Protect Your Wallet and Handbag From Pickpockets

Whether you’re relaxing on vacation or attending a conference, pickpockets are not far behind. Here’s what you need to know to keep yourself from falling victim to their tactics.

For Traveling Business Owners

As small business people are attending conventions, vacationing, or simply out conducting business this time of year, be advised that pickpockets are also out conducting business.

I recall a conversation I had with a detective a while back. He told me that pickpockets often work in pairs or groups. Pickpockets, he explained, usually begin as teenagers and become more and more experienced as time passes.

Pickpockets operate in and around hotels, airports, bus and train stations, stores, shopping malls, and crowded streets. Really any place where there are crowds and unrestricted public access.

What to Know

People draw the attention of a pickpocket when they take out their wallet or purse and then place them back in their jacket, pants, handbag, or backpack. This action alerts the pickpocket to where you place your valuables. Very often, the person does not even realize they have been robbed until later.

Pickpockets also look for people with luggage in hand or their arms full of packages. They also look for people reading, talking on a phone, or who are distracted.

Pickpockets also like to distract people. In a crowded area, one member of the pickpocket team may bump into your left side as the other member goes for your wallet or purse on your right. Another tactic will have one pickpocket ask you a question as the other pickpocket moves in to lift your wallet.

Pickpockets have also been known to spill coffee or a soda on you. Then, while apologizing profusely and attempting to wipe up the mess, they pick your pocket.

Helpful Tips

Law enforcement and security professionals offer the following tips: 

  • Don’t draw attention to yourself.
  • Never carry or display large amounts of cash.
  • Carry only credit or ATM cards that you plan to use that day.
  • Button, zip, snap, and close your handbag and purse.
  • Keep a list of every valuable in your wallet or purse. Place serial and contact numbers on the list.
  • Keep the list separate from your wallet and purse.
  • Men should keep their wallets in a front pocket rather than a back pocket.
  • Women should carry their purse tightly under their arms.
  • Always be alert and aware of your surroundings in public.

In addition to losing cash and valuables to a pickpocket, one should also be concerned about identity theft. Be sure to report the theft immediately to the police and then notify your credit card companies of your loss.

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