Our passports were stolen in Paris

Aug 12th, 2009, 12:45 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Spaarne, how many times have you had to use your passport to identify yourself other than to a bank or other official identity-checkers? Do the police stop you often and require you to identify yourself?
kerouac is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 12:55 PM
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I NEVER EVER carry my passport with me whilst I am out touring. I leave it in the hotel safe.

Even if someone did break into your room safe, why would they take your passport?? Most theives just want things like cash, ipod, camera, jewellery.

Cries_Van_Notebook is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 01:05 PM
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I don't know how many times. I happens rarely but it happens. I just feel naked if I don't have my passport with me. Police never stop me, but I stop them to ask directions now and then. The B&Bs and hostels I've stayed in don't even have safes. The last time I used a safe was on an overnight ferry where I shared a room with 3 other guys and stashed my cameras, but not my passport. As Cries says, why would they steal my passport?
spaarne is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 01:26 PM
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Has anybody here ever had their passport stolen at a hotel, whether it was in a safe or not? Anywhere in the world?'"

NEVER carry my passport with me In over 35 years of traveling it has never been stolen. I don't even leave it in the hotel safe.
For on street ID ( not that anyone has ever asked) I have my DL.
danon is online now  
Aug 12th, 2009, 01:33 PM
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We had a lot of stuff happen to us on our trip to Paris, but not stolen passports (which I carry on me at all times).

Sorry this happened to you!
seetheworld is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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The one thing I would like to say is that it is great advice to always be aware, but it is virtually impossible to do! Especially the older I get! LOL
Kristinelaine is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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You have one year more of international travel than I and my passport has never been stolen either. Remember those good old days when the hotels required you to leave it with them? Then they would put it in a pigeon hole next to the front desk until you asked for it. Any passer-by could have had a handful of passports in an instant. I needed mine often in those days for collecting poste restante mail and for cashing travelers checks. I still keep my passport with me even though I'm using email and ATMs now.

Same for room keys hanging within reach in the old two star hotels. I still go to hotels like that and I've never had a problem.
spaarne is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 02:01 PM
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When my camera died in Madrid Spain on the third day of my three-week vacation, I went to FNAC to buy a replacement. I had to use my VISA credit card and I was asked for my passport to pay for it. Fortunately I had it stashed in my Hidden Pocket that was pinned to the inside of my waistband and I could pull it out and replace it discretely.

I have always either used a money belt and now the hidden pocket to deep store the credit cards, my flight and hotel info (printed very small and on both sides of one letter-size page) and extra Euros...basically everything I would need to get back home.

If I need to go to an ATM, usually inside a bank lobby, I take out the card but then after getting the cash, I stash everything back into the hidden pocket.

So sorry about the loss of your wallet and passport - thank you for posting for those people who say that they never let their guard down and don't need a moneybelt because they never use one in their city at home. They also don't have to worry about traveling thousands of miles from a foreign country to get back to their home.

Re the cancelled passport, when my husband had to replace his passport that we thought had fallen out of his motorcycle jacket who knows where - he was told that if we did find it, that it had been cancelled and not to use it.
timsmom is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 02:08 PM
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Pickpockets and thieves usually watch a potential victim before striking. If they see you digging in a money belt, they quickly move on. If they see you digging in a purse, pockets, or using a wallet, you get tagged.
TravMimi is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 02:58 PM
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I think going back is the best idea I've heard. Almost worth the inconvenience if you get an extra trip out of the experience.
Nikki is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 03:08 PM
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"..If they see you digging in a money belt.."

well, that should never happen!

I don't like to be separated from my PP either, so it goes into my leg stash. I'm also afraid I'll go off and leave it in the hotel when I depart for home!
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 03:33 PM
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"If they see me digging in my money belt" ... they will have to be in a bathroom stall with me. Seriously I have to almost Strip to get to the thing so I don't do that in public (I know you are all very grateful!)
CarolA is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 05:17 PM
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We always keep our passports with us - that way we know where they are at all times. That way we don;t go back to a hotel sae 3 days later and find them missing.

And agree - why were you tipping someone in a store - and why put down a wallet or purse? You NEVER let go of any valuable.

And did the Romanians identify themselves as such?

