5 Lessons I Learned From Being Pickpocketed In Paris

Attenzione pickpocket!

Last year, on a metro train in Paris, two pickpockets hatched a pretty elaborate scheme that led to my wallet ending up on the floor and anxiety coursing through my veins.

Related: 6 Ways You Can Keep Yourself Safe at Your Next Concert

If you’re like me—chronically online—then you know the “attenzione pickpocket! ” lady on TikTok. Monica Poli went viral on social media almost exactly a year after I was the target of pickpockets on a metro train in Paris.

@cittadininondistratti2 #CITTADININONDISTRATTI #PICKPOCKETS #VENICE #BORSEGGIATRICI #cittadininondistratti #VENEZIA #BORSEGGIATORI ♬ suono originale – Cittadini Non Distratti

Getting stolen from is just a terrible thing. The hassle, worry, and stress of it all is just awful. But I got my wallet back pretty quickly, which is more than most victims could say. I’ll get into it later, but I remember feeling livid, indignant, and honestly, a little bit awed. I could not believe the pickpockets pulled off something like that.

Because I know the drill! I’ve traveled before. I’ve been to France before. My parents have constantly warned me about all the possible dangers lurking on the streets of Europe. I know all about the Italian rose scams and the Parisian taxi scams, and most of the other scams in Europe targeted at unwitting tourists. What I didn’t know was how elaborate pickpockets’ schemes could get.


So there I was, on a train bound for the heart of the city, holding the pole because there were no more seats. My parents and sister were somewhere nearby. The doors open and these two young women who look like college students step in and position themselves behind and in front of me, grasping the pole.

The blonde girl in front of me has a giant tote that’s digging into my side, and the brunette behind me is holding a big jacket up against the pole. I realized later it was to block other passengers’ view of my bag.

I remember feeling irritated because why the hell was this blonde pressing backwards against me when there’s a perfectly good few feet of clear space right in front of us? She was so close to me that I thought about moving away to that clearing in the train car, but the bumpy ride made it impossible not to stumble.

Which is why I was unsurprised when the blonde, as the “distraction”, stumbled when she let go of the pole to fiddle with her bag. I—in my infinite, naive, kindness—grabbed her elbow and asked her, “Are you okay?” That’s probably when the brunette behind me unzipped my bag and took out my wallet.

@london_content Always be aware.. #pickpocketsitaly #pickpockets #milan #london_content #fypシ #fyp ♬ original sound – user2117519005342

Later, my dad told me that he sensed something was up immediately when the girls stepped in, which is why the moment we stepped out my dad told us to check our belongings. You can imagine the panic that flooded through my body when I saw my bag was unzipped and my wallet was missing—the same panic that led me to step back into the train alongside my dad who demanded my wallet back.

The girls pretended it just fell even though we and the entire train car saw the brunette toss it to the ground. We made it back outside seconds before the train doors closed, and I simply could not stop thinking about the incident for the rest of the day. You can bet I’m even more cautious of my belongings and surroundings now as it taught me valuable lessons I took to heart.


Always keep an eye and a hand on your belongings.


♬ Attenzione Pickpocket – Remix – Wack Beats

This is why my phone is always in my hand. I tend not to put it in my bag so I’m always aware of where it is. I still remember how it felt, cold in my jacket pocket as I gripped it tightly on that train. I was, admittedly, a little less aware of my bag openings because I was distracted by the blonde invading my personal space. When I shared my experience online, my friend from Paris advised to always have a hand on your zipper. Not just your bag, but its zipper. That way there’s no way it can be opened without you feeling it.

Trust absolutely no one.

@alextrouvailles i had naive TOURIST written on my forehead but follow me for travel tips/vlogs anyway 😍 (why did i stand there and have a convo in 3 languages like they dont rob people lol) #paris #fyp #france #parisscam #travelvlog #parisian #traveltiktok #eiffeltower #traveltips #parisaesthetic #parisitinerary #traveltips #touristtrap #travel #pinterest #summer #europeansummer #french #europe ♬ Every Summertime – NIKI

I wonder if the blonde girl laughed at me later for falling for the “catching her when she stumbles” part of the scam. Anyway, trusting no one even if someone seems all nice and well-intentioned is a pretty good tip, especially to strangers in public. Sometimes we have to sacrifice being kind for our safety and the safety of our belongings.

Be not just vigilant, but hyper-vigilant.


Where’s the attenzione pickpocket lady when you need her!

♬ original sound – user2117519005342

Paris is a pretty popular spot for pickpockets–the throngs of tourists make for easy pickings. But even if you think you’re aware of your surroundings or you’re in a pretty safe space, don’t let your guard down. If you think you already know everything about keeping your things safe, think again. It’s so easy to be distracted, especially when you’re purposely being distracted.

Try not to look like an easy target.

@kateinmontreal How to avoid getting pickpocketed in Europe! #europe #pickpocket #pickpockets #traveltips #europetravel #travelsafety ♬ Attenzione pickpocket x montagem – jovynn

On TikTok, there’s a current trend of videos of people showing the necessary steps they take to protect themselves from pickpockets and thieves. They turn their rings and watches inward, or put their expensive bags and sunglasses in canvas totes. While I personally won’t do anything too out of my way like that (granted, I don’t really dress extravagantly anyway), it’s generally a smart idea to not be too flashy and blend in, especially in new, unfamiliar places. Tourists are pickpocket fodder. So those TikToks may be onto something, but don’t be too obvious! Don’t give away that you have something valuable.

