Pickpocketing is a widespread crime that can affect anyone, anywhere. A skilled pickpocket can make off with money, a wallet, a purse/backpack without ever getting caught. This article will teach you how to lower your suitability as a target and what to do if you are a victim.
The most suitable targets:
- students sitting in groups with their backpacks open
- people at the beach
- people waiting the airport with their luggage
- riders on the subway, a bus, or other public transit
- people who look lost, confused, uncertain
- people sitting a restaurant with their bag slung over their chair or on the floor
- people who have been drinking or are at a concert and distracted
- people in crowded AND uncrowded areas — anywhere
What pickpockets look for:
- fanny packs
How they get your stuff without you realizing:
- Team work: Someone may suddenly stop in front of you and the person behind you “bumps” into you and carefully grabs your things.
- Distraction: It’s difficult to focus on two things at once, so a distraction keeps you from tracking your valuables. They create the distraction and take your stuff.
- Someone might “drop” something and your instinct is to help
- You may get hit with fake bird droppings and they’ll offer to help clean you up
- Someone, even a child, may try to show you something (like a toy or drawing)
- Someone may be acting flirty and casual touches are actually attempts to take stuff
- At the beach someone may act like they are having trouble and while you run to help you leave your things behind; keep your things hidden, even if you think you aren’t going anywhere.
- Someone may shout that someone stole their wallet; instinctively you may pat where your wallet is which lets them know exactly where your wallet is.
- They may have a jacket or baby covering their hands so you can’t see them.
- They may dress like wealthy business men and women or tourists so you don’t expect them.
What can you do?
- Carry stuff in a money belt or zipped pocket
- Appear confident
- Stay vigilant
- Keep a visible dummy wallet
- Keep important things in different pockets
- Keep photocopies of important documents and credit cards in a safe at home or at your hotel if you are traveling.
- Don’t carry your social security card
- Don’t carry around any PINs or ATM codes
What should you do if you are a victim?
- Call your bank and cancel your cards immediately
- Call the police and file a report
- Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles if your license was stolen
- Contact the Social Security Administration if your Social Security Card was stolen
- Visit this site to deal with identity theft
This information was gathered from this site.
Abby Orscheln – Safety and Security Intern