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Tips to avoid becoming the next victim of pickpockets on your next holiday

January 18th, 2013

It’s a sad fact of life that tourists attract thieves, crooks and assorted shady characters. They know travelers are usually bcarrying plenty of cash, perhaps an expensive camera, or better still, their passport. To make matters worse, travelers are much more likely to either be bedazzled by some strange sight or befuddled by some foreign system to notice what the crooks are up to. According to statistics gathered by travel insurer SureSave, the most likely age groups to be targeted are 60-70 year olds and 18-25 year olds – each presenting opportunistic thieves with different prospects. The younger group are targeted for mobile devices while the older group are targeted for passports and wallets. The most common place for tourists to fall victim is on or near public transport, with markets and shopping centres being the next most common. The top destinations for pickpockets are Spain, France and Thailand, closely followed by Vietnam, Bali and Italy. Here are tips to help prevent it happening to you:

  1. BLEND IN – Spend the first couple of hours in a new country looking at what the locals use to carry their belongings, and go get one. While you’re at it, look at how they dress, copy that and blend-in a little. This will make you stand out less to thieves.
  2. APPROACH WITH CAUTION – Pickpockets almost never work alone. One captures your attention while the other rifles through your bag. It might seem rude, but politely challenge overly-friendly approaches from strangers. It may be cover for an accomplice to get his hands on your valuables. The genuinely friendly will understand and the thieves will go off to find an easier target.
  3. STASH YOUR CASH – Many travelers recommend not putting wallets in pockets ever. If you must carry large amounts of cash, stash it out of reach inside pockets.
  4. BELT UP – As unstylish as they are, money belts can be a saviour, but still only carry enough cash for the day. Leave the majority of your money locked up back at the hotel with your passport.
  5. RELY ON PHOTOCOPIES – If you’re in a country that insists you carry I.D., take a photocopy of your passport and some other photo I.D. If the police insist on seeing the original, offer to take them to see it at your hotel. However, some countries such as Japan insist that a photocopy is not good enough and you must carry the original, so make sure it’s stashed away safely.
  6. DITCH THE BUM-BAG: When in a crowded place hold your bag or purse tightly in front of you. But remember, backpacks and bum-bags scream ‘tourist’ and are prime targets for pickpockets.

Article found in e-talk travel news