How not to lose your money in Paris
Paris has always attracted people from all over the world. Many people who come to Paris completely succumb to the romance of this city, stay in an enthusiastic mood and soak up every second of their stay here. Often one does not want to think about anything mundane at such moments. And it turns out that a person in Paris can easily become a victim of fraudsters, who only need the potential victim to be in a relaxed and trusting state. And so let’s reveal the schemes of those “relatively honest methods of taking money”, which flourish in Paris today. Of course, all the methods invented by crooks, not to enumerate, but the most sophisticated of them are used quite rarely. But we will tell you about the most common, so you’ll be warned, and therefore armed – and ready to confront those people who will try to ruin your vacation.
Given by us the schemes of obtaining money from visitors to the capital of France, we arrange in descending order of cunning used by cheaters.
Open theft of property
Ran up – grabbed – ran away. The minimum of originality. So often you can part with the bag, if you’re not holding it tightly enough and walking down a busy street. That’s why you should hold handbags tightly, and ladies’ bags should be carried diagonally. A more French option is to have your bag snatched by the driver or passenger of a scooter or motorcycle flying past you at full speed. The pluses of this method for the robber is that it is almost impossible to catch up with him. The disadvantages are that if you can not cope with the control, if the victim will be firmly holding his property and resist, you can be smashed to pieces. Well, tips for visitors to the capital and those who have decided to come to France for permanent residence – do not walk down the street with bags that look as if there is something valuable, money and plastic cards are better to keep in the inside pockets of clothing. And if you hear the rumble of a motorcycle behind you – turn around and concentrate to avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime.
Concealed theft of property
When you come home, you suddenly discover that you don’t have your wallet. Or your credit card. Or your money. Or nothing of value that you used to have. Chances are, you’ve been exposed to exactly this type of thing. Favorite places of tourists and visitors to France – museums, exhibitions, shopping centers. And the favorite places of crooks and thieves are the same. They especially like queues and large crowds of people in a small space. There is nothing easier than taking your wallet out of your pocket in a crowded place. French pickpockets are not any special compared to their German or Russian counterparts, so the rules are the same: hide your money away, keep your phone in your hand, don’t leave things where no one is guarding them. And your trip to France will not be associated with the loss of money and valuables. By the way, the most valuable thing for someone who came to France is not even money and purse, not a new phone, but documents. Passport, passport, D visa for a trip to France – all this is better to either hide very well, or leave it in the hotel safe.
A great danger in this regard is in the French subway. Finally, France is home to a large number of emigrants from disadvantaged countries, such as black citizens, for whom stealing a phone for ten euros is not entertainment, but a way to get food, and they will show unprecedented physical parameters – agility, speed, strength – to get it. So it is better not to visit the disadvantaged neighborhoods of Paris, and certainly not to “shine” expensive phone, even if in fact it is a cheap knockoff of an expensive phone.
Guess where the balloon is
Staying in Moscow a citizen is unlikely to want to communicate with all sorts of gypsies, thimbler and other personalities, offering him a quick enrichment and a lot of other benefits. However, for some reason, this is not the case in France. Maybe because French thimblers do not look dirty and unpleasant smelling, but on the contrary – happy, neat and smiling. And why shouldn’t they smile, if gullible people give them their money on a voluntary basis every day. Well, you won’t be able to guess where the ill-starred ball is, you will succeed the first two or three times, if the thimble player wants to pull you into the game in a big way, and then you suddenly stop being lucky. In addition, the player of thimbles always have a pair or three strong folding buddies who walk around and are always ready to come to the rescue of a friend, if it turns out that someone – for example, you – is trying to get money from him for the guessed ball. The money you didn’t lose can be considered won. Therefore, the only way to win from a thief in Paris is not to play with him.
While you stand in line for a ticket for the metro or museum, you may be approached by a nice-looking young man and offer to buy tickets at a slightly better price. Often, this ticket is garnished with a story about how he got the ticket, and sometimes it’s very believable. But it may turn out later that the ticket is invalid. And you will not only lose money for the ticket, but also have to pay a fine for falsified documents. So you should buy everything at the ticket office. Remember that if you come to live in France recently, you have it literally written on your face, and therefore the scammers, seeing that you are not aware of the many local orders, will come to you almost every half hour. Do not make any incomprehensible “deals” with unreliable people, and your nerves and finances will be more secure.
