Smart Ways to Avoid Getting Pick Pocketed

By on April 30, 2014

pick pocketDuring a backpacking trip that my husband and I took a few years ago, we had an interesting experience while admiring the Spanish Steps in Rome.

We are, if anything, completely overly cautious when we travel and keep all of our belongings safe. We visit places during the off peak season and off peak times if at all possible, and we definitely keep our valuables hidden.

Anyway, while we were standing there on the steps away from the crowds, my husband felt the slightest brush in his back pocket.

It was hardly noticeable but still there, and when he looked up, the only person around was a young gentleman in a sharp business suit walking the other way.

My husband turned to me and said, “I’m pretty sure that guy just had his fingers in my pocket!”

Luckily my husband’s wallet was hidden in a secret pocket, so he did not get robbed.

Still, it gave us our first lesson in pickpocketing:

1. Never Judge Someone By Their Appearance

You would think that a common thief would look a certain way. Maybe they’d have cheap clothes or look dirty. After all, if they have to steal, they must be desperate right? Wrong. People steal for a variety of reasons, and some do it just for the thrill of it. As evidenced by our experience in Rome, pick pocketers (or potential pick pocketers) can look like anything, even a successful young businessman.

2. Stay Away From the Crowds

Another important tip is to stay away from the crowds, especially when there are street performers. Often people gather in circles around entertainers who are singing, dancing, or doing back flips to get a few dollars. Then, tourists see people in a big circle and want to know what the fuss is about so they go check it out too. This is a perfect environment for pick pocketers because everyone is enthralled by the performers and not paying attention to their belongings.

3. Get a Secret Pocket

Many people know the tip about putting your wallet in your front pocket, but pick pocketers are definitely aware of this “trick” as well, and a wallet in a front pocket won’t stop them. The only way that will be a foolproof method is if you keep you hand on your front pocket at all times. Instead, invest in a secret pocket, which resembles a very flat fanny pack that you wear inside your pants like an interior belt. No one can get their hands in there without you noticing!

Of course, the best way that you can protect yourself from losing your hard earned money and having to endure the headache of canceling credit cards while on vacation is to be vigilant. Avoid compromising situations, like traveling on public transportation late at night or having too many drinks while out at a restaurant. Essentially, just be aware of your surroundings. A vacation shouldn’t be a reason to forget basic safety precautions.

Have you ever been pick pocketed? Do you have any other tips for traveling?

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, Follow her on Twitter @BudgetBlonde or like Budget Blonde on Facebook.

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