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Pickpockets love crowds and target tourists.  Familiarize yourself with the schemes we describe and guard your purse or wallet.     Be sure to wear a money belt.


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Travel Advice -   Pickpockets and travel      

Be alert while in the area of tourist attractions or wherever there are crowds.

  • Crowded tourist areas attract petty criminals, pickpockets, and con artists.
  • Always be on guard when anyone you do not know approaches and tries to attract your attention.

The “approach” is often the opening move for a two-person pickpocket team.

  • While one person asks you questions or, perhaps, spills something on you, the second person will dip into your pocket or purse, removing valuables while you and the pickpocket’s companion are cleaning up the mess.
  • Another ploy is the “bird dropping on your pants”, when a pickpocket team fling something on your shirt and then lift your wallet as they clean you off.


Be alert, pickpockets do not fit a specific profile and may be children or women with babies.

  • In Europe, avoid groups of children who often create a distraction while picking your pocket.
    • Gypsy children in various destinations in Europe are famous for surround and distract scheme.
      • They approach you as a crowd and then begin jostling your and attempting to reach into your pockets.
      • We suggest that you learn a few key phrases in the local language so you can call for help.
      • We have found that an angry display of emotion and call for “police” will solve the problem.

The best protection from a pickpocket is to buy and use a money belt.

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