Five Things to Learn From Someone Who Fell Victim to a Pickpocket

BY Beth Williams

If you have never fallen victim to a pickpocket, you are lucky – and to tell you the truth – if you are just a little street smart, you may never in your lifetime. However, pickpockets come in a variety of levels of expertise from the expert to the opportunist. Falling victim to either one and losing your credit cards, as well as your passport and currency, can really put a crimp on your vacation abroad. Learn from these tips shared by a seasoned traveler who fell victim to a pickpocket.

Here is an informative video of a traveler who was targeted by thieves using the “petition scam.” Watch it to see how it happened so you know what to look out for when you traveling.

This man fell victim to a setup. He was distracted by one thief while the other one pickpocketed him.

5 TIPS

Here are five tips that the victim’s wife said she and her husband from now on will always follow.

1. I’ll leave all non-essential cards and documents at home.

I will thoroughly empty out my wallet before I leave home, but I could have done a better job. There was no reason for me to carry my driver’s license, for example, and now I’m still waiting on a replacement! (Ahem, New York State DMV.)

2. I won’t withdraw large sums of cash at once from an ATM.

I’ve always withdrawn wads of foreign currency at a time under the theory that I was keeping ATM fees to a minimum. I found out it’s not worth the risk; next time, I’ll pay the five dollars!

3. I’ll divide my cash and credit cards into at least two stashes.

I generally try to be good about carrying half of my funds in a money belt and half in a wallet or secure pocket, but from now on, I will always do that. If half gets stolen, at least I’ll have backup cards.

4. I’ll remember that I brought that zippered purse or travel bag for a reason and will always engage the zippers.

These are our favorite anti-theft handbags which feature pickpocket prevention features.

5. I will use the travel bag to hold all valuables including my phone, and never use my back pocket ever to hold anything I don’t want to lose.

6. ( Bonus tip) I will travel with the phone numbers of my credit-card companies.

As I was scrambling to find the numbers on the Internet, I couldn’t help thinking that having them on hand would have saved a lot of time during post-pickpocket cleanup.