Thankfully the smaller crowds also mean petty crime is less common. But, you can still run into trouble, and there are pick pockets in certain areas. These places shouldn't be avoided all-together, but you should be sure to exercise extra caution.
In Sofia, Sveta Nedelya Square and its underpass near the Sheraton Hotel and the underpass to Central Station are popular haunts for criminals, some high on glue and other chemicals.
The red light district near Pliska Hotel and park areas near Lion's Bridge, or Lvov Most, also have unsavoury sorts hanging about and there's the occasional mugging.
Resort areas like Sunny Beach and the mountain ski resorts can also be problematic with their growing population of scammers and criminals, who sometimes are very forceful and persistent.
Groups of children may try to pickpocket or mug you in the cities of Sofia and Varna, while bag slashers may cut your purse straps on public transport.
If you rent a car, park it in a secure area and preferably not on the street. And watch out for the friendly stranger who comes to your assistance when your tyres have been slashed/deflated. It was probably him who did it, and as he helps you his accomplice is helping himself to your valuables in the car!
Red light districts are always magnets for criminals, and in Bulgaria there's the possibility of a gang element in the nightclubs and casinos of the red light districts which can sometimes erupt into violent attacks, shootings and bombings between rival groups.
Prostitutes may grope and rob people as well. Hiring a prostitute is also not a good idea, as many do not get checked for sexually transmitted diseases.
Of course do not buy drugs on the street or in the clubs.
And at Sunny Beach watch out for criminals posing as police who will attempt to fine you for vague offenses.
The ski resorts peddlers will have "traditional" Bulgarian bells for sale. They usually aren't genuine.
ATM card skimming, credit card and internet fraud have become a popular way for criminals to relieve you of your savings. Take caution when withdrawing from ATM's and try to avoid ATM's facing out on the street especially at night. Scammers can also get your card details via unsecure wifi networks, so use only protected wifi networks which restaurants, cafes, hotels and others will offer. Better still avoid using your credit card over the internet where possible.
There is also reported to be a "gypsy" element in Bulgaria which popularly gets associated with general beggars and people selling trinkets and other items. The widespread suspicion of these people is not without cause, so keep a close eye on your possessions.
Beggars very often do not take "no" for an answer and may hang around you for a while before they finally give up.
These people will also try to sell you pirated DVDs and souvenirs. They may be persistent, but if you give a firm "no", you'll have a good chance of getting them to leave you alone.
These individuals are pretty detailed in targeting tourists, they will find out how long you are staying and bother you each and every day to buy something. If you tell them to leave you alone off the bat, they just might.
Not dangerous, but really annoying are the currency exchangers and taxi drivers who seem to thrive on ripping-off tourists. It's only a few dollars, but it can really spoil your feeling for a place if you let it happen to you.
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