Pickpocketing is a common problem in popular cities, and it is precisely tourists who are excited about excursions that often become the targets of thieves.
According to Travel Off Path, more than 400,000 cases of pickpocketing are registered every day around the world, and one-third of insurance cases are due to the loss or theft of valuables.
Travel experts explain that when people are in a new place, they can be tempted to let their guard down. After all, they come there on vacation and just want to have a good time. That is why tourists are a natural target for pickpockets. Therefore, to avoid pickpocketing, it is important to stay alert and keep your valuables safe.
Five ways to avoid becoming a victim of pickpocketing this summer
1. Be careful in crowded places. Pickpockets like to work in places with heavy traffic and where there will be a lot of tourists. When you’re in a crowd, you can easily be jostled, making it easier for pickpockets to get to you and access your valuables.
High-traffic areas tend to be places where there are distractions. Whether you’re at a train station trying to plan your trip or taking a selfie at a popular tourist attraction, you’re likely to be disoriented or focused on something else.
One of the most common pickpocketing tactics is called “push and go.” One thief will happen to stumble upon you, and his accomplice will pick your pockets while you’re distracted.
2. Do not shine with your values. Often, measures to prevent pickpocketing in popular tourist destinations can be used by pickpockets to their advantage. For example, warning signs “Beware of pickpockets” or “Pickpockets operate here” in popular locations. When tourists read such signs, they instinctively check their valuables to make sure their possessions are where they left them. But in fact, this is how tourists show pickpockets exactly where they keep their valuables.
In this case, it is easiest to protect your valuables by keeping them in the front of your body, such as in a waist bag. If you instinctively reach out to check your valuables, hold them firmly in your hand until you leave the “risk zone”. This deters pickpockets and allows you to immediately feel if someone is reaching for your wallet or phone.
3. Be careful near the ATM. Credit card skimming is a scam that can cost travelers a fortune, but luckily, it’s an easy scam to avoid. It is enough not to communicate with anyone who approaches you when you use an ATM. Often, thieves pretend they can help you access your money while avoiding local bank fees, but what they want to do is use a card skimming device to access your card details.
Also, try not to use ATMs in crowded places, especially if you are traveling alone. If someone is standing too close to you when you try to withdraw cash, cancel the transaction and use another ATM.
If you’re still not sure if it’s safe to use an ATM, consider paying for goods and services with a card instead of withdrawing cash. Many hotels also have ATMs or currency exchange services that are safe and reliable.
4. Don’t show cash. Try to disguise your wealth. If you need to pull out your wallet to pay for something, pull out only the money you need, not the whole wad. And never count your money in public.
You can also hide your wealth by leaving any large or expensive jewelry at home or keeping it in your hotel room safe. It is also best to avoid expensive designer clothes from big brands. If you look expensive or show off expensive things, then you are hinting that you have something valuable in your wallet. After all, while there’s nothing wrong with standing out from the crowd, it also makes you an obvious target for pickpockets.
Another tip is to try not to look like a tourist.
5. Recognize pickpockets. After all, the best way to avoid pickpocketing is to recognize pickpockets and understand how they operate. If you notice someone loitering in a public place looking at passers-by or their wallets and shopping bags, it could be a pickpocket.
If a stranger or person you don’t know very well is too familiar, hugs you, or stands too close, offering directions or advice, then he or she may also be a pickpocket. At the same time, remember that pickpockets work as a team, so your new acquaintance may distract you so that his accomplice can take your wallet.
As reported by DIP, Italy was previously recognized as the country in Europe with the largest number of pickpockets, whose victims are often tourists.