Florence-On-Line

What to do if your passport is stolen or lost overseas

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"These pickpockets are very, very skilled," said Michael Ma, a consul at the U.S. Consulate in Florence, Italy. They offer to hoist your bag on the train and then take off with the bag, just as the train is pulling out. They ask you to help with their baby and then, while you're preoccupied with the child, quickly grab your bag (even snipping the shoulder strap with scissors). They sidle up to you in a crowd and reach in to an open purse. They will even snatch your purse from your restaurant chair while you're sitting there talking. "They take what they can without getting caught and move on," says Ma, who gives talks on the subject to some of the 10,000 American students who study in Florence every year."

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