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Paris police warn tourists about ‘petition’ scam

Paris police have issued a warning to tourists to beware of scams targeting visitors that involve false petitions and donation drives.

Paris police warn tourists about 'petition' scam
Scammers often operate in busy tourist areas such as near the Eiffel Tower. Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

The police préfecture in Paris has released an announcement warning tourists about a scam that might be used to target them especially. 

The scam involves young boys and girls asking people to sign their petitions and requesting that they give a donation. In reality, many people – especially tourists or those unfamiliar with the local area – find themselves giving their money away to a false organisation.

In other cases, the petition acts as a distraction while pickpockets target the visitors.

Frequently, these scams involve the young people feigning deafness or the inability to speak, and pretending to collect funds on behalf of NGO for the hard of hearing. 

The scam is just one of a number that criminals use to prey on tourists, and visitors return to Paris after a two-year break, police are warning people to be vigilant – especially in tourist hotspots such as Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower area or in transport interchanges such as Gare du Nord.

READ MORE: Warning: 6 of the most common scams in France to watch out for

For more advice on how to stay safe in Paris as a tourist, you can read the police “Guide for Staying Safe in Paris

Member comments

  1. I see them all the time, especially on Montmartre in front of la Basilique. I just wave them off and say something in French 😉 in an annoyed tone and they immediately go away.

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CRIME

Paris police dismantle crack users’ camp

Paris police have dismantled a camp that is home to over 100 crack users, the latest move in a campaign that has repeatedly displaced the addicts around the capital.

Paris police dismantle crack users' camp

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote on Twitter as the evacuation got under way that, this time, “1,000 officers will be deployed to prevent the camp from reforming somewhere else”.

An AFP journalist saw large numbers of police surround the rubbish-strewn camp from 7:00 am (0500 GMT) in Square Forceval in northeast Paris, with police chief Laurent Nunez on the scene.

Over the past two years, successive evacuations have moved crack users from the Stalingrad square on the city’s Saint-Martin canal, first to a nearby park, and then to their current site alongside the French capital’s ring road.

READ ALSO How Paris plans to tackle its crack-cocaine problem – by moving addicts elsewhere

Tackling the city’s crack problem — visible on the streets for the past three decades — has proved difficult due to the addictiveness of the drug, a cocaine derivative that sells for as little as 10 euros ($9.90) per dose.

Darmanin, a law-and-order hardliner, has given newly-installed Paris police chief Nunez a single year to wipe out crack in the capital.

The interior ministry said that inhabitants of the camp wanted by police would be arrested, while foreigners without papers would be detained awaiting deportation.

“Other occupants will be directed towards accommodation structures with medical and social assistance, or to medical facilities,” the ministry added.

Aid groups say that between 300 and 400 people spend time in the camp during the day and around 150 at night, with up to 40 percent of them women.

Dealers sold crack “rocks” openly among the groups of users.

As at other sites where the addicts have gathered, local residents have complained of assaults, thefts and other disruption since their arrival.

Around 500 people demonstrated last month to mark the camp being in place for a year and demand its removal.

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