You loss is very unfortunate - but if you're always on guard it won't happen (and no need to money belts or strange pouches or money pinned to your clothes).
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 05:23 PM
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Please everbody, stress that this is a pretty unusual circumstance, having a passport stolen, I mean. Not unheard of, but unusual. There is enough misinformation already about thieves, pickpockets, and other bad characters roaming the streets of Paris, just waiting to make every unsuspecting visitor a victim.
Just a reminder that it does not happen as often as rumor would have it.
I need backup here.
cynthia_booker is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 05:48 PM
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No it could happen to the OP in Atlanta if she did the same thing.

As a matter of fact it has happened SEVERAL times at my local grocery store recently.

However, I find the money belt or safe a better solution then the "never put down your purse" clutch of death. (which won't stop a determined thief. one of the nice ladies at the grocery had it RIPPED out of her hands last week!)
CarolA is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 05:54 PM
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It was a few years ago that I almost had my pocket picked in Paris. I was standing on a crowded metro going to Montmare when I felt a finger on my butt, feeling my back pockets for my wallet I guess. I actually had a money belt type wallet on with my daily allowance. My actual wallet only had about $5 worth of euros.

When I got to my stop I was prevented from leaving by a gypsy type looking guy who bent down in front of me and the train doors. He pretended to have dropped something and he grabbed my ankles to pick up my feet from the floor,like he was looking for something under my shoes. For a second I thought the train doors were going to close and he was preventing me from getting off with my family and then I realized these guys were trying to rob me!

I suspect that the guy feeling my butt was trying to slice the belt hoop of my money belt off my belt and the gypsy looking guy was going to grab it as it fell down my pants leg. Frotunately these guys were amatures and they got nil from me. My back pocket buttons were undone but my wallet was still there. Fortunately they didn't get off the train with us.

Same trip we were standing in front of our hotel near the Eifel Tower. We were waiting for our driver that was going to take us to Giverny. All of a sudden this guy comes running up towards us with a backpack in arms and behind him one fat gendarme chasing. Apparently he stole the backpack. As he passed us he heaved the pack into the bushes. The police never did catch him. About 10 min later after the police left the thief was back searching the bushes for the pack. Of course I had already pointed out to the gendarmes that the pack was in the bushes.

You do have to be careful in your travels or become part of the statistics.
pauljagman is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 06:06 PM
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"Should I carry my passport with me at all times?" is a question that appears regularly on this forum. Opinion is always divided on the issue, but one of the reasons for carrying it on one's person seems to be that the passport might be stolen from a hotel room. Kerouac has asked the question again in a post above, but, in this and all previous posts, it seems clear that NO ONE has reported having their passport stolen from a hotel room.
adeben is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 07:16 PM
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I remember reading in a travel magazine about a couple on vacation in the Caribbean, who had valuables stolen from their hotel room safe. The police said hotel rooms were easy to get into (with so many hotel employees having access), and room safes not that much harder.

So whereas maybe nobody in the small sampling of Fodors' contributors has had this experience personally, it has happened.
Mimar is online now  
Aug 12th, 2009, 08:03 PM
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How awful for you!

I had my handbag stolen in Milan airport by two South American women, part of a gang that had been working Italian airports that year. I had NO id, no credit cards and just a little cash. The Canadian embassy in Milan issued me a new passport within a day, despite the fact I had no id - they did it on the word of our local office MD who verified she knew me. This was pre-9/11 - heaven knows what would happen now. Since then, I always carry a separate VISA and Cash card in my carry-on luggage. Its also recommended that you photocopy your passport and keep that elsewhere (notarized, if possible).

A friend in South Africa had her passport stolen a few years back and found out some time later that she had married a Somali gentleman!

Perhaps you should err on the side of caution and contact one of the credit bureaus re their fraud prevention services.

Regards .. Ger
OReilly is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 08:17 PM
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I want to thank you for sharing your (horrendous) experience here. Quite courageous, as you can tell by the many sardonic responses...

I, personally, cringe at the advice to "just be aware of your surroundings", especially to first-time visitors to Europe who may never have even experienced a big city away from their home town.

It is just so easy to get distracted, forget to be watchful, and do something you immediately realize was careless and foolish.

When my niece was headed to Scotland for a semester abroad, I sent her a list of tips with the intent of keeping her safe but not to scare her...but, sure enough, one of her friends had her passport lifted in Barcelona.

When it comes to passports, every precaution is in order, versus having to get it replaced!
djkbooks is offline  

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