We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Beware of Girls With Clipboards

Malaga, Spain
Level Contributor
71,300 posts
3,815 reviews
Beware of Girls With Clipboards

Three weeks ago, on a Thursday noon, my wife and I were walking near the Puerta de Alcala when two girls with clipboards blocked our way and asked us to sign a petition for a supposed good cause. I shouted, "No!" and we walked away. The girls were probably pickpockets and/or identity thieves, working for a mafia. They were Eastern Europeans and under the age of 14. In Spain no youth under 14 can serve a jail term for theft.

Spanish youth under the age of 16 will be in school because this is mandatory by law. They will not be on the streets. Honest Spanish people tell their children not to talk to strangers. People from legitimate charities are in their twenties and will wear a vest showing they belong to a charity. They may ask for donations, but never will ask you to sign a petition. The petition will ask for your DNI, the national identity number, which foreigners will not have. The gullible Spanish who sign it will have given away their name and DNI, and the identity thieves may wreck havoc with their lives.

These people know you are a foreigner by the way you look, the way you dress, and the way you walk. You are their target because they assume you are innocent to their tricks. If you stop, while one talks to you, the other may try to pick your pocket or purse.

My advice to you is to say no and walk away. Remember that most honest Spanish people will not talk to you unless you initiate the talk.

Barcelona, Spain
Level Contributor
2,640 posts
1. Re: Beware of Girls With Clipboards

benny, as i asked you in another thread, please you can elaborate what a 'identity thief' can do with a name and dni number, alone? this may be very easy to obtain, much easier that asking for it at the street. without a card or bank account number, i wonder what they can get with only a name and number. is not a rhetorical question, i'm getting really concerned !!!

yes probably these girls were some sort of scam as how you describe them, but if they were adults it could be a legitime cause and not necessarily people woudl wear vests or badges. i'd collaborate with some organizations in the past asking for signatures (not donations). we needed the dni numbers as 'proof' the signatures where legitime, not invented random names. when you get a certain number of signatures you can ask the authorities to consider certain issues (for instance, the proposed law to ban bullfights in catalonia was proposed this way, just to name a recent case). i just want to point that all people asking for signatures are not necessarily thieves working for a maffia.

Dunfermline, United...
Level Contributor
13,744 posts
41 reviews
2. Re: Beware of Girls With Clipboards

Could have been Charity Muggers. Britain is awash with young people armed with clipboards trying to stop passers-by and get them signed up to some regular charity donation. Maybe this practise is catching on in Spain too

Colmenar Viejo...
Level Contributor
1,112 posts
41 reviews
3. Re: Beware of Girls With Clipboards

Nothing wrong with a warning being posted. I've been approached by these types myself. They operate a lot up by the Retiro Park area. As Benny says, just say no and walk on.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
156 posts
12 reviews
4. Re: Beware of Girls With Clipboards

They did seem like scam. I say it only because when we were approached in front of Bernabue Stadium two girls made it look like all we had to do was sign. I could have sworn I saw UNICEF's logo somewhere on the form! We were approached by two girls, so one was with my husband and one was with me. When I was signing and then saw the last column on the sheet marked "donation". I was the third person signing it (it was early in the day) but the previous two signers had donated 20 Euro each! I really didn't think so! I thought they just made that up and I got pissed. I said no way I was giving anything, but the other one wouldn't let my husband go unless he gives something. So, he gave some coins. I don't think anyone from UNICEF or any real organization would misguide people.

We were approached again in front of Royal Palace, actually near the garden to be more specific. But just walked away.

5. Re: Beware of Girls With Clipboards

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 07 July 2010, 17:18
Get answers to your questions about Madrid