iPhone stolen in Paris

Old Aug 11th, 2012, 07:30 AM
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iPhone stolen in Paris

Hello,

Just wanted to warn people about a scam to steal your cell phone. I was very prepared for this trip to Paris; I had spare money and 1 debit card in my front pocket closed with safety pins, I have a really safe purse with multiple inside zippers, etc. However I didn't really consider my phone would be stolen so I wanted to give a warning. My daughter and I were on the second level of a Starbucks in Paris. We both had our iPhones out looking at our Google maps. Everyone else also had out their phones, laptops, etc as there is free wifi. Two men came running up the stairs, shoved papers in our faces and were yelling at us in french. We assumed they were begging and we kept saying "no" repeatedly but they wouldn't leave and they blocked us in. We now know this was just a distraction so they could reach under the paper and steal our phone. I also now realize we should've stayed on the first floor where the Starbucks employees are. There were no employees on the 2nd level.

Just wanted to warn you to keep your phone in your hands or purse at all times. We had our phones on the table and they startled us by running up to us and shouting at us.
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 07:48 AM
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exact thing happened to a friend of mine - in a McDonalds so yes beware about leaving your phone out at anytime I guess.
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 07:49 AM
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Thanks for posting. I looked for articles after reading your post and there are several with warnings for this very thing. I'm always checking my phone because I use the maps and gps when I travel.
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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Gee, where we live, the thieves just wait until people leave them on the front seat of their unlocked car or forget and leave them on the table in the restaurant. Those Europeans are really ingenious!
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 08:40 AM
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Thanks for the warning. My husband and I have made many stops at McDonalds to use the free wifi. I remember us sitting with both of our itouches on the table just as you were.

Now I suppose we will have to watch where we sit--choose a table in a corner where we can have our backs against a wall. It's sad when you just can't relax and enjoy being a tourist!! I hope this doesn't spoil the remainder of your time in Paris. Deborah
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 08:51 AM
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I think the key is NEVER to let go of any valaubles. Don;t just leave them sitting on the table - hold them in your hand unless they are in a secure purse. And if someone starts bothering you like that - the best idea is to start shouting police at the top of your lungs. They don't want to be noticed and will leave immediately. But many people are hesitant or embarrassed to do this - don't be.
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 09:13 AM
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iPhones are the #1 item currently stolen in Paris. Never never never leave them on a café table or use them in public without being very careful.

Paris buses even have a lengthy warning posted in French, English, Spanish and Chinese about being very careful with one's "electronic devices."
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 08:15 PM
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Agree with the advice to never, ever, set a phone down, anywhere. When traveling, I install a wrist strap so the phone is either attached to my wrist or safely stored.

Another popular ruse is handing you a note to read. While you're unfolding the note, whoever handed it to you has taken off with your phone.