Cards and ATMs
This is already a pretty dangerous type of fraud, and it includes several schemes.
The most obvious one is that when you withdraw money from an ATM, several people approach you. This should already make you wary, especially if the ATM is street. Next, one of them presses you on the edge of extortion, or accuses you of stealing his favorite button. While you are dealing with absurd accusations, the other one withdraws money from your card. It’s worth noting that if you notice such actions in time, the scheme can quickly be changed from fraud to outright theft of property. Therefore, it is better to make a timely move here at the very beginning and not to withdraw money if a suspicious company approaches you, and even better – do it only in safe places, for example in banks, where there are guards.
Less obvious – when you pay with your card in questionable establishments, you can have it taken away for a couple of minutes and even walk out with it into another room. A couple of minutes is quite enough to make an online purchase in an online store from your card or to send money to another account. So do not give your cards to anyone and try not to visit dubious establishments. Including dubious hotels, where dishonest staff can use your payment data against your interests. Do you want to find a good hotel or an apartment for rent in Paris? Turn to the experts, and you will always get the best results.
A ring to remember
And this is in a purely French way, the analogy in other countries is not met such a scam. A man approaches you and demonstrates that he has just found a golden ring in the street, which he is ready to present to you. It is true that for such a valuable gift he would like a small reward, at least ten euros. Many people in such situations, unfortunately, have no logic. If the ring is so valuable, then why do they give it to you, the stranger? And if the stranger is so generous and unselfish, why does he need any reward? Hundreds of such rings are “given away” in central Paris every day. Which then, of course, turns out to be a trinket of copper, not worth a penny. But you can wear it as a memento, as a reminder of where naivety can lead.
Sign here and here.
In Paris you can meet some very unexpected individuals who, in a language that is not your native French, will insistently urge you to sign a paper with several signatures, and it looks like a collective letter. The trouble is that you don’t understand what it says. If you know French, this “agent” may pretend to be deaf-mute and actively gesture for you to sign such a petition. Walk away quickly. Most likely, if you sign, you will not be put off for sure; it will turn out, for example, that you have just pledged a certain amount for charity, for the wildlife relief fund, but it must be paid immediately, in the hands of the one who collects signatures, or his comrades. Of course, in itself, putting some cross as a signature does not impose on you any legal obligations, but as an excuse to get at you and make you pay 10-50 euros, it is quite suitable. The main way to avoid trouble is the same – stay away from people who do not understand what they want from you. If someone openly asks for a small coin – this is probably a respectable Parisian clochard. If they ask you for something strange, it is better to refuse. This will often help you not to fall prey even to those situations that we do not have listed.
Also very French. A citizen (most often a dark-skinned one) comes up to you and, accompanying this process with incomprehensible phrases and gestures, in no time at all weaves a fringe on your wrist. While you’re batting your eyes, the masterpiece of creativity is ready. Suddenly it turns out two things: that you can not remove the lace, but can only tear. And that this service (and it was a service, although you did not ask for anything) is not free and costs, say, twenty euros. If you refuse to pay, the foreman will be outraged and may ask for help from his comrades. It would seem, why with such a talent not go to sell such products legally, but no – the cost of such a product on the free market is unlikely to reach and one euro, and here, combining skill with some pressure, you can get a very solid amount with a minimum of time and almost no crime.
Congratulations, you have won!
This type of fraud is not called purely French, it is equally applied in all cities of the world, mostly large, in relation to tourists and those who have recently arrived and have not yet had time to include practical thinking, but somewhat intoxicated with the euphoria of rest and romance, in this case Paris. You are approached in any beautiful place and told that you are the millionth visitor of this alley, or the tallest man in a black coat who passed through here today. A large sum of money is due to you in connection with this. Usually not less than a hundred euros to make your eyes light up, and not more than five hundred so that you don’t get the feeling that something is wrong. In one hand the approaching person holds “your” money and holds it out to you – it’s important that you can see your winnings. You’re ready to hold out your hand, and then they give you a sheet of paper where you must sign. – for receipt of the money. Then it turns out that you need to make another fee – for example, 10-20 euros. Further further prediction is not difficult – you pay the fee (if you pay, but many are bought for this), and then something goes wrong – or suddenly appears a man in a black coat a centimeter higher than you and the prize goes to him, or a police officer appears and the fellow with your winnings quickly disappears. At first you get upset about the lost 500 euros, which were almost yours, and only then you remember about a symbolic fee. In hindsight it turns out that this fee was the exact purpose of the fraudsters, but it is usually not returned.
