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Americans planning to vacation in Italy this summer are advised to watch out for scams targeting both tourists and locals alike.

U.S. personnel based at Camp Darby have been among those targeted by individuals or teams who stage car accidents and then try to persuade the victims to pay them for damages, said Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy Gomez, the Army base’s provost sergeant.

Gomez said one soldier targeted did the right thing. He told the accuser he was going to call American and Italian police and wait for them to arrive. The other driver quickly drove off. By calling authorities, the soldier was also following Italian law and starting a paper trail he would need for insurance purposes, Gomez said.

The scams have involved people on scooters or in older cars, who either cause minor accidents or flag down drivers claiming to have been hit. Gomez said carabinieri officers are investigating the incidents and that Americans weren’t the only ones being targeted.

Camp Darby is a popular summer destination for troops and their families from around Europe. It’s far from the only place to see such scams, though. Servicemembers based in Naples and Sicily have reported similar traffic-themed scams over the years.

Gomez said that pickpockets are still a problem at many larger railroad stations around the country. And thieves continue to break into cars where valuables are left in plain sight, so people need to take precautions.

“We don’t mean to scare anybody,” he said. “We just want to inform them.”


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