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Singaporean who survived tourist scam in Paris gives valuable tips to S'porean travellers

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Kelvin Koh, a frequent traveller to Paris, the capital of France, recounted in his Facebook about how he was almost scammed by a syndicate which steals from tourists. Kelvin gave valuable tips to Singaporeans about how they can avoid being victims of such scams and we reproduce it in full.

I have been visiting Paris for the past 9 years and here is a very important tip. Something that will help u have a more pleasant stay.
Just moments ago at Gare Du Nord, I was almost a victim (yet again) to a couple of con men. I had placed my camera bag on the shelf next to me while I checked my tickets. A guy walks up to me and asks for directions (yes a local looking guy asking a Singaporean tourist for directions! Hahaha) I have seen this before and immediately turned to check on my bag and true enough, his accomplice was trying to grab my bag.
When spotted, he suddenly didn’t need to know the directions and both walked away in separate directions.
So dear friends, do be vigilant especially when anything out of the ordinary happens:

  1. Stranger asking for directions, offering a cookie, inviting you to do a survey, tries to sell you a friendship band, tries to sell you a gold coin, tries to sell tou a picked up watch and passes a child to you (yes it’s true).
  2. When at a restaurant, do not put your hand phone or valuables on the table. Be wary of people coming in to ask u to fill a survey/ ask for directions.
  3. Whenever anyone bumps into you, check and double check.
  4. When going up escalators, if it suddenly stops, be wary. They usually try and pickpocket you when climbing up the escalator (now stairs).
  5. In the metro, the doors beeps before closing, if a guy rushes out just before the door closes, quickly check on your belongings. If stolen quickly press the stop button and chase or seek help. This happened to me. I caught the guy.
  6. At the metro again, at the gates, a guy may rush u from behind to fluster u. Look out for your handbag or bags. They may be trying to pick your valuables.
  7. Some days, the queue for metro tickets can be very long especially at popular stations. You may find a shorter queue for a guy selling loose tickets. Don’t be conned. He offers child priced tickets at a regular price. No problem entering with the ticket but when you try exiting, you may be stopped by station security and be asked to pay a fine of 30+ euros.

All of the above has happened to or witnessed by myself or friends I know of. Personally the following areas are pickpocketing hotspots in Paris.
1. Gare Du Nord
2. Outside of Galleries Lafayette
3. Chatelet
4. St Michel/st Germain
5. Montmartre
6. Trocadero and Champ Del Mars
7. Notre Dame
Mostly touristy areas. I do hope this helps. Being a victim of pickpockets isn’t a pleasant experience especially when on a holiday. Please share your own experiences and hopefully we will be more aware of their tactics.

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