Tips To Avoid Getting Pickpocketed

Expert thieves have a lot of tricks up their sleeves to rob hapless travellers and natives. If you want to be less of a target for pickpockets, Gene Turner, "America's friendliest pickpocket entertainer", offers several tips, including being wary of pickpocket warnings.

Photo by Duncan Hull

A sign that says "Pickpockets operate in this area" might seem like a good warning, but it could work against you if you automatically check your valuable belongings as soon as you read the sign:

A man in a business suit has four pants pockets and six to eight pockets in the jacket. The wallet, cash and credit cards could be in any one of 10 or more pockets. A pickpocket doesn't usually have time to search all 10, but when they see you check your pocket when you see the sign, they now know the exact location. It saves a lot of time in committing your crime. If you think there are pickpockets around or you see a sign, don't be obvious about checking for your wallet or valuables.

Similarly, someone yelling that there is a pickpocket in the crowd could be the thief.

Turner's other anti-pickpocket tips include putting your wallet in sideways and avoid keeping it in your back pocket, even with the pocket buttoned.

Gene's Pickpocket Prevention Tips [Gene Turner via Reddit]


    I just walk around with my hands in my pockets...

      Me too. That's the simplest, most effective way.

      Also, if someone bumps into me, I immediately do the 3-pat check:

      Keys, wallet, phone.

        upvote not working

        Also, as a former Contiki guide I can say the easiest way to avoid most attempts is just to put your wallet in your front pocket, instead of back (works best when wearing jeans, as front pocket is usually tighter). As well as that, don't pull out your entire wad and flip through it, then put it back in the same pocket. Have most of it in a secure pocket, then your day's worth of spending money in your front pocket.

    Hi - I wear a " man -bag ". It's made from hemp and looks similar to
    All my junk goes in there.

    It's vulnerable to cutting (strap) and stealing but am very conscious (that it's still there) when wearing. Our shopping centre has a bad record for purse snatching, I'm hoping tough hemp material would slow people down :) . cheers

    "avoid keeping it in your back pocket" Indeed. A very simple but effective tip.

    i place it across the front of my chest.

    Carry a fake wallet in the back pocket, worked for my mate once, they took that bait and his "good" wallet was safely secured elsewhere. But then he was later mugged by a knife wielding, polite mugger. The polite mugger asked him his money and gave his wallet back.

    I've heard you shouldn't keep your wallet in your back pocket anyway because it screws up your spine by sitting on it. Kept it in my front pocket ever since...

      I know many people have gigantic wallets, but mine is about as thin as you can buy. I have no troubles sitting on most non-hard surfaces.

      And I was floating around Europe for 3 months with it in my back pocket, without issue. You can very easily be too paranoid and careful instead of just enjoying yourself...

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