Beware of unusual behavior—trust your gut.

@_gisellemouk side eye and then quick grab x @Eliza Pearce #pickpocket #paris #eurosummer2023 #fyp #bestfriend ♬ what is love – edits

Both my dad and I felt uneasy on that train ride. I may have not known why at first, but I knew something was up. If any sort of doubt or questioning crosses your mind, take it seriously. Get out of a spot or situation that makes you feel like something’s wrong. Make any necessary moves to stay safe, because it’s better to be a cautious overthinker than to risk losing something you value.

Stay safe out there, and help others out too! Be the “attenzione pickpocket” lady (minus the racist views) the world needs.

Continue Reading: Stranger Danger: Here’s Where You Can Get Self-defense Weapons

vacation spots philippines 2021

Best Vacation Spots For When You Want To Quarantine In Leisure

Our guilty-pleasure: looking through vacation spots we wish we could go to rn.

Whether you admit it or not, we all wish we were out on the beach and living our best lives just like the influencers we’re seeing on our Instagram feed.

The travel and tourism industry has been a large contributor to many global economies. And since there have been a lot of travel restrictions because of the pandemic, tourism and travel have since taken the plunge. Now, the borders of many tourist destinations have re-opened to visitors, so it’s time to help them get back at their feet.

RELATED: Face Mask Etiquette: The Dos and Don’ts When You’re Out In Public

Before anything else, this is a reminder that the world is still going through a global pandemic. That much hasn’t changed. So, when you’re traveling–and even when you reach the point of your destination–you should be mindful of the safety protocols, just like whenever you step out of the house. Don’t let your guard down: wear your mask, practice social distancing, and take that COVID-19 test. You may be going on vacation, but that doesn’t mean the virus is taking a vacation, too.

If you’re looking for vacation spots that are safe to stay at, then read on for the things you should consider before booking that trip to the beach, plus our resort and villa recommendations.


So you’re going out of town, at a place with lesser cases of the coronavirus? Then it’s your responsibility to be mindful of the safety protocols of the place you are going to.


Many destinations have created checkpoints, advocacy campaigns to communicate mask requirements, safe travel tips, simple reminders about the importance of caring for public lands, and covid test requirements. Follow and respect these guidelines.

When you travel, it’s important to plan ahead of time, research the destination, and book accommodation. When that’s done, you should secure a permit (if required) and take an antigen or PCR test.

No destination can guarantee your safety against the virus. It’s what you do at the destination that makes a difference. 

The safest places to stay are standalone units like private villas and resorts that you have for yourself. Some villas have their own private pools and cabins, which means it’s easier to stay away from the crowd.

Another thing you should consider is an emergency escape plan. Don’t go to too remote places in case you get sick or need emergency assistance.



Ysla Villa is a private vacation home in San Juan, La Union with a gorgeous view of the beach—the perfect island retreat. They have a private pool, outdoor kitchen, and dining area. Ysla Villa is also just a minute drive away from the surfing area in San Juan.

2-bedroom villa: P8000 per night

Max no. of guests: 4

1-bedroom villa: P6000 per night

Max no. of guests: 2

(San Juan, La Union is just about a 4-hour drive away from Metro Manila.)


curbside villa private villa la union new
Photo by Tarish Zamora

Opening soon, Curbside Villa is just a few minutes walk from the main beach of La Union. With breakfast from their in-house restaurant, Little Canggu, you won’t have to wake up worrying about what to eat that day. Each of the eight villa suite comes with a private patio, 2 double-sized beds, air conditioning, private hot and cold rain shower, fresh towels, and special conditioning shampoo and body wash.

Intro rate: P6500 per night

Max no. of guests: 4


Landrina Escape is a cozy beachside getaway in Morong, Bataan. They have three villas, each with a private pool and beautiful interiors–you wouldn’t want to leave the villa. It’s the place to go to if you simply want to relax away from the city.

Villa 1 (2-BR) starts at P17,850 per night for up to 8 adults.
Villa 2 (1-BR) starts at P12,850 per night for up to 5 adults.
Villa 3 (new 1-BR) starts at P15,000 per night for up to 5 adults.


Casa Kalinaw is a newly-built, spacious beachfront vacation home in San Juan, Batangas. This 5-bedroom home can fit up to 16 guests and you can have the entire villa to yourself.

3-bedroom villa: P20,000 per night

Max no. of guests: 15

4-bedroom villa: P25,000 per night

Max no. of guests: 16

5-bedroom villa: P30,000 per night

Max no. of guests: 16

(San Juan, Batangas is about 2 hours and 45 minutes away from Metro Manila by car.)


G House at Alfonso is a sustainable private villa in Barangay Amuyong, Alfonso, Cavite. It was once a clubhouse that was re-invented to become an eco-friendly home. The four-bedroom villa can accommodate up to 16 people. They have a beautiful private pool and a spacious living room.

4-bedroom villa: P30,000 per night on weekdays and P35,000 per night on weekends

Max no. of guests: 16

(G House Alfonso is near Tagaytay and is at least an hour and a half from Metro Manila.)


In the mood for some glamping (glamorous camping)? Then Domescape is the one for you. Located in Nasugbu, Calabarzon, each Moroccan-inspired dome house is an opulent family vacation house in the heart of nature. Guests will also have a private natural swimming pool beside their dome and a bonfire can be used as per request by guests.

One Dome: P7500 per night

Max no. of guests: 4

(Nasugbu is about 2 hours and 10 minutes away from Metro Manila by car.)