Shopping Safety Tips

General Shopping Safety Tips

  • Stay alert and be aware of what's going on around you.
  • Park in a well-lighted space, and be sure to lock the car, close the windows, and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
  • Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Don't overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
  • Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.
  1. Theft & Pickpocket Prevention
  2. Tips for Men
  3. Tips for Women
  4. Tips for Travelers
  5. Theft from Auto

Protecting yourself from a pickpocket or other thief is not as difficult as you would think; just a few thoughtful precautions can be enough to give you peace of mind and confidence in going about your day.

Common Misconceptions About Pickpockets

An experienced pickpocket is not necessarily the sleazy person lurking in dark doorways we expect to see. He (or she!) appears as an average person in both appearance and manner. Because of their chosen "line of work," they spend a great deal of time studying how to blend into a crowd, therefore eliminating the possibility of detection before they can get away.

Pickpockets don't have a regular schedule; they operate just as well at night as they do during the day. They operate in crowds just as easily as "accidentally" bumping into an unsuspecting victim alone on a sidewalk. In fact, about the only "known" fact about pickpockets is that they generally focus on the public during times when they may be carrying more money than usual, such as during the holidays, at store sales, at fairs or carnivals, at casinos, or near bank entrances, etc.

Many times, pickpockets work alone; however, there are also teams of two or three, which sometimes will involve a female accomplice. The first team member removes the valuables from the unsuspecting victim's pockets. He then passes them on to the next member who disappears quickly from the area. When a female member is used in this "team effort," her role is generally to engage the victim in conversation to distract his or her attention.

Contrary to what most of us believe, experienced pickpockets do not put their hands all the way into your pocket to steal your belongings. The expert pickpocket reaches into the top of the pocket, takes up a pleat in the lining, and continually folds the lining up until the bottom of the pocket (holding your valuables) reaches the top of the pocket. This entire act only takes a second or two.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

The best protection is to eliminate the opportunity of becoming a victim in the first place.