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New pickpocket scam in Paris

I recently observed what I think is a new version of the clipboard scam. I was in a cafe when 2 very young dark haired girls-12 or 13 years walked in with open maps. They walked over to a table of tourist and claimed to have been lost and needed directions. Another local man started yelling at the girls to get out, by that time they had already pickpocketed the mans wallet. A chase persued and the man got his wallet back. The maps were used to divert their attention and disguise the pickpocketing. Beware.

Posted by
8293 posts

Showing a map is quite an old trick, actually, even used here in Montreal. The fact that the girls actually entered the café is surprising, though.

Posted by
920 posts

Carry a wallet or purse in Paris= idiot. And the Metro is "pick-pocket heaven." I don't feel sorry at all for people that don't use a money belt, etc. But, thanks for the heads up. It would be fun to watch!

Posted by
8251 posts

Actually, I don't think Steve knows what he's talking about. That was a local man whose wallet was stolen, not the tourists. Even if it were the tourists, you're shooting out bad karma, dude. What would RS do. Would he say he'd have fun watching? Thanks for letting readers know about the latest scam. Obviously the local man knew about it. Things have definitely gotten grittier since the fall of the Iron Curtain and the movement of certain desperate populations into Western Europe.

Posted by
104 posts

Reading this I busted out laughing... not the original post of course but some responses. LOL the idea of someone going through there pants digging to find money, and I wasn't speaking of the pocket. I think it is smart to carry large bills and other highly important items close to the body in the belt and the a few euro in the purse, I'm a lady. Ladies do not go through their pants in public. Lol Well neither do gentlemen for that matter. (Not making fun of anyone only getting a good laugh at the idea.) I am also taking one persons advice about carrying a 50 euro on my sock and or attached some other place very close to the body, just in case an emergency.

Posted by
358 posts

I have traveled to europe 2X/year since 1998 and have not used a money belt. My son who lives/works in Paris does not use a money belt. When you sign up for a RS tour he sends you a free money belt which I have yet to use. When traveling in the large cities of europe I leave most of my valuables in the hotel safe and take enough cash to cover the day along with one credit card. Once when I was on the Paris metro someone tried to pick my front pants pocket which was unsuccessful. I would have lost my week metro pass.

Posted by
4528 posts

Locals do not wear moneybelts and are often the victims of pickpockets. I guess they are idiots, I don't know. But they certainly don't just pick on tourists...

Posted by
27402 posts

I had no idea I am an idiot. I learn something every day. We use moneybelts fastidiously and I carry a travel wallet for the during the day stuff. If I'm an idiot I'd better shut up.

Posted by
843 posts

I always feel so rude when walking around when traveling. I'm constantly saying, "No thank you", sometimes without even a word being uttered by the other person. Also, words like "idiot" do not have a place in polite society.

Posted by
541 posts

What is up with all these Moneybelt religious zealots here lately? Did somebody at the travel store issue a fatwa? Why do they care if I believe in their Moneybelts or not? Why do they take pleasure in seeing non-believers be victimized? What's wrong with not wanting to have to sort around in one's trousers to buy a cup of coffee? I give up.

Posted by
27402 posts

Of course you don't shuffle in the trousers for a cup of coffee. The system works when the money belt is untouched in public.

Posted by
541 posts

Sorry Nigel. I'm not familiar with all of the customs. I'm just going by what I see: A bunch of old dudes on Rue Cler with their hands down their trousers holding up the shop lines. Maybe I'm being naive and something more sinister than breaking customs is going on. How about those things come with etiquette instructions?

Posted by
1820 posts

If you are a regular traveler or local having your pocket picked is obviously not as devastating as it is to the occasional traveler. The occasional traveler usually carries more money and cards and would have a harder time replacing things. Those two perspectives often clash here.

Posted by
9110 posts

Why in the heck does a 'regular traveler' have less cards/money than anybody else? And why wouldn't it be a pain in the tail for anybody? I travel for three-quarters of the year, and think I'm pretty regular.....as things go. And, no, I don't own a money belt. And, yes, I still have all my stuff.

Posted by
17 posts

Traveled a couple of places and never carried a belt or even a wallet. I carry a photocopy of my passport as ID, one debit of credit card and those can be replaced in 24 hrs if need be,
and 50 euros max if I need money. I leave everything else in the hotel s safe.

Posted by
1804 posts

Agree w/ Pensacola Ed. What is this Beltist Logic that it's somehow less devastating to have a theft occur to a person who travels a lot or who is a local vs. someone who rarely goes on vacation? My friend didn't even need to leave the country to have his wallet stolen from his locker at the gym (they cut the padlock) and besides using his credit & ATM cards and taking the $40 in cash, they stole his identity and it took several years to straighten out his credit. I'd like to hear from the Moneybelt Police whether they always wear a moneybelt when they are out and about at home in the US. And I don't want to hear the lame excuse "If they want to steal from me in the US then they will stick a gun in my face", because if that's so true, then wouldn't it make sense to always wear a moneybelt in the US because how would the mugger know you have the bulk of your valuables safely stashed in a moneybelt under your clothing unless he makes you remove your pants? I also find it very ironic that someone wants to call anyone who carries a wallet or purse in Europe an "idiot", yet most of the pickpocketing reports lately on this board are made by people who wore a moneybelt and then mis-used it by opening it in public or leaving it visible outside their clothing. I'd think if you actively made the decision to purchase and wear a moneybelt that common sense would just tell you that defeats the entire purpose.

