Pickpockets

Paris-metro-pickpocketsThe Paris underground “Metro” is infamous for its pickpockets in both the trains and the busy stations. The stations, buzzing with people walking in all directions at various speeds and with their numerous exits are a playground for pickpockets targeting tourists who are distracted when trying to find their way or who are overwhelmed by the crowds racing towards the exits or into the trains. Warnings to always keep an eye on your valuables are everywhere and the police patrols the area visibly as well as undercover, but they can’t be everywhere at the same time and the pickpockets seem to have a sixth sense for both finding perfect victims and for noticing the presence of police. Tourists are advised to keep their wallets, smartphones, and valuables in front of them and in sight, never in their back pockets, coat pockets or even worse: in a backpack.

Be especially on guard when a stranger asks you a random question or for directions, or deliberately draws your attention, as this is likely a distraction move, designed to give his partner a chance to take your wallet out of your pocket. As soon as a stranger approaches you or touches you, keep a hand on your valuables and don’t let them go. Because by putting your hand on your wallet, you’ve just signaled the pickpocket where to find his prey. So as soon as you’ve let down your guard (and your hand), it’ll be gone before you know it.

pickpockets-Paris-metroEven a friendly looking stranger trying to help you find your way in the station or help you with the ticket vending machine may have secondary motives, and may be deflecting your attention from your wallet.

When in the metro, act confidently and walk around as if you know where you’re going and it’s a routine for you. Because showing that you’re constantly on the lookout for pickpockets, scanning the area around you, will have the same effect as carrying a huge sign saying “rob me, I’m an easy target!”.

 

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Paris and France Tourist Scams Forum.

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