Always ask what the goal is for that person who is coming to you. And you can avoid a lot of temptations and money losses in Paris and other cities in France.
How they steal money, phones, bank cards, wine and kittens in France
If your passport, bag, iPad were stolen. Theft in European tourist cities
Ksenia Burzhskaya was born in St. Petersburg, loves Moscow, but has lived in France for three years. She raises three children, works as an smmtch and writes “300 Complaints about Paris” – an online book about life in emigration and why we won’t like it there. For example, because stealing money, phone, passport in Paris and other European cities is common. In what situations should you be especially careful not to have your bag, documents or bank card stolen?
When I first came to Paris, my cassette player was stolen. The way it was stolen was that I left it in the classroom of the school we went to lunch (lettuce, sandwich, and chocolate milk). When I returned, I didn’t find the player. Questioning the schoolchildren didn’t yield anything, so I was left without a player. Inside it was a cassette with one of the latest high-profile Kino albums, I hope the French little thief liked the music.
In fact, I was quite astonished – I had only been stolen from me twice before. Charles Perrault’s fairy tales in first grade and a tamagotchi with a panda from the tennis section locker room in sixth grade. I have always been attentive to my things, but here I just wasn’t expecting it. After all, Europe, you know.
People steal in Europe, too: cards, money and wine.
Even before we moved to France to live, we did a big car trip across the country. We started in Nancy and ended up in Monaco. We had a lot of little stops along the way, beautiful and not so beautiful, and there was also the toy town of Bergerac. That’s where Cyrano lived, if you remember.
There were about three houses in Bergerac, and they were all souvenir shops. And also a château where they make a local, some special wine. I don’t know why, but we decided to buy it – it was probably three times more expensive than the clear and familiar Bordeaux wines. We bought two bottles (maybe just because of the name), put them in the trunk and drove to Lyon.
In Lyon, we left the car in the central parking and went for a walk. When we returned, we found the following: the window was smashed to pieces, the car was open, the digital camera, iPad and video player were still there, only the wine from Bergerac was missing. That’s how I learned that there are thieves who specialize in wine.
There are also thieves who specialize in cats. My nanny told me they tried to steal a Siamese kitten – they tore the netting off the window, but the cat wouldn’t let go. Others had their laptop stolen through the window – they smashed it and took it out, despite the fact that it didn’t work.
We were robbed the other day at the pool.
Somehow opened the locker (well, it is clear how: peep the encryption), gutted the purse and took the favorite. Took exclusively bank cards, that is, stood and understood the Russian language: here’s a discount card – do not take, these press cards – also do not need, here are the documents on the car and the keys from it – leave, not our find, take only the cards. And the phone, come on! All right. And the phone, we’ll sell it for parts. And the bill of 50 rubles. What if it’s a million!
The stolen cards were cashed at McDonald’s all evening. They managed to steal fifty euros, and then we blocked everything. Anyway, they were card thieves.
There are also purse thieves, document thieves, stupid thieves who don’t treat other people’s belongings – passports and books – with this kind of politeness.
Last week a bag of children’s books was stolen from a friend. Read on, maybe you’ll understand something!
If your documents were stolen abroad
A month ago, a woman I didn’t know wrote to me on Facebook and asked me to go with her to the consulate. There is such a silly rule in France: if your documents were stolen, you must bring to the consulate two more Russians (even if you do not know them at all), who will confirm (by eye) that it is you and you are really Russian. I recognize Russians by their smell! Or how else? By the pattern of veins. And the slope of the forehead. Confirmed. And everything else, three hours.
Further procedure is also a little pleasant – from a vacation of his failures go to the place of registration, waiting there for a passport (bringing all the children), again get a visa and then go where you need, for example in London, where you live a long time. If you live in London. Like that woman who wrote me on Facebook. All because a bag was taken out of the car. While she was picking up the kids. Rare boorishness.
All in all, be alert and prepared. Here are the basic ways of petty theft in the Old World, according to eyewitness observations.
