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Cause For Deeper Concern?
Old 09-29-2019, 07:16 AM   #1
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Cause For Deeper Concern?

DW and I just got back from a wonderful vacation in France. We spent time in Provence, Dordogne and Paris. The food and wine were surprisingly comparable in price to our HCOL area back here at home, probably even a bit less expensive. We ate well. And the views were fantastic.

Sadly, due to our carelessness, a bit of money was stolen from us. In all, we stayed at about six different hotels/b&bs along our route with each one supplying a safe in our room in which to store our valuables. One day in Paris, with the safe containing cash, credit cards, passports, house keys, and electronic equipment (e.g., GoPro), we forgot to lock it on our way out. Having noticed our mistake when we returned to our room towards the end of the day, we noticed only the cash was missing. Credit cards, passports and everything else were left.

Expensive lesson. DW and I were upset about it, but today I stopped kicking myself and allowed myself to just let it go, and DW seems to be more Zen about it. However, considering that the safe contained credit cards and our passports, I'm now considering the possibility of even worse problems (e.g., identity theft).

What possible problems might we encounter considering the access the thief had to our credit cards (with the account numbers on them, of course), passports, and other things in the safe?

We didn't tip the housekeeping staff at the end of our stay
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Old 09-29-2019, 07:23 AM   #2
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Don't beat yourself up too badly. That could have happened even if you had locked the safe. Just like "security" at the airport, hotel safes are more theater than reality.

When I'm far from home, I always keep my passport, credit cards, etc. on my person, in a pouch inside my clothing. 99% of the time it's not necessary, but it gives me great peace of mind.
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Old 09-29-2019, 07:42 AM   #3
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I wouldn't worry about it too much. If all they took was cash, you're a bit wiser but likely safe from ID theft.

We lived in Paris and DW had her purse stolen a few times (pickpockets). These are typically hit-and-run types who don't care about CCs or passports and only want the cash.

I'd worry more if they had taken the passport but if they left it, I'd say you're good.
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:23 AM   #4
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Not quite the same, but Rick Steves was pick pocketed in Paris this summer.

https://www.travelandleisure.com/tra...-pickpocketing
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:32 AM   #5
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Not quite the same, but Rick Steves was pick pocketed in Paris this summer.

https://www.travelandleisure.com/tra...-pickpocketing
My goodness, what hope is there for the rest of us if he got picked.

A couple of years ago Braumeister linked to PacSafe, who sells backpacks and travel items that have additional protections and are safer from pickpockets. I bought a backpack last year and am very happy with its performance.
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:58 AM   #6
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I've given my personal tip before - "look like someone who'll hit them up for money, and pickpockets will bypass you."
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Old 09-29-2019, 09:02 AM   #7
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The passport is the real 'gold' standard for serious thieves. A genuine American passport can be 'adapted' for various nefarious uses. It's good yours did not get stolen. Buy a good money belt, and "Continue Traveling."
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Old 09-29-2019, 09:02 AM   #8
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Think of all the grief you avoided by not losing the CCs, passports, etc!
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Old 09-29-2019, 09:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen View Post
Not quite the same, but Rick Steves was pick pocketed in Paris this summer.

https://www.travelandleisure.com/tra...-pickpocketing
IIRC, Mr. Steves was also pickpocketed a few years ago.

I was pick pocketed several years ago in Rome. Thankfully all they got was about 40 Euros and my transit pass. The rest was in my 'money belt'.

This hidden pocket is the most convenient and least obnoxious protection I have found. Technically, it's not a money belt. If you need to use it in public, you don't have to reach down inside your pants, just pull it up and out at belt level. There are other similar products made by other companies. Mr. Steves sells one also.

https://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Creek-T.../dp/B0054IH9UC

FWIW, I usually put my valuables in my suitcase, lock it, and leave it in a closet or unobtrusive corner of the room. Unlike the room safe, the staff does not have the key or combination to get into it. I also find that keeping a neat room is a deterrent. The staff knows that you know where everything is supposed to be.

