• Posted by CERC India
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Watch out! You may be pickpocketed

Knowing how pickpockets operate will help you avoid becoming a victim 


Nothing can ruin a perfect day, whether you are a tourist or a local commuting to work, more than being robbed.  Pickpockets are everywhere – but it is difficult to spot one. There are several situations where you become vulnerable to pickpockets. Only by being vigilant can you prevent yourself from becoming another victim.

Here are 10 situations where you are vulnerable to pickpockets:

  1. You keep checking on your valuables: It may be just a glance or you patting your pocket, but it is a dead giveaway. If you keep checking your valuables to reassure yourself that they are safe, you are also giving an onlooker an idea of where they are kept.
  2. You are in a crowded bus or train: This is a golden opportunity for a pickpocket to slash your bag or swipe your wallet from your back pocket. If you are standing at the door of a train you are particularly vulnerable to bag or phone snatching. Buy a theft-proof bag with metal lining that cannot be slashed easily. Always keep your wallet in your front pocket.
  3. You are wearing earphones/headphones: If you are listening to music on your phone or talking to someone with earphones on, you are less aware of what’s happening around. A pickpocket can always unplug your earphones and whisk away our phone (if it is in a bag or pocket) without your knowing it. Keep your phone in your hand if you are using it.
  4. You are jostled by a stranger: This is a common way a pickpocket makes off with your wallet or the phone in your hand. If someone bumps into you, be very aware of your valuables at that moment.
  5. People start arguing around you: There is nothing like a mock fight to create a distraction. Other ways are by tripping in front of you, acting sick, spilling something, or telling you that you have dropped something. All these tactics are aimed to remove your focus from your valuables. This could also happen when you are watching a street performance. Be aware of all the ways pickpockets can get you distracted and do not let your attention stray from your belongings.
  6. You are in a new locality and are lost: You may be preoccupied with a map or Google Maps on your phone whpg19ile a pickpocket may successfully make off with your bag. When you are checking your location, be alert of people around you, especially someone who offers to help you. Be alert when someone asks you for directions too.
  7. You are asked for a donation: You may be asked to read a flyer, sign a petition, or donate for a cause. At times, children may be used to do this as people are less wary of and more sympathetic to kids. Or, you may be asked to buy something. All these tactics are to get your attention off your valuables.
  8. You are in a restaurant: If you enter a crowded restaurant and hang your bag on the back of a chair you may be asking for trouble. Keep your bag, coat and phone right in front of you. Similarly, if you are just exiting an ATM be very careful of your bag as onlookers know you are likely to have cash on you.
  9. You see a group of people splitting up: If you see this happening as you approach a tourist spot or a museum, it may be a group of pickpockets scouting around for victims. Pickpockets rarely work alone.
  10. You are offered help with your bags: This is particularly common with elderly people or those who are physically challenged. Be wary of accepting help from strangers as pickpockets may run away with the bags.

Finally, whenever you are outside your home, in public transport, or just walking down a street, be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Also, be attentive of your valuables, without being obvious about it.

Sources: www.rd.com, brightside.me, woltersworld.com, itsblossom.com

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