The intruder allegedly accidentally bumps the victim with his shoulder, and at the moment of contact, quickly takes the wallet out of his pocket. Or crouches down in transport – supposedly a lot of people. Or one strikes up a meaningless conversation, and the other robs. And then there are the odd offers, such as hugs. We saw such a clown in Barcelona – he was walking in all his makeup and accosted everyone, saying, “Let’s take a picture in a hug. And while he was hugging, he went through his backpacks with his hands.
And sometimes thieves are even caricatured. For example, recently in Alsace region in France, a ride called “Gravitron” weighing 22 tons disappeared. One would think: how?
But a man dragged it from a fair in Mulhouse to a hangar in Porto-Vecchio, Corsica. Why did he steal it? He was fighting competition in the amusement park market. Nice try!
It immediately comes to mind when a two-meter bronze Pandora was stolen from a park in Düsseldorf, a shepherdess with a pipe in Darmstadt and once the Czech Republic had church bells taken down by skywalkers. But the champion all the same turned out to be a scrap metal-hungry German who tried to steal an excavator bucket from a construction site. Bad luck: the bucket was too heavy and crushed the trailer.
How a bag was almost stolen: a witness’ story
And then there are speed thieves – that’s quite impudent. With one of my acquaintances was such a story: he and his wife went on a trip to the five-year wedding anniversary. And the plan was so good: he said he would go to Monaco and then give her Tiffany earrings, which I bought in Nice. And so we decided.
We went for a walk and liked the city, in spite of the fact that it was the European Championship and there were a lot of people with guns. I bought earrings and sat in a cafe, but the feeling of anxiety did not go away – whether because I was not used to the language, or because it was the first time in France, or because all with guns, and the Arabs were rushing around.
In short, we decided to go back to the hotel (somewhere on the border with Genoa). We went to the car and suddenly remembered that we forgot to buy wine. Next – and I quote: “Thought we’d stop at some Carrefour, we could find it without a navigator. So we drove, got into a little town, it was starting to get dark. Driving and I think: somehow suspiciously reminds me of his native Novokuznetsk (very criminal city in Siberia, where even the school was the godfather, and all lived on the concepts of thieves). Imagine: bars on the windows of the first floors, or even windows boarded up with plywood, or no one really walks around, but somehow stagger from place to place.
Novokuznetsk, in short, only inverted. And the houses aren’t so beautiful anymore, they’re just dirty boxes. My wife has a good intuition, she says: I don’t like something here. And I keep driving, following the signs on the billboards: Carrefour, Carrefour. At the intersection before the crosswalk, I slow down to let the stocky half-Arab or half-Negro (how is it right?) pass, and he says, “Don’t do it, go ahead.
I start up in my humble Fiat, my wife is on the right, my daughter is in the back with her iPad, and then the passenger door on the right side of the car is blown off. I react instantly (5 years devoted to boxing, I have reaction speed). I turn sharply at the intersection, the dude is thrown back on the pavement. I start driving in the opposite direction and he gets up and starts running after us!
As luck would have it, there’s a traffic jam of ten cars ahead, and the thief keeps running and running after us on the opposite side of the street, and I’m driving and afraid that he has accomplices here. I drive with my right tires on the sidewalk, everything rattles, my wife shakes, my daughter in cartoons (praise the animated world of adventure!), I increase the speed, then the green light comes on, and I dive into it.
In general, only in Italy could calm down – in the bag, which I also recently gave her, in addition to Tiffany earrings were still passports and all our money. I’m not going to France again. In Russia, it’s like you’re ready for all this, and it seems different there, but in that moment I realized that everywhere is the same – or there, maybe even worse than here.
And here’s a bonus – a list of the cities with the most pickpocketing and street robberies (surprisingly, Marseille is not on it): Barcelona, Rome, Paris, Madrid, Athens, Prague, Lisbon, Florence, London, Amsterdam. In short, the most tourist destinations.
In Amsterdam, by the way, bicycles are stolen most often. A local resident once told me: any bicycle unbuckled or strapped on one lock will disappear in two hours. A bike buckled twice will be gone in a week.
Have you ever been cheated by anyone in Europe? Where do you think is more dangerous – in Russia or here? What do you think you need to pay attention to in order not to become a victim of fraudsters?