Like any large city, Paris has its fair share of scammers, pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Visitors don't need to be paranoid, but being aware of the most common tactics used by thieves will help you be prepared in case they decide to target you.
Safety Scouts Advice is a series of animated videos created by former Paris policeman Christophe Gadenne to help visitors to Paris and other big European cities avoid becoming victims. During his five years of working with the Paris Police, he met countless distraught, traumatized tourists from around the world who had their vacations ruined by thieves and scammers, so he decided to do something about it (incidentally, Christophe also just a really nice guy, married to a friend of mine).
There are 39 videos currently in the series (with new ones posted regularly), searchable by city or country (Paris, Italy, Spain, Berlin, and Lisbon) or by topics such as:
- The 10 worst pickpocket tricks revealed
- The 5 ATM scams to avoid while traveling
- The 5 worst taxi scams revealed
- Fake apartment rental
- Preventing female assault
- Drink spiking
- Loitering hotel thief
- Unsolicited ticket helper
- Train distraction thief
- Fake petition pickpocket
- Flat tire scam
You can also read Christophe's interview in The Guardian article, "French former policeman turns to animation to warn tourists of crime" and because you can never be 100% safe from pickpockets, be sure to re-read my article from 2011 "Do Yourself a Favor: Be prepared for Pickpockets."