Know that these people work in teams...one locates devices and another grabs so you never notice the "grabber" surveying.
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 08:22 PM
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Exact thing happened to my sister in Paris last month. iPhone sitting on cafe table, guys
swooped in with unfurled maps and lots of hub bub. Fortunately some nearby French diners realized
what was happening and gave chase when the thieves bolted with the phone. Happy ending, sister gratefully picked up the Frenchmen's tab, and learned lesson about keeping phone tucked away!
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Old Aug 11th, 2012, 10:09 PM
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I had no idea! We had my iPhone out a lot last month using the compass. Never gave it a thought. Thanks for posting!!
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 10:26 AM
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I happened to my daughter inside the Starbucks at 18 Blvd. Montmartre in Paris on August 10, 2012.
The staff was unresponsive despite cameras everywhere in there store, which is a joke. I really think they are partly responsible since the staff knew the guy was in the store doing this to their customers and after reading this, you might also see why we feel this way. At no point did the staff at Starbucks seem to care or be concerned even though my child was assaulted and then robbed INSIDE the Starbucks. They should have at least filled out a report or something which would indicate they take attacks on their customers more serious than what they did.
When you go into a Starbucks, anywhere in the world, there is an expected level of continuity not only of the store's product, but also of the customer safety and service practices.
I am not saying they are to blame for the assault and theft, only the criminal is to blame for that. I am saying that one of the reasons these American companies prosper in international locations is because we expect a similar product and we go in there knowing we can order a drink and get the same thing we get at all the other stores. But if they don't comply to the standards, then corporate should withdraw the Starbucks name from that cafe. Same with McDonalds.
This store has taken no steps to adequately protect customers and warn them. In fact, if they have a known theft problem in their store, WHICH THEY KNOW THEY DO, then they are obligated to hire a security guard. Many of the other stores and grocery stores in Paris have opted to do this.
So anyway, back to our story: we went back 30 minutes later and they pretended not to understand English. When we insinuated that the employee (who suspiciously went on a 30 minute break) who witnessed it might be an accomplice, then suddenly they understood English perfectly and acted offended!
Furthermore, if you think the police will do anything about an assault on you or your children while in Paris, think again. The police officer basically laughed at us when we told them the guy assaulted our daughter (she's 14 and was TOTALLY traumatized).
You should know that we did not leave her and her sister unattended. We were 3 feet away and pulled the guy off of her and physically threw him out of the store. It was only later that she realized he ALSO stole her iphone.
BOTTOM LINE: More people need to know that Paris is not a safe place for Americans, even when you do take steps to guard your belongings. In my opinion, if I had known the crime, the lack of security, and the joke of a police force was as bad as it was, I never would have spent the money to travel there. More people need to spread the word about this because they definitely cover it up in order to get your tourist money. Even the police in the airports had no magazines in their guns. Big joke. Also, I really think there is grounds for a class action lawsuit against Starbucks for failure to warn and protect customers who are being assaulted inside of their Paris stores.
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 10:43 AM
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<i>More people need to know that Paris is not a safe place for Americans</i>

How do these thieves know that their victims are Americans? They don't ask for ID before they rob you do they?
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 10:49 AM
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American iPhones are likely SIM locked. So ...

Anyways, set up Find My iPhone, so you can get the police to track it. Or at the very least, you can wipe it if there's personal info. you don't want out.

Also, there are security settings so that you have to enter a passcode to unlock the screen. And if you enter the code incorrectly 10 times, the data on the phone is automatically erased.
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 12:05 PM
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roadyWarrior, since you only registered for this post.
I assume it's to belittle Paris. Sorry for your daughter's assault but that happens in any city and country.
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 12:12 PM
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RoadyWarrior, you are hereby authorized to never return to Paris. Paris and its thieves and Starbucks employees will not miss you.
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 12:41 PM
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RoadyWarrior - I'm so sorry you and your daughter suffered such a frightening assault, and were disturbed by the lack of what you perceived to be appropriate responses from the Starbucks employees and police in the aftermath.

However, having visited Paris many times, I cannot agree with your statement that "it is not a safe place for Americans." Unfortunately even America is not a safe place for Americans, as we have seen, when one can be shot on the street outside the Empire State Building or while watching a movie. I don't have facts and figures at hand, but I believe we are more at risk of bodily harm in a large city in the US than a tourist is in Paris. I hope no one will be discouraged from visiting Paris based on your comment.

Finally, I think it's good that you and Maur2010 posted about your experiences. We can all learn to be more vigilant with our valuables, and avoid places and situations where these thefts take place.
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 02:32 PM
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RoadyWarrior - I'm so happy that the next time I visit Paris I won't find you there. Paris will benefit without your small mindedness.
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 03:51 PM
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Ah, jeez, Starbucks in Paris? What a disappointment.
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 03:55 PM
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Roadywarrior, I am sorry that your daughter got assaulted. I am sure this is still a very painful subject for you to revisit.

Gee adrienne, what if it was your daughter, would you be still so snarky?

Thanks for the warning.
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 03:59 PM
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RoadyWarrior,

and you wrote an angry letter to Starbucks?
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