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Pick-Pocketing

How tourists are targeted by pickpockets

You’re not silly enough to brandish your fancy camera about, you’ve tucked your necklace under your shirt and stored your cash in your front pocket. No way do you look like a tourist right?



According to traveller Rebecca Baldwin there’s an action tourists do that gives themselves away and even helps pickpockets know where you’ve stashed your goodies.


Posting advice to question/answer forum Quora, Baldwin pointed out that in their attempts to warn people of pickpockets, authorities were actually helping pickpockets find their targets.

“In Western Europe (and other places, too), when you get off the subway, many times there are huge signs that warn you about pickpockets,” Baldwin wrote.


According to Baldwin, when tourists see those signs they “stop in their tracks” to check their valuables are still in their possession.


“They check for their money, credit cards, passport, and visa by touching their pants, coat pocket, or purse where their valuables are...They will even check their neck and wrists to make sure their necklaces and watches are still there from the subway ride."

“Once they feel their valuables are still safe with them, on they go.”

But, says Baldwin, what tourists don’t realise is that those actions have just told pickpockets the location of their valuables.

“People in pickpocket rings on the subway will signal the other pickpockets waiting RIGHT UNDER THOSE SIGNS and they’ll follow you for a bit and take your very important papers, currency, or keepsakes.”


Nora Reid also posted to Quora suggesting that wearing corded headphones connected to a device might as well be a bright neon arrow directing pickpockets to the whereabouts of your phone.


So therefore, avoid wearing headphones when travelling in public unless they are wireless, and if you see a sign warning of pick-pockets then do not stop and check your items until you are in a safe or private area.


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