With the above in mind, I should add that I have never had a theft problem in a hotel, even when I have mindlessly left some cash out.
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Old 09-29-2019, 09:50 AM   #10
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A couple of years ago Braumeister linked to PacSafe, who sells backpacks and travel items that have additional protections and are safer from pickpockets. I bought a backpack last year and am very happy with its performance.
An update:
I recently bought this bag to replace a somewhat similar one I've used on many, many trips. I like this one even better.

VIBE 200 ANTI-THEFT CROSSBODY BAG
Vibe 200 60181130 JetBlack.jpg
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Old 09-29-2019, 10:09 AM   #11
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Get credit monitoring ASAP.

We always keep our passport and credit cards on us either in a neck pouch or waist belt when we travel overseas. I figure without those you’re screwed.

I sure hope you reported it to the hotel and I would leave a review everywhere I could. Travelers need to avoid hotels like this one.
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Old 09-29-2019, 10:11 AM   #12
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A good reminder to us all, and timely for me as we are off to Paris in November.
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Old 09-29-2019, 04:05 PM   #13
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Many hotel safes do not get the master safe combo changed from the factory default of 999999.

They are easy to open. You may have locked it.

Drop and open technique
https://youtu.be/73omP5WrLnA

Master default password.
https://youtu.be/De0D7otNxME
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Old 09-29-2019, 07:57 PM   #14
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My gut feeling is that you may not have further worry. When I was in Eastern Europe I fell for the money drop scam. They could have easily taken my credit cards if they wanted to. They were only after the cash. It looks to me like whoever robbed you was only after the money.

By the way, I never fell for the money drop scam again, although it was tried a few times afterwards on me, by different people.
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:51 PM   #15
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I used to carry a second wallet in my back pocket. A couple bucks in it, business cards from vendors I did not like, old gift cards, etc. Nothing of value or with personal information. I figured it might be an easy target of little value rather than get mugged for an inside wallet. Never had any problems, despite being in a few situations where a pick-pocket could have made a move.
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:54 PM   #16
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I used to carry a second wallet in my back pocket. A couple bucks in it, business cards from vendors I did not like, old gift cards, etc. Nothing of value or with personal information. I figured it might be an easy target of little value rather than get mugged for an inside wallet. Never had any problems, despite being in a few situations where a pick-pocket could have made a move.
I have done exactly this for many years when I travel. Like you, they have never lifted it but it does make me feel more secure since my actual stuff is elsewhere. Two separate elsewheres in fact!
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:59 PM   #17
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That's a good idea. A dummy wallet in the ass pocket and the real deal wad and cards deep in the front.
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Cause For Deeper Concern?
Old 09-29-2019, 09:26 PM   #18
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Cause For Deeper Concern?

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Originally Posted by COcheesehead View Post
I sure hope you reported it to the hotel and I would leave a review everywhere I could. Travelers need to avoid hotels like this one.

I wouldn’t blame the hotel. This is an employee problem and it could happen anywhere.

A long time ago, I had a bunch of French Francs stolen from our hotel room. Normally I carry cash with me or leave it in a safe place, but in this case, we were only going out for dinner and I assumed that no one would be in our room. I forgot about turndown service. I did complain to the hotel, but in the end let it go.

Nowadays, I put a do not disturb sign on the door when I’m gone and usually carry valuables with me. I hardly ever use the room safe, or if I do, only for short periods of time.

I think the odds are higher to be pick pocketed than robbed in a hotel. Hotel employees probably don’t want to lose their jobs. Pick pockets, we’ll, that is their job.
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Old 09-30-2019, 03:49 AM   #19
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I wouldn’t blame the hotel. This is an employee problem and it could happen anywhere.
This is my view as well. Not to mention that I can't prove anything. I don't think I can accuse someone of something without proof and expect to be taken seriously. And if the French police were to have become involved, I seriously doubt they'd care to help an American tourist.

So, I think from some of the replies I received, it sounds like chances are that nothing more will come of this - that the thief was just interested in a quick, easy, untraceable heist of cash. I think I will, however, call our credit cards and let them know what happened.

Thanks, everybody, for your opinions and for your suggestions and insight on how to be more safe the next time DW and I travel.
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Old 09-30-2019, 04:58 AM   #20
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As an employer, I sure would want to know that one of my employees is stealing and I would take action as a result.
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