March 22, 2010

What to do if you are pick pocketed...

Amy in Houston posted this on the Trip Advisor site. I think it's good advice to follow.


"I've been to Paris at least 10 times visiting in-laws and never been pick-pocketed until this visit. Few years ago, I caught a man getting close ready to pick-pocket my purse and gave him the glare. I usually do not carry a wallet but a small coin pouch; usually condensed my wallet before traveling abroad and leave my passport at the place where I stay. Unfortunately, I did not follow my own routine this time and even worse I looked like a tourist.

This time, I was taking 4 members of my family who were in Paris for the first time around but I carried a map because I wanted to make sure we were heading to the right direction. Right before we got to Le Louvre on that small street where tour buses stops between the musee and le jardin, 3 girls asked me where l'opera was so I pointed to the direction. I should've suspected something when they said no, I think this street is l'opera and we were 10 ft away from the street sign. Then one of them brought out the map and dropped it, waiting for me to help pcik it up which I reluctantly did in the beginning.

I realized my wallet was gone 5 minutes after I got to le louvre looking for our pre-purchased tickets. My sister looked in the trash but no luck. I had to fill a report at the information at le louvre and then went to the nearby police station to file a report which I took to the American Embassy that was only open Monday to Friday 9-12am, spent good 2 hours there, paid $90 for emergency passport.

What to do when you are pick-pocketed and lose your passport:
1. call and cancel your credit cards. This is a precaution in though in most cases, they just want your cash and toss the rest of your wallet away.
2. file a report at the place where you are pick-pocketed. fill out the forms for record. call them back as they have found number of passports and keep them in an envelope.
3. file a report at the nearby police station. The policemen were all very nice, I had to fill out some paper and wait for to be interviewed of the incident. Didn't take too long. I met 2 other people who also had their wallets pick-pocketed. One girl had her wallet taken the same day 4 hours before right in front of the Mona Lisa painting.
4. go to the american embassy for new emergency passport, note their short hours, and prepare to spend good time there. they will check you bag and you'll walk through metal detectors. they will take your cell phone and cameras, then return to you before you exit. go to the small touch screen machine to enter the reason you're there requesting service, it will spit out a number, take a seat until you see your number flash on the monitor next to the appointed window. note, the numbers are not called in sequential order.

To help expedite, take a new passport photo. There are two photo machines there, costs 4 euros, there is a change machine too. Take the application form from the stand to apply for new passport.

You will receive a new passport there good for a year, then re-apply for new one after, you should not have to pay for the new one providing the receipt you paid for the emergency passport."

7 comments:

Nadege said...

So sorry Leesa! and sad.

Leesa said...

Hi Nadege...

You know that wasn't me.. it was Amy from Houston.. hehe... But it sucks, just the same...
My story wasn't so bad, because it had a good ending...

Pedro F. Báez said...

It sucks no matter to whom it happens. Great story, Leesa. Had me glued to it to the very end. Hugs.

David said...

Yeah, Leesa, it looks like you're telling the story... ;-)

Also, what I said about pickpockets being young girls is valid in the metro, not everywhere.

In the Louvre, the only pickpocket that I have ever seen was a white male in his 30-40's
But he was pretty obvious, as he didn't look at one single painting, just people's bag to see which ones were open...
And yeah, if I noticed him it's because I was not looking at the paintings either...
Why? Because I have free entrance at the Louvre, so when I go, I don't spend my day there, I just go see the few things I want to see that day, so I walk a lot without even looking at the things on my way...

Leesa said...

Pedro...

Yes... Unfortunately... it's so common place in big cities wherever there are a lot of tourists!

D-- That's a funny story... about not looking at the paintings.. Well, I haven't been to the Louvre since I've lived here... I'm not a fan of museums... but anyway...
I guess pick pockets come in all shapes and sizes and he was trying to "blend" in to his settings so that no one would realize what he was up to....
I would have gone right away to the museum workers and reported him... I hate for people to get away with that kind of stuff...

Busy Bee Suz said...

Wow, that would really stink.
I loath creepy steeling people!!!

Leesa said...

Hey Busy Bee Suz,

YEP!! I am right there with you!!! Hate them!!!