Pickpocket Scams to look out for?

May 27th, 2007, 04:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 148
I'm going to have a large over-the-shoulder zip purse and I've devised a way to use a key-chain clip to "lock" the zipper closed to keep my credit cards and cash safe (which, by the way, I'm going to put in my tiny little make-up bag instead of a wallet). The only time I'll have all my things on my person at once in an exceptionally vulnerable time is when I travel on the train from London to Paris but I'm planning on just hailing a taxi to my hotel from Gare du Nord. I have a driver picking me up at Heathrow and am taking a shuttle from my hotel to CDG. Is a money belt or neck belt really necessary?
ValCanada is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 08:37 PM
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I agree, Gina, I would never carry a backpack (unless it was Prada! -and even then not on travel) I always have my over the shoulder tote-can't conceive of having something on my back, and something that be unzipped without me having any idea of it happening.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Jun 1st, 2007, 09:07 PM
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These days we mostly carry an over-the-shoulder tote with a zipper.

When commuting on transit or shopping here in our city, no money in back pocket, no fumbling with cash wads, no taking out credit cards and putting them away in front of everyone. Purses and brief case bags are well-grasped and at side or in front. No putting bags in the trunk right before we walk away from the car.

On travel in urban areas we try to do the same. And we carry fewer cards.

It is good to hear about the most recent scams in different places. So thanks for your first-person accounts. It's also great to hear that guide books can also be used for self defense. If it was a Rick Steves book, I'm sure he would Love to hear that tale!

I do hope the gentleman visiting Naples is doing better.

May you all have safe and wonderful trips!
suz12 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2007, 10:20 PM
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Actually, I was interested myself to see if there were any updates about the horror story of the injuries to the gentleman from Connecticut, so I read on napolionline, that, in fact, he does not appear at this time to be in danger of dying, he is in a reserved status, but the best news is that they believe they have the suspect, that the wife was able to pick him out immediately as the thug perpetrator-so a suspect is in custody for this horrible crime. The wife, naturally, wants to leave Napoli asap, but that isn't possible yet-her husband did suffer a fractured skull in the fall, and also a broken wrist when the thug tried to get his Rolex, so he is obviously not in a state to go anywhere.

You have to credit the Naples police force - a particular unit called "the Falchi" for the rapid response-getting him in a taxi to get to the hospital immediately, the carabinieri giving the investigation top priority-their law enforcement units in Naples are definitely on the job there-the suspect is a thug with a previous record of scippe. (purse snatching and the like).
Girlspytravel is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 04:12 AM
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there has been much great advice on this thread.

Like others, I'll encourage you to only take a small amount of cash and one credit card in your 'accessible' place -- wallet, purse, pocket, whatever. It should never be more than you can afford to lose. Have copies of fronts and backs of your credit cards -- if something DOES happen (gasp?), then you can stop, call the cc company quickly, and go to Plan B (your 2nd credit card which is safely somewhere else).

Not a vacation ruining experience and only a minor annoyance.

I would not be traveling to Naples soon because of the trash situation. Gina, are you aware of what is going on ? All the dumps are closed and trash is presently piling up around the city. Not a great time to go... Hopefully, your visit isn't imminent so they have time to solve the problem.
surfmom is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 09:14 AM
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I have to ask a friend (I may see him on Monday) who is from Naples to ask his family there whether things are getting better. We like to go to a different place every year, so it may be a long time before we get another chance to go to Naples and I want to see it so much. I am also thinking that if it's like NYC then we can take it. I hope it's not worse.
Gina_07 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 09:45 AM
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I've never been pickpocketed and don't really worry about it a lot because it does tend to happen to people who are distracted, aren't paying attention to what they are doing, are careless with their belongings, invite attention to themselves and their carelessness, etc. Also, you have to have things ready accessible to be pickpocketed. For example, I saw one guy being pickpocketed on the Parisian metro -- sort of, I didn't witness the exact event but saw him and heard him yelling immediately afterwards (and loudly, and saying vulgarities on the metro, which I didn't appreciate). He was a stupid American man who was standing right in front of the metro door (first dumb move), was talking very loudly to his travel companions, had maps and other things indicating he was a tourist (which was obvious anyway from his loud talking and appearance), had his wallet in his pants pocket (not sure if it was the rear or just the side), and on top of that, was so incredibly stupid that he was standing with his arms outstretched above his shoulder lines, pretty much, stretching them above his head or something, he was just acting silly, basically, and making a spectacle of himself.

