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Huge increase in "deaf/mute" scam in Paris

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Aug 14th, 2011, 05:40 AM
  #1
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Huge increase in "deaf/mute" scam in Paris

Authorities have acknowledged a huge increase in a scam carried out by Romanian gypsies in Paris, this one based on requests for money for so-called deaf/mute girls.

The scam is straightforward. A young girl approaches the mark (usually a tourist) with a piece of paper and a pen, pretending to be deaf. The paper names a couple of charities, both real and fake, and bears the signatures of a few previous marks. The current mark is asked for money, and if he's naïve enough, he gives it. In some cases, the paper and request for money serve as a distraction for stealing a wallet or purse.

None of the girls is actually deaf. They are all Romanian gypsies. They are under 18, making it difficult to prosecute them. Their leader is nowhere to be found, so he cannot be arrested and prosecuted, even though the penalties for compelling children to beg are very severe (one sentence a few years ago was a 30-year prison term).

Many tourist areas of Paris are currently overrun by these scammers. Here's an article (in French) that describes the problem:

http://www.leparisien.fr/paris-75/pa...11-1565188.php

There's a general increase in scams of all kinds in Paris, as well as illegal commerce (people selling Eiffel Towers off the sidewalk, for example). If you are traveling to Paris soon, be aware and be sure to ignore the scammers and con artists.
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Aug 14th, 2011, 05:44 AM
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I wonder if it is as "difficult" to scare them off the streets as it is to prosecute them
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Aug 14th, 2011, 06:02 AM
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I can pretend to be deaf/mute as well to avoid dealing with these types of people.
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Aug 14th, 2011, 06:03 AM
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Not only did they approach us frequently on our last trip, but, we saw them later in the day talking freely with one another...surely not mute at all....
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Aug 14th, 2011, 08:00 AM
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We have them here on the metro in DC. It's pretty obvious to all that they're total fakes and easy to ignore them.
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Aug 14th, 2011, 08:07 AM
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I fell for this the first time - a very young (adorable) boy approached us and I gave him 2 euros. He immediately pointed to the piece of paper where it was written at the top "6 EURO MINIMUM". We were aghast!
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Aug 14th, 2011, 08:08 AM
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We used to have one (a fake, though not a gypsie, come into our toy store in Tempe, AZ) She got very nasty when we would throw her out!
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Aug 14th, 2011, 08:28 AM
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People have been doing this in lots of cities for many years, probably decades. I've encountered them many times in the US and Europe, usually on buses, it seems. I really am surprised this is perceived as some new crime. I never have anything to do with people on the street and dont' read pieces of paper that strangers give me like that. It always surprised me the number of people who do.
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Aug 14th, 2011, 08:51 AM
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in Italy, they board trains and hand out these very well written and translated pieces of paper, then come through the carriage "collecting" a few minutes later.

I am intrigued by the following: who provides these identical cards for these indigents?

who does the translating, which is invariably excellent?

do they have to buy tickets to ride on the trains? [I've never seen a ticket inspector within miles of one]

why does anyone ever give them any money? they must do so, or they would stop doing it.
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Aug 14th, 2011, 09:56 AM
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Just ignore anyone on the street,begging. asking for a petition signature, or if you speak English, or tried to grab your wrist for a breacelt. Just walk on by with maybe a disdainful look!
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Aug 14th, 2011, 10:15 AM
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The solution to this is very simple. Don;t stop. Ignore the scammers and just keep walking. If you don;t interact with them they can;t scam you. If they are very persistent or try to get close or touch you - just yell for the police.

You can be scammed only if you allow it to happen.
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Aug 14th, 2011, 11:17 AM
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"Yell for the police"?
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Aug 14th, 2011, 11:30 AM
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The problem is why these scammers are thriving is people are stuipid enough to give them money. I have seen it many times where people reach into their purses and give notes or coins. It is so obvious they are scammers! I have stopped many tourists from paying by telling them they are scams only to be spat on. This year in Paris is the most I have ever seen.

Great earlier advice. Just keep walking by. Ignore them. Also buying fake Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags leads money to be filtered to more unsavoury scams and illegal trafficking.
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Aug 14th, 2011, 02:54 PM
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##the penalties for compelling children to beg are very severe (one sentence a few years ago was a 30-year prison term.##

Where did you get that ?
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Aug 14th, 2011, 04:42 PM
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The law was changed in 2003. It's now legal to beg in France, but it's illegal to profit from the begging of others. If one person exploits the begging of another, that's worth three years in prison. If the exploited person is a minor, it's five years. If the exploitation is carried out as an organized gang, it's ten years (and 1.5 million euro in fines).

I can't find the reference of the person who was convicted, but as I recall, it was 30 years behind bars, presumably for multiple counts of one of the above crimes. Unfortunately, most of the ringleaders are never caught, much less convicted and sentenced.
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Aug 14th, 2011, 05:56 PM
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Laughingd2,enjoyed your report. That's the great thing about this forum - it lives in cyberspace to be accessed at any time by those seeking advice/info on any given subject. Your kids sound like troopers and are lucky to have parents like you and your wife.
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Aug 14th, 2011, 05:57 PM
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Laughingd2,enjoyed your report. That's the great thing about this forum - it lives in cyberspace to be accessed at any time by those seeking advice/info on any given subject. Your kids sound like troopers and are lucky to have parents like you and your wife.
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Aug 15th, 2011, 01:01 PM
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It's too bad, but you have to be smart. I often think that this is Darwinism in action, if you fall for it, it's the modern version of natural selection.

I'd rather be rude than a sucker.
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Aug 15th, 2011, 01:48 PM
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Be deaf and mute when approached by them.
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Aug 17th, 2011, 09:39 AM
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Hey AGA,

I read your link.

I see nothing there to indicate that the scammers are Gypsies.

Do you have other information that indicates they are?

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