Getting pickpocketed is common in many touristy parts of the world. Even further, in the big cities of Europe, this problem is particularly severe. Such cities include London, Paris, Rome, Milan, Prague, and Athens. TripAdvisor and the National Geographic Show, Scam City, noted Barcelona, in particular, as the pickpocket capital of the world.
Asians are the favorite targets because, in many Asian countries, credit card limits aren’t high. This means they bring a lot of cash with them when they fly. Unfortunately, criminals are aware of this. Many police departments shrug off someone getting pickpocketed as common petty theft. But for the victim, having their wallet stolen not only puts them out of the cash they were carrying, but also creates a massive cost in time and stress.
If you are pickpocketed, your credit cards must be canceled and you must warn your credit agencies of potential identity fraud. If you lost your passport, it might postpone your travel plans. You may even have to pay for another flight home if you miss your original flight because of this. Needless to say, getting pickpocketed is something that you will want to avoid. So, follow these tips to ensure you’re safe and secure while traveling.
Do Not Carry A Lot Of Bags
Pickpockets usually operate in places where there are new tourists — at airports, train stations, and bus terminals. This is because tourists who have just arrived are more easy targets. After a long flight, most of them are inexperienced, reckless, nervous, puzzled, or tired. They are easy to distract, too.
This is why the amount of bags you bring should be minimized. You can’t keep an eye on them all at once. The more bags you have, the easier it is to lose something. Pickpockets know this and will benefit from it. One of the safest ways to protect your belongings is to hold your hand over your pocket, usually on top of the zipper or opening.
Bring And Use Money Belts
A money belt is a tiny bag you can wear around your chest or waist. It’s similar to a fanny pack, but it’s smaller. You can also hide it under your shirt, which is one of the best ways to keep your cash or cards safe. It’s perfect because it’s very close to your body and you can keep your valuables in front of you.
Pickpockets will always choose the easier target. They will go after someone who has their wallet in the back pocket or their purse behind them if they have a choice.
Do Not Be Distracted
Pickpockets typically function is teams or groups. One is the actual pickpocket. Another serves as a lookout or hides the item. At the same time, the rest block your view, rattles you, or takes your attention away from your valuables. Any of the above can be distractions. An example of this is when someone passes in front of you, and someone else steals your valuables while your attention is on their partner. So, always keep your awareness up and avoid chaotic situations.
Every day there are more than 400,000 incidents of pickpocketing happening worldwide. This number is likely even higher because many people do not report such incidents. Many big cities now have their fair share of purse snatching, pickpocketing, phone grabbing, and ripping off tourists in general.
If you’re traveling alone, it is best to be safe and invest in your safety. For more tips, click here.