Avoiding pickpockets whilst on holiday

Date: 16-Dec-2012 - Written by Debbie Davies

After all the effort you put into planning your holiday to ensure it all runs smoothly, nothing can put a spanner it the works like having your wallet or passport stolen. So here are a few top tips to prevent your special trip being ruined by pickpockets.

Our mobile phones are such an essential part of our travelling kit now, but these clever little techy friends are sadly easy to pinch, along with other easily grabbable items – digital cameras, wallets etc. Extra care needs to be taken with all our valuables, especially as insurance claims can be disputed if you are judged not to have taken reasonable care.

The Good Samaritan Scam

The Good Samartian Scam is one of the most common ways pickpockets seek to part you from your hard-earned cash. Unfortunately I have fallen victim to this ruse myself and been forced to pay the price. It works by preying on the goodwill of strangers. Working in teams of two or three, pickpockets will stage a diversion, such as a crying child, or someone who appears to be injured, or even a fake robbery. While passers-by are distracted, they will quickly pick up bags, cameras, phones and wallets, from behind people’s backs, or from restaurant tables. Keep your wits about you at all times even if someone appears to be in genuine distress!

Working the tables

Cafes or restaurants are a common place to come accross pickpockets. Don’t leave any valuables on the edges of tables (where someone walking past can quickly grab them) and be on alert for fake waiting staff, who sometimes pretend to be clearing dirty tables to grab what they can. Also, keep your bag next to your feet under then table, rather than on the back of your chair.

Travelling around

Keep documents in a travel organiser so you can easily find them and not have to up-end your bags searching for the items you need and valuables in a shoulder holster wallet. You can find both of these items in our travel catalogue.

 Insurance and dealing with pickpockets

Even if you’ve taken sensible precautions you could be unlucky enough to fall victim to a scam or thief. Keep a record of useful numbers, such as your bank, Credit Card Company and mobile phone provider in a safe place, to use in the light of any losses.

Even if you are travelling in the European Union, which offers some basic protection against illness and crime, don’t take your level of insurance for granted. You should always take out some holiday insurance before travelling. You can get some good deals, covering you for a full 12 months of travel, from many of the high street banks; often for a minimal charge, or no charge at all as long as you open a specific type of account.

If you do have any valuables stolen, you must report the matter to the local police as soon as possible, otherwise your insurance provider may decide your claim is invalid. 

Hhappily the vast majority of us never encounter a pickpocket, whether at home or abroad, but it is best to be cautious.

Bon voyage!

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