Posted by
283 posts

I am rather (shall we say) hefty and money belts either do not fit or are so uncomfortable it is painful. So, no money belt. I do wear a bag that goes around my neck, under my shirt for really important things. I always carry my passport, as I have read several places that it is wise to have it on your person at all times. Most of the places we stay (we rent homes or apts) do not have safes. I am a fan of the Pacsafe purse. (OK, am I an it?) I am diabetic and need to carry a lot of gear with me, so the purse. (I guess I am not an it!) I wear the bag, as I was pickpocketed once in Paris at Clingincort. Everything turned out OK, but it added a huge layer of stress on the trip that I could have easily done without, plus we wasted nearly an entire day straightening things out. Ever try to file a Police report with an officer who speaks French? It was funny, but not fun. The bag helps me feel more relaxed. I don't have to worry that everyone is "out to get me" or be super aware. It just allows me to concentrate on the travel.

Posted by
2210 posts

I don't know whether locals or tourists have the most money or credit/debit cards on them. When I am on vacation, I tend to carry more cash and less cards, but that is just me. I would hate losing my cash and cards no matter where I am, but it's much easier to lose them at home. It's easier to make calls via 800 numbers to report lost cards and it's generally easier to look up the numbers. If you have a local bank at home, you can walk in and get cash. Also, you are likely to have friends or family who can lend you money until things are sorted out. You probably have food in the house. It's hard for me to imagine that anyone thinks it would just as easy to deal with these issues in Europe. Now this does not mean that you have to use a money belt when you're on vacation. Nor does it mean that people who don't use them are idiots. I like them; others don't. To each his own.

Posted by
63 posts

Here is a few thoughts on safety and money belts. Going through security with a money belt on, I found myself being taken into a private room for a pat down. I was told by the woman doing the pat down to always take off the money belt when going through security to avoid the humiliation.
Second, I spend 3 months between Paris and Nice every summer, I have never worn a money belt in France and have never been pickpocketed. I carry a purse with limited money, a copy of my passport and never a credit card. I never wear jewlery either. I only use hotels that have a safe and never book an apartment on ground floor. I did have an occassion when the apartment lock broke and we were locked out. We had to go to a hotel for the night, fortunately we had enough money between my husband and I to pay. I can't tell you how many times I see men with their wallets sticking out of their back pockets. Now that is looking for trouble.

Posted by
10906 posts

The questions was asked what's the difference between losing your wallet at home with losing the same abroad. At home, I don't carry my passport. I can easily go into the DMW and get a replacement driver's license. I can call up my credit card issuers and have new one's sent to me. I can easily get my bank debit cards replaced. If I need cash, well, I usually have extra at home, or can go to my local bank and get some. (I would have to talk to a manager and show my police report.) Abroad, I would have waste a day getting a new passport. I don't know about anyone else but I spend a lot of money to travel and wasting a day of it hanging around a U.S. consulate isn't thrilling. I'd have to contact my credit card suppliers and try to figure out where they should send new credit cards. If I'm out of cash I may be in trouble because there is no local bank for me to go into. If I lost train tickets, it may be dificult to get them reprinted or to buy new ones because I don't have any money. If I plan to rent a car and my license is gone, no DMW to get a new one. And should you want to continue your trip, try checking into a hotel without a passport and a credit card

Posted by
10906 posts

(con't) I've had plenty of tourists travel with me only to wind up at the closest consulate wasting a day getting a new passport after they've been pickpocketed. (Not a one wore a moneybelt.) I even remember one young lady who insisted that when she entered the country, and went through passport control, they "forgot" to give her passport back. I didn't have the heart to tell her she was probably pickpocketed. I wear a moneybelt (hidden pocket" type). It's comfortable, I hardly even know it's there, and I have some extra assurance that my valuables have an additional level of security. Do I wear it at home? No, because I'm usually not carrying the extra stuff I carry when traveling. But if I go somewhere outside my home area, I have my moneybelt with me. Whether or not someone uses a form of moneybelt is a personal decision. Chances are you may never be bothered. But it takes just one time......

Posted by
11450 posts

While day to day sightseeing( as opposed to travelling from city to city) I do not generally carry my cards ( ATM or credit) with me. I prefer to use my cards for hotel and train tickets,, but not in souvenir shops, ice cream or crepe kiosks, or in little cafes,, I use cash. Its seems safer to me to not have my card number everywhere.. but thats just me. I do not carry my passport with me daily either. So,, there is no need for a money belt. I will not lose my passport or cards,, and the most cash I will lose is 50-100 euros.. not going to ruin my trip. I carry a purse, like a local would,, I carry one every single day at home,, so I have no idea how a person can get along without one.. I cannot. I carry my DL for id,, its all I have ever needed for museums etc.. Train tickets I get printed day of travel or day before,, so I am not carrying them around ,, what would be the use of that.. I keep the numbers( reservation confirmation) in several different places . I love hotel safes and use them. But,, as I qualified,, I do use a moneybelt if actually in transit.