Pickpockets may be on the decline in the U.S., but they are a huge problem in Europe, and if you are planning on traveling abroad, one of the most important issues that you need to consider is pickpocket prevention. If you are not familiar with pickpockets, you may not know exactly what you should be looking out for. In this blog, we will go over the most common tactics used by pickpockets, as well as how to avoid them.
The Helpful Stranger
You are approached by a stranger who wipes lint off your shirt. Half an hour later, you realize your wallet is gone. This “helpful” stranger distracts you with their friendliness so you don’t even notice a second person slip your wallet out of your pocket. If you notice someone you don’t know behaving too familiar with you, you should immediately be suspicious of them.
The Helpless Stranger
Alternatively, a pickpocket may act helpless in order to prey on your Good Samaritan instincts. They will ask you for help, maybe by asking for directions or perhaps falling in front of you. While you come to the aid of this person, another pickpocket is robbing you blind.
Delaying At Turnstiles
You are exiting the subway at a turnstile and the person in front of you makes a sudden stop so you run into them. The person behind you also bumps into you as a natural consequence. The person in front apologizes and tries again successfully, then rushes away. Later, you realize your wallet is missing. The person in front was distracting you while the person behind you grabbed your wallet.
Believe it or not, children are very commonly pickpockets, often wrangled by a criminal adult. You may find that you are suddenly surrounded by kids who are begging for money. They disperse as suddenly as they surrounded you, and you notice that your wallet has gone missing.
Bumping Into You
In the event of a pickpocket working by themselves, this is their most common tactic. They simply bump into you and slyly grab your wallet in the process.
If you are suddenly surrounded by a whole crowd of people bumping into you on the subway, leave as soon as you can. These people are about to pickpocket you, bumping into you every which way so you aren’t sure who is actually grabbing your wallet. They will leave at the next stop, and you will find yourself without any of your cash or credit cards.
Pickpocket Prevention Tips
Keep aware of your surroundings. If you notice any of these tactics being used against you, don’t be afraid to tell them you know what they are doing. Don’t let the need to be polite make you susceptible to crime; thieves rely on your niceness to strike. If you are approached by a stranger who seems too friendly, or you are encircled by a group of kids, don’t hesitate to move away and say, “No!” in an assertive manner.
Tourists are easy targets for pickpockets. This is because they generally carry a lot of valuables and are too busy taking in the new sights to notice. If you want to avoid being targeted by pickpockets, don’t look like a tourist. Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry and dress in a nondescript manner. Try not to look like you are lost. Before you leave a destination, plan out your route, and walk in an assertive manner.
Money Belts and RFID-Blocking Wallets
One of the best ways you can prevent pickpocketing is ensuring that your money is not accessible in the first place. Our Travel Money Belt is a great solution for this, keeping your cash and cards close to your body and making it more difficult for pickpockets to get into your wallet. Additionally and unfortunately, pickpockets don’t need to actually reach into your pocket to steal from you; some clever thieves have started using RFID technology to steal your credit card information without you even realizing. This is why it is smart to invest in an RFID blocking wallet. This way, you can rest assured that you have done everything in your power to protect your identity. Shop WalletBe for RFID blocking wallets today!