert your attention from your belongings.
  • Rental cars:  We have received numerous reports from U.S. citizen tourists whose rental cars, which in many parts of Spain are identified with a large sticker on the back of the vehicle, were robbed of all valuables while parked at scenic overlooks and other tourist locations.
  • Vacation rentals:  Spanish authorities have reported that thieves may be targeting tourists staying in vacation rentals.  Thieves use the calendars included for each property listing on online rental platforms to identify the days when the properties are booked.  Then, they surveil the properties, waiting for guests to depart so they can steal your passports, cash, jewelry, electronics, and other valuables.

Citing the frequency of these crimes, Spanish authorities have assigned more law enforcement officers to popular tourist areas during the summer months.

For more information on common criminal schemes in Spain and ways to avoid them, please visit 

Actions to Take:

  • Be vigilant with your personal belongings.
  • Do not leave valuables unattended, including in your car or rental property.
  • Review your personal security plans.
  • Call 112 if you need emergency assistance.
  • Be alert to criminal schemes as described in the Safety and Security tab on the Spain country information page at 


  • U.S. Embassy Madrid, Spain


  • U.S. Consulate General Barcelona, Spain


  • State Department – Consular Affairs

888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program(STEP) to receive security updates.