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Paris pickpockets/scams - Summary

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Paris pickpockets/scams - Summary

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Removed on: 4:05 pm, July 20, 2013
Paris, France
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71. Re: Paris pickpockets/scams - Summary

I had the extreme displeasure of seeing a pickpocketing incident on the bus two days ago. The victim was a young man carrying too many items -- it appeared he had two bags full of shopping and two other bulky items that he needed to take somewhere. I have to admit that I had already spotted a suspicious person, but apparently there were two people working together, as is usually the case (one to bump, one to take). The person I saw was a young Roma teenager (this is an assumption, but I think I have enough experience to have a 95% chance of being correct). He got on the crowded bus, but seemed to be unable to find the "right" place to stand. He moved towards the back, then he moved forward again -- this is something that a normal passenger would never do. If you move back, you stay back.

Anyway, he was nowhere near me, since I had moved as far back as possible and no longer considered him to be worth my vigilance. We got to the next stop, and a number of people got off. I noticed that he got off, too, and this was extremely strange. The two stops are very close together, and absolutely no able-bodied person would take the bus for this distance, even with a Navigo pass (and he had boarded without a ticket anyway, which is quite common in my neighborhood) -- considering the traffic, anybody can walk between those two stops much faster than taking the bus.

The people got off the bus, the door closed, and we started off again. That's when the young victim started shouting. "They took all of my stuff! Let me off!" I don't know what "all of my stuff" was -- wallet, papers, iPhone -- any or all of those items. The bus driver stopped but took a little while to understand what the problem was, then he opened the door. The young man rushed off, but also exclaimed that there was no way that he could go after them because he was carrying all of the other items. So an African woman got off and said she would watch his things while he chased the thieves. (I would have done the same if I had been close to the exit.)

Most of the passengers on the bus were Africans anyway, and they spent the rest of the trip talking about what a terrible dangerous city Paris is and what a shame it was that the young man had been robbed.

I was on my way to a dinner invitation, and of course I related my "adventure" when I arrived. Just to show you how cynical Parisians can be about this sort of incident, the first thing that came to the mind of the other people was "maybe the African woman was an accomplice and she ran off with all of the other things."

But no, I think she was just a very good compassionate person.

PARIS
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72. Re: Paris pickpockets/scams - Summary

Nice to see you finally accept this problem exists Ker.

Paris, France
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73. Re: Paris pickpockets/scams - Summary

Sorry to see that you ever thought otherwise. You seem to have a few mental problems regarding things I have written in the past. I suggest seeing a doctor.

PARIS
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74. Re: Paris pickpockets/scams - Summary

Sorry Kerouac. Just over a year ago anytime someone posted about picketpockets Roma etc etc, you always claimed you never saw this type of thing in Paris. No doubt you didn't.

These posts have no doubt disappeared.

Don't be so defensive...we all make mistakes!!! Your fans will still love you!!

You've obviously been very affected by this realisation and we appreciate your heartfelt story.

Personally I spend a lot of time in the metro warning people of pickpockets.

Paris, France
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75. Re: Paris pickpockets/scams - Summary

If you cannot provide proof of your statement, please refrain from accusations.

I have indeed often written things like "Paris is perfectly safe." Yet people are murdered and robbed here every day. Everything is relative. I have been mugged in Paris and I spent more than a week in the hospital while my face was reconstructed. And yet I have never strayed from my conviction that Paris is safe compared to most other cities.

99% of the time, all it takes is to be aware of one's surroundings.

<<Personally I spend a lot of time in the metro warning people of pickpockets.>>

You should do more of that here, if that is what you think is necessary instead of constantly sniping with one liners at other people's posts. It really does not enhance the "Travel Advisor community's" impression of your usefulness here.

PARIS
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76. Re: Paris pickpockets/scams - Summary

Sorry you are so upset Ker.

My apologies...I really didn't expect you to become so agressive.

Stamford, CT
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77. Re: Paris pickpockets/scams - Summary

We were approached several times while we were there recently - a man trying to pull the gold ring scam near the Musee d'Orsay asked us twice - once on the way to the museum and once on our way to our next destination - not very bright if he didn't remember us. The girls with the clipboards around Notre Dame were downright annoying; I had flowers shoved in my face, and while we were trying to enjoy the light show at the Eiffel Tower, we were asked every two minutes if we wanted to buy beer, wine or champagne. Just be aware of who is around you and don't fall for it.

Edited: 5:11 pm, October 03, 2012
Kaua'i, HI
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for Kauai, Poipu, Lihue
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78. Re: Paris pickpockets/scams - Summary

Aloha from Kaua'i!

I have to say that I did something a couple of weeks ago in Paris that I've not done before and which I had some doubts as to how "safe" it was in terms of my valuables - since it happened on our last day there (and I've not written a report for that day! Bad girl!!).....this was it.....

We had spent the last day in Paris wandering here and there and....everywhere. I was just soaking up as much of Paris as I could without having any definite plans. So by around 5pm I was tired and had a little backache (no biggie).....I have seen the "masseuse" set ups on the sidewalks or other areas where they charge you a set amount for a massage.

My husband told me he thought I should do it. The people looked legit, (a man and woman working with 2 chairs) - and I watched carefully while a woman (interesting since apparently she was Muslim and covered from head to toe) was getting a massage. I didn't see any funny business altho' there did seem to be some discussion about payment afterwards - but basically it looked okay.

So, I asked for a 15 minute massage and she told me it would be 5 Euro. That seemed reasonable to me given what I had watched, so I sat down on a small camp stool in front of her. She asked me if I could clip up my hair (which is halfway down my back), but I didn't have a clip with me so just pulled it in front. She then asked me to put my purse between my legs on the ground and to close my eyes. This was where I started getting a little nervous I have to admit.

I have to say that it was a very competent massage (given that I was clothed and seated) and I felt wonderful afterwards, I was happy to pay 5 Euro and my bag and all my possessions were intact as well.

I felt rather bad afterwards for thinking they might be trying to pull something, but since I'd not done it before and I also couldn't remember reading anything here on the Paris forums about this being a concern - I went for it.

I was happy that I did - I got a good massage that made me feel ready to put in another 5 miles or so and the only negative was trying to clear your mind and relax while you are sitting on a sidewalk in Paris with all the activity and noise going on around you.

My husband was walking around, but apparently he did stay across the street for a bit to make sure things looked okay.

Anyway - something that I wasn't quite sure about - but which turned out just fine!

Are these massage set-ups ever considered a scam or set-up for pickpockets I wonder? This one didn't appear to be....

Malama Pono (take care)

Janet

Paris, France
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79. Re: Paris pickpockets/scams - Summary

I have to admit that I have never even seen street massages in Paris, Janet. That is very interesting.

However, I have seen a lot of junior posters like Seanbee testing their limits like ignorant puppies.

Val-de-Marne, France
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80. Re: Paris pickpockets/scams - Summary

Janet, it's not a scam, in a way they're legit. But whether they're legal or not is another story. First, only physical therapists are allowed to give massages in France, the 'massage therapist' profession does not exist. However, since there has been great demand for non therapeutic massages in the past few years, masseuses have found a way of working around the law: in order to give non therapeutic massages legally they have to call them 'modelages'. As long as it's called 'modelage' and not 'massage' it's legal for non medical practitioners to practice!

The second point is whether or not these people working on the sidewalk have a registered business or not and pay taxes and mostly the authorisation to do it on the street. That, I doubt very much. I am surprised you had to pay 5 euros, so far the only ones I had seen were free (or course, they were hoping people would tip). So not a scam, but probably illegal if they ask for money.

Edited: 6:25 pm, October 03, 2012