Everyone knows that pickpocketing has been on the decline in the US for years. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to encounter no pickpockets on your next trip. This goes double if you take a trip overseas to a region like Europe, where pick-pocketing remains a problem.
If you know what to do to avoid having it happen, you can keep your valuables secure on your person and avoid the troublesome annoyance of having your phone, credit cards, cash and passport lifted.
Here are some tips on how to avoid pickpockets.
Keep your eyes up and stay aware of your surroundings. If you’re worried about getting your things stolen, your body language can give off the impression that you’re on alert. Generally, even the appearance of alertness will be enough to ward off would-be thieves.
Theirs is a crime of opportunity; when they see a distracted, inattentive person with a wallet bulge in their pocket, they strike. Keep your surroundings in mind and don’t let anyone walk too close to you.
Often, pickpockets are working in groups. If you see a group of people acting in an odd manner that seems designed to draw your attention, put your hand on your wallet and another on your phone. Often these types of thieves will set up a distraction to get you to pay attention while a fast hand slips your wallet from your pocket. Don’t let this be you!
Many pickpockets prefer to work around tourist attractions or other places where they know people will be distracted. If you go to the Eiffel Tower, for instance, you’ll be looking up and taking pictures. While you’re doing so, hold your wallet and other valuables close at hand. If you are particularly concerned, consider carrying your wallet in a front pocket.
Other common haunts for pickpockets include hotel lobbies, popular bars and even public transportation. Remember to keep your valuables close at hand and don’t lose focus on the people around you. If anyone is operating too close to you, try striking up a conversation. Hold eye contact and make them aware that you know they’re close to you. Don’t accuse anyone or start a fight; just make them know that you’re aware of them.
Don’t go ballistic if you get your wallet or phone stolen. Cancel your credit cards, alert the police and remain calm. If your wallet can be found then it might be returned to you. If not, you can replace the contents easily. There’s no reason to get into a fight or get hurt by trying to confront someone you think may have stolen from you.
Most modern smartphones allow location tracking for lost or stolen phones. This can be a great way to locate a phone after it goes missing — but never put yourself in danger or travel to an unfamiliar part of town! Most phones also allow you to wipe data remotely, which is a great way to prevent identity theft to go along with phone theft.