Most people don't realize how easy it is to open your bag, or put a hand in your pocket and get your stuff without you feeling a thing! I was one of these people of course, but I have a personality problem, in which apparently I can only learn with my own mistakes and not the mistakes of others.
So this is what happened: I was walking solo downChamps-Élysées and I remember it to be raining and horrible that day - it was my first day out alone in the city - and I got stopped by a gypsy lady. She had a pen and a piece of paper with lots of signatures, and said something I couldn't understand and pointed to the paper as she gave me the pen, and then I understood she wanted me to sign it with my name in order to help them with something. I looked at her confused and thinking whether I should put my name on that or not. She started sending me kisses and looking desperate and I thought "well, what's the harm!"
She begged and all, but I just said I couldn't, explaining that was name signed would already be helping her in whatever she needed help for!
I then walked away feeling sad about the woman, but feeling I had done my part. Still, I felt something weird had just happened. I've seen a lot of beggars, in Lisbon there are a lot, and non had ever spent so much time talking to me and insisting on me signing anything.
As I got to meet my cousin, me at the top of stupidity, told her how I had helped a gypsy lady in the morning. And then she started getting upset, saying I should NEVER STOP TO TALK TO THESE GYPSY WOMEN, because they don't need any signed paper, and this is their scheme to pickpocket you! She asked If they had stole anything and I went with my memory back to the moment I talked to the woman, and remembered checking my bag in the end and everything was fine.
Overall I was lucky in this situation! But I will not be caught in one of this schemes again, because now I know they could have taken things from me and I would feel stupid for the rest of my life.
I decided to write this post because, like I said in the beginning, I'm the kind of person who can only learn with my own mistakes, but I believe if I spread the message of these kind of situations, you can avoid being pickpocket!!
REMEMBER: always take care of your things and never let them out of sight!
Safe travels .