“Stop, thief!” If you don’t want to be yelling that this holiday season, here’s some advice from ex-police officer Carole Moore on how to hold on to your wallet. She says holiday shopping, with people rushing to complete their Christmas lists, is prime time for pickpockets. But you can foil them by using your head, and denying thieves what they rely on most - opportunity. If you don’t give them one, they’ll move on to another “mark” - that’s how they refer to their victim. So here’s what to do:
First, be aware of how pickpockets operate. Some work alone and some work in teams. They like situations that offer the chance to make physical contact with their victim, plus a chance to get away without being detected. Some common ploys of pickpockets include pretending to be in trouble and asking for help, dropping something and grabbing your wallet when you lean down to help, and spilling something on your clothes and then helping you clean it off – again, reaching for your wallet. And sometimes, they’ll try to distract you by flirting.
So, here’s how to spot a pickpocket. Watch out for someone with a coat thrown over their arm - it helps him hide what he’s up to. And be alert if someone stops abruptly in front of you, causing you to bump into him, and the person behind you to bump into you. Especially if you’ve just visited the ATM machine. One more thing - if you hear someone yell, “My wallet’s been stolen,” the automatic response is to pat your pocket to check your own wallet. But that shows the pickpocket exactly where you keep it. So think before you react. This’ll help keep you from being their next “mark”.