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When traveling, you may have the unfortunate experience of being pickpocketed. While this shouldn’t deter you from enjoying your vacation, it’s important to know what to do after pickpocketing. Find out the important steps to take if it happens to you!
Steps to Take if You are Pickpocketed
Travel Fashion Girl help! A reader asks:
While in Paris, my daughter was pickpocketed on the Metro. She’s canceled her credit cards, and tomorrow we’ll head to the US consulate to get her passport replaced. Has anyone been through this? Can you offer any tips on what to do?
No matter how prepared you think you are or what your destination is, theft can occur. It’s good to be cautious, but don’t feel paranoid and let it ruin your trip.
Read what to do if you are pickpocketed while traveling abroad. Learn about anti-theft products and tips to help you avoid this unfortunate scenario.
What to Do After Travel Pickpocketing
If you are pickpocketed, follow these steps:
Step 1: Stay Calm
I know it is easy to say, but please don’t panic! Several readers advise that they know it is scary and can be extremely nerve-wracking, but try and stay calm, because panicking won’t help. As one reader says, “Sometimes things are just lost, not stolen.”
One reader suggests, “If you have travel insurance, I recommend you start by calling them before anything else. They will give advice and possibly assistance.”
Read our tips on how to find the best travel insurance!
Step 2: File a Police Report
Filing a police report is not likely to get your belongings back, but it will help replace your passport, credit and debit cards, or help with money transfers. Also as readers shared, you will need a police report for travel insurance, especially if something expensive or valuable was taken.
One reader says, “Go to the nearest police station, and they will have you fill out a report. Give them your local contact number and home number. It might be the case that your bag will be found (minus the cash), and then they can notify you that they have found it.”
Step 3: Contact Your Bank and Credit Cards
Inform your bank and credit card companies immediately. They can cancel your cards and order replacements for you. The sooner you do this, the sooner they can prevent transactions from occurring.
Many credit card companies offer protection against this, so even if charges are made, you can file a dispute, which may help you avoid having to pay for anything a pickpocketer purchased with the cards.
Step 4: Replace Your Passport
If your passport is stolen, start the process of sorting it out at the nearest embassy or consulate. This is extremely important, because without your passport you will not be able to leave the country.
As one reader advises, “The consulate is well versed in this situation, so don’t worry too much. What’s done is done and move forward.” There will be a fee to get an emergency replacement passport.
Another reader says that when traveling in Rome, “We had to go to the British Consulate, but then everything was straightforward. Ryanair rang immigration at Stansted Airport to confirm they would let us back into the UK.”
Remember, as one reader says, “Try not to let it spoil your holiday! Consider it as a learning adventure.”
Keep your belongings safe with my tried-and-true tips on how to avoid theft while traveling!
How to Avoid Pickpockets
When you’re on your trip, there are a steps to take that can help reduce your chances of being pickpocketed.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Belongings
Most pickpocketing thefts occur from convenience. Thieves find it easier to prey on tourists because they are more likely to be distracted by their surroundings and focused on enjoying their trip.
One reader says, “It’s about being aware of your surroundings. I am a little paranoid, therefore, extremely aware of my surrounds and belongings.” Another reader adds, “I feel that using common sense goes a long way. Don’t leave money in your pockets or leave your purse hanging on the back of a chair.”
Never be afraid to say “no” or ignore someone who comes up to you, especially if he or she seems suspicious. One reader suggests, “Don’t stop to listen to any pity story or trick,” while another adds, “Be sensible and listen to your ‘Spidey sense.’” Trust your gut, and instinct goes a long way!
Pacsafe Citysafe Cs100 Anti Theft Bag
Use an Anti-Theft Bag
Crowded and popular tourist areas are the worst for pickpockets. If you’re surrounded by a large group of people, your belongings could easily be taken by someone cutting your bag open. Anti-theft slash-proof bags are designed to prevent this from happening.
Some readers choose Pacsafe anti-theft bags as they are slash proof. One reader says, “I’d rather be safe and give up looks for a bag.” Another reader adds, “I always travel with a Pacsafe crossbody bag. The strap is reinforced with steel mesh, so it can’t be slashed, and the zipper has a catch on it that you can secure so no one can reach inside your bag.”
If you’re in a cold climate, some readers say, “Wearing your coat over your purse is the best. Keep the purse small and don’t be tempted to tote everything you own in it.”
Find out why crossbody purses are the best travel shoulder bags!
Travelon Anti Theft Cross Body Bag
Choose the Best Purse to Avoid Pickpockets
Several readers recommend using a crossbody purse so you can keep it in sight. One reader says, “Always have the strap across your body, not just on your shoulder, and keep your hand on it.”
Several of our readers recommend anti-theft bags from Travelon because of their feminine styles. “I love my Travelon bags. I traveled all over Europe with my Travelon crossbody.”
If you use a backpack, be aware of your surroundings when the bag is out of sight. One reader says, “My friend had a backpack, and it was opened by someone at one point.” Another reader says, “Someone opened my backpack right in front of me, and I never even realized, because they had their coat slung over their arm to hide their thieving hands!”
If you prefer to travel with a backpack, consider choosing an anti-theft backpack like one from Travelon. One reader suggests always “wearing it on your front, particularly when it’s crowded, and ask your travel partner to keep an eye on it.”
Remember: Never let your bag out of your sight.
