I myself have not been the victim of scams or pickpocketing (knock on wood), but I’ve heard a couple stories on people who have been taken advantage of.
Aussie I talked to in the Bruges hostel. Got scammed in Paris.
He was walking down the street and someone took his wrist and tied his wrist and the guy’s wrist together with a string. The person refused to undo it and demanded 20 euros. The Aussie didn’t even have that much, but he ended up paying him all his cash (10 euro) to get rid of him.
A girl I met on the Paris walking tour (also an Aussie).Got scammed in Paris at the metro station.
She was trying to buy a ticket for the metro and was having some trouble. Someone came up to her, who looked somewhat official, and started helping her. He was saying she would need a 3 day pass. He appeared to buy and pay for it and asked her to pay cash for it. She gave him what she had and he gave her a ticket. She tried to use it a second time and it didn’t work. She went to the information desk and they informed her it was a child’s single ticket.
How to avoid getting pick-pocketed:
- Be alert, especially in Paris.
- If anyone comes up to you and starts talking English first, don’t trust them. If they’re a tourist and confused, it is probably okay, but use some caution.
- Don’t sign anything. Your signature won’t even count because you’re not from that country. A lot of these people are trying to distract you so their accomplices can steal your stuff.
- Put your phone in deep pockets. If you’re a girl, make sure your phone fits all the way in your pocket. Otherwise bring a purse with a zipper. Cross bodies work really well.
- If someone does try to talk to you and convince you to buy something or do something for them, say “nie.” It is the Danish word for “no” and I find it is the best way to say no. Nie rhymes with die, so it’s almost like saying “no die” which is a little harsh, but you’re just speaking Danish! Whenever I use nie vs. no, people are a lot quicker to leave me alone.