So, when the doors opened, of course some guy picked his wallet right out of his pocket, and dashed out the door, which then closed within a few secords. The man started swearing, yelling, etc. Frankly, I didn't even feel sorry for him because he was so stupid, basically he was begging to be pickpocketed and maybe he learned a lesson. Oh, yeah, on top of this, it was the number one metro line for pickpockets in Paris, the line going by the Louvre, so his behavior was even dumber considering that.
Christina is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 09:54 AM
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I was in Naples last fall, and the pickpockets were all over the place...they boarded the buses with us, (at the last second so that they would be all crammed in with people by the door.) I watched them slowly maneuver their way around, running their hands smoothly over the pants and bags of unsuspecting passengers. Was quite a thing to see.

ps- Yes, the tourists should have been more alert, but I think it's a little harsh to call them 'stupid' or 'dumb'. Most of the ppl that were targeted were senior citizens who were just innocently oblivious to what was going on.

Bloom is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 09:57 AM
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I love how rigorously you criticized victims of pickpocketing. You may want to count how many times you used the word "stupid." Luckily, I have not been robbed, although as I have stated on this forum, there have been attempts. I try to be careful with my belongings but I also find it very natural to be distracted when you are a tourist.

Of course, one should be very careful, considering all the morons that are running around for a chance to rob you. However, nothing gives anyone the right to steal from someone else, even if the person gets easily distracted, is careless or stupid.

If I am not mistaken, the man from Connecticut was attacked. What was his problem?
Gina_07 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Gina07-particularly if you are from NYC-by all means-GO! Remember, you have to go with the flow in Naples, you can't fight it-if you do, it will get you-but if you don't, and ride with it, accept that craziness, the trash, etc., you may like it immensely.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 10:13 AM
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P.S. Bloom, I totally agree with you, pickpocketing in Naples, particularly, is nothing new, and most tourists are not "stupid" or "dumb" if it happens to them-this type of "microcriminalita" as it is called in Naples-that so negatively affects the quality of life there is the source of much discussion in Rome's government quarters-they have passed tough laws about motor scooters and scippatore, poured huge amounts of money for law enforcement into the city, and they are trying the NYC approach-you get very tough on the small "quality of life" type-crimes, with the expected affect of bringing down the overall crime rate-because small-time criminals start small, and then graduate upward, as it were, on the crime scale. (an oversimplication of the issues of course).

I was there last September, and walked all over the city by myself for 3 days, and I never felt that I was about to get ripped off-like I said, I was careful, left most of the valuables and of course the passport in the hotel safe, and was certainly not wearing the Rolex-it's best to wear no watch-just use the cellphone to get the time. Because in Italy, what's the big deal about a cell phone? Every scippatore in Naples must have at least 3 of them!
Girlspytravel is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 10:13 AM
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Hi, this is from a posting in 2005 regarding an experience we had in the Metro. Just be aware, you'll be fine!

Author: yy4me
Date: 05/23/2005, 02:56 pm
Just another warning to all traveling to France. A rather innovative attempt was made on my husband and me by a very well dressed pick-pocket. We were coming up the escalator in one of the stations. About half way up I happened to look at the gent in front of me. Well dressed in a suit, seemed to be minding his own business. I was standing in mid-step, my husband just behind me. Others were coming up but no-one was trying to walk past. About 5 steps to the top, this gent looked down at the stairs but toward me, threw his arm out and tossed a package of cigarettes on to the top corner of the escalator and said "I dropped, I dropped". As the pack fell, he swung his arm in front of me to where my handbag was resting against my waist and he tried to grab the bag, pretending to reach for the cigarettes. I was holding onto it for dear life anyway. As this happened, I yelled to my husband to watch his pocket. We wear money belts so we would not have lost much more than a days worth of $, a few tickets and misc. other items in my bag. It happened so fast that the people behind us all bunched up at the top. All knew what had just happened and warned us about some of these diversionary tactics. This one took the cake. Will check in later to tell of a few notable France happenings when I get over this Jet Lag. I had to get this scheme out soon in case its a new one.


yy4me is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 10:16 AM
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I was in Italy from mid-may to mid-june last summer...Was in Milan, Lake Como, Venice, Florence, Siena, Rome, and yes...Naples. I never saw or thought I saw any pickpockets or suspicious people. I wore a over the shoulder purse the whole time and carried only 1 credit card and maybe 50 Euros at a time. I also never took any public transportation ...walked everywhere...including in Naples where I stayed for 3 days and never felt unsafe. Maybe I was lucky...
a_gallag is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2007, 10:20 AM
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I think you are right, Girlspytravel, we should be fine. Naples is not the only place of this kind. Some of the most exciting cities in the world have similar problems. It's part of the package. We love those places, nevertheless.
Gina_07 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 12:48 PM
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An umbrella works well to fend them off. I am not afraid to lash out with it even on thieving gypsy children.
Reisender is offline  
Jun 7th, 2007, 12:56 PM
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My husband was robbed by a group of teenagers at the Naples train station. They got his wallet in a split second.

Also I had a very nicely dressed gentleman (suit) help me onto the train in Brussels with my luggage and discovered he was unzipping my backpack. He got nothing, but he jumped off the train and ran down the steps. Don't trust an honest face.
eurogals is offline  

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