Combination Cable Luggage Locks
Secure Your Bag
There are several ways to secure your bag without purchasing a pickpocket proof bag. Several readers recommend using a carabiner lock to secure your bag. One reader says, “It works like a charm, and I have had no issues.”
To secure her bag, one reader says, “On trips where I use a regular backpack, I add a diaper pin to the fob on the zipper. It makes it very difficult for someone to open the zippers.” This is an inexpensive addition to make your bag more secure!
Another reader adds how she “used a combination lock to secure my backpack in Italy (just three numbers). I know, it’s overkill, but there were times I just wanted my backpack on my back and not have to worry about it.”
Read our top tips for women staying in hostels!
Split Up Your Money
A popular strategy among our readers for protecting their money is to split up cash and cards. One reader says, “I only carry the cards and money that I need for the day. I always have an extra credit card and cash, along with my passport, secured in the locked safe in the hotel.”
This strategy means that if you are pickpocketed, you won’t lose everything. One reader says, “My husband and I carry separate, unlinked credit cards so if one gets robbed, the other can still be used.”
One reader advises that if you keep a wallet or money in your pocket, “always keep it in a front pocket. Never put anything in the back. It’s harder to steal from a front pocket. When you are in a very crowded space, like a bus, put your hand in the pocket, too.” Or, use a money wallet or bra stash!
Choose Anti-Pickpocketing Devices
Compass Rose RFID Secret Bra Wallet
Try a Bra Stash
A bra stash, such as the Compass Rose RFID Secret Bra Wallet is a great way to safely store any extra cash or credit cards. If you keep the money you need for the day’s sightseeing in your purse, you can place any additionally cash and credit cards in your bra stash.
One reader says, “I love having extra money and my other card on my body in a bra stash and no one had a clue.”
Buy a bra stash here!
Consider a Money Belt
A money belt, such as the Venture 4th RFID Money Belt is a common travel accessory for keeping your belongings safe and making it easy to sightsee hands-free. Remember, do not wear a wear money belt outside of your clothing like a fanny pack. It should be underneath your top or dress.
One reader says, “I wear a money belt to hold my passport, two credit cards, ATM card, and larger bills. I keep $80 and my smart phone in my bra to be able to quickly draw it.”
Note: Money belts are to be used only for items you don’t need access to. Keep the cash you’ll need for the day in a wallet, and don’t dig into your money belt in public as that defeats its purpose!
Find our readers’ personal tips on how to wear a money belt with a dress!
Venture 4th Travel Neck Pouch Neck Wallet
Keep Valuables Safe with Neck Pouch
If you don’t like using a money belt, try a neck pouch instead, like this Venture 4th Travel Neck Pouch Neck Wallet. Neck pouches are perfect for days when you’re actively traveling and need to carry all your valuables. You can keep your passport, credit cards and cash safely stored away under your clothes using a neck pouch.
One reader says, “I like wearing a neck pouch. The strap is long enough that I can sandwich it between my body and underwear.” Another reader adds, “My neck wallet holds my passport, cash, credit cards, ID, lip gloss, and eye drops.”
Here are the best money belts and anti-theft accessories for travel!
Leave Your Passport in a Safe Place
Several of our readers agree, for pickpocket protection: “Don’t, under any circumstances, carry your passport with you. Leave it locked in the hotel safe where you know you’ll find it when you need it. This way, if you get robbed, you aren’t stuck in the country waiting for a passport.”
Another reader adds, “We always carry a copy of our passports and leave extra copies in our hotel room and lock our passports in the hotel safe.”
Leave Some Valuables at Home
One reader says, “Always be cautious and leave your valuables at home or in a safe. Take off any fancy jewelry.” Another reader adds, “Just remember the golden rule: don’t travel with anything of value that you would be devastated if you lost.”
Some of our readers even choose to leave their engagement or wedding rings at home. Keep your valuables safe by not carrying or wearing them with you when sightseeing!
Plan Ahead to Avoid Pickpocketing
While planning your trip, readers suggest reading about scams used most frequently. One reader says, “Scams are usually easy to avoid once you are aware of them. Just having the knowledge is most of what you need.”
Before you leave on your trip, do some research into whether your destination has any particular scams of which you need to be aware. One reader also recommends you research you local embassy location and phone number before leaving on your trip.
Take photocopies of all your key travel documents, including your passport. As one reader advises, “Having a scanned copy or a photo of your passport can help to expedite the process.”
Our readers also advise that you keep a list of contact numbers in your suitcase, such as the number for reporting stolen credit cards. You should keep the contact numbers with a copy of your debit and credit cards.
For more tips, please read how to keep your passport safe while traveling!
Be Safe, But Not Paranoid
Just remember, as one reader says, “Be aware and safe, but don’t see the need to be paranoid.” Don’t let worrying put a damper of your fun!
Watch this video for more tips on how to keep your belongings safe while traveling
What are your travel tips to avoid pickpocketing? Share in the comments below!
For more anti-theft travel tips, please read:
- Money Belts and Anti-theft Accessories
- Best Anti-theft Bags for Women
- 6 Tools to Protect You From Pickpockets
- How To Keep Your Passport Safe While Traveling
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Be careful with cross body bags. I know of two people who were dragged several meters when a thief on Motorcycle grabbed the strap of such a bag and sped away – was in Africa
Hi Dena, thank you for sharing your travel advice, this is really helpful. I am really sorry to hear that, hope they were both ok after their terrible experience 🙁