Pickpocket gangs are on the rise, but who is really doing the dirty work? Surely you’d like to believe that you would notice the shady character with shifty eyes looking for the opportunity to pounce. But most of the time, that’s not the person doing the actual criminal action. In many cities, children under a certain age cannot be prosecuted for such crimes and they are used by unscrupulous criminals and forced to serve as perfect workers for pickpocketing rings.
Call it a real life Oliver Twist played out in modern times if you will, but it is a common scene across major tourist destinations as children swiftly grab your valuables without you noticing a thing. Some places are worse than others so be on alert while visiting the following popular destinations that are known for children pickpocket rings:
Did you know that underwear with pockets is so very nicely called "Sous-vêtements avec pochetes secrete" in French? Well now we know! The product description is as follows in French:
Contre le vol à la tire (contre les pickpockets)
Poche ajustée pour porter un passeport, argent, cartes de crédit et même les téléphones portables.
Contre les voleurs, complètement invisible
Poches de haute qualité, lignées avec fermeture éclair
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Scam City, a documentary series that first aired in June 2012 reveals the dark side of tourism as viewers get an inside look at the thieves and questionable characters in some of the most popular tourist destinations around the globe. The show exposes the common scams of each location from pickpockets to inflated cab fares to unlicensed doctors. In the first season, host Conor Woodman ventures into the underbelly of destinations such as Barcelona, Rome and even Las Vegas.
While the show covers a variety of techniques used by scammers around the world, the program is filled with examples of pickpocketing. In the Rio de Janeiro episode, Woodman exposes the risks and realities of a attending the infamous Carnival celebrations. As bait, he purposely leaves his wallet sticking out of his back pocket slightly and waits for the crowd to surround enough. To see what happens, check out this clip of Scam City on the Science Channel’s Website.
Pickpocketing and scams are not always as textbook as the Rio experience. During the Prague episode, Woodman reveals that scammers don’t always look the part and sometimes may be an attractive, young woman or a seemingly friendly taxi driver. In this Bohemian City, tourists are typically targeted during the daylight and robbed when the sun goes down. Another intriguing episode took place in Marrakech, where snake charmers and dancers steal from tourists entranced by their performances.
Other destinations covered include Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Delhi and Bangkok. The series airs every Sunday at 10pm on the Travel & Leisure Channel, included in basic cable packages, as well as the Science Channel. Check your local listings for episodes of Scam City and stay one step ahead of scammers that feed off of an unsuspecting tourist.
When people think about insuring their items and baggage for a vacation abroad, the first thought is typically traditional travel insurance. While there is definitely validity to the idea of using travel insurance to deal with a theft or loss of property, you’d be surprised at the other resources available to protect your stuff. Depending on your coverage your personal items can be covered by travel insurance, homeowners/renters insurance or credit card plans.
Traditional travel insurance is always a good place to start. Some travel insurance plans include coverage of your belongings as part of the standard package, but others require you to purchase additional insurance coverage for personal items. There is also often a maximum allowance for an individual item and all of your items combined. For example, one item may insured up to $300, but you only get $600 coverage total between all of your belongings.
In addition to travel insurance, you may already be covered under your homeowners or renters insurance. Many people do not realize that personal items are covered under that policy, no matter where they are in the world. If you have to bring an expensive laptop, for example, and already have it insured domestically, you may not need to seek out any additional insurance.
Another option to acquire travel insurance is through your credit card company. American Express offers three tiered plans that cover the most basic travel needs to an annual coverage plan that start at only $79 per year. If you are a global jetsetter who travels consistently throughout the year, this may be your best bet for coverage without the headache of going through all the red tape at the start of every trip. Take an inventory of your personal items and potential losses to determine how much coverage is necessary.
In a recent blog post, we discussed the rise of pickpocketing and concluded that unfortunately it has become a reality. The issue came to a head this week at one of the most famous museums in the world: The Louvre. The museum had become such a target for pickpocket gangs that the staff walked out of the museum in protest, forcing The Louvre to shut its doors for one whole day. For more information on the story and to follow along with updates as they develop, stay tuned to CNN and other news outlets.
When you travel with the Clever Travel Companion's underwear with pockets there is one important thing to keep in mind:
Always keep some cash, a credit card or something of value easily attainable, in a regular pocket, in your wallet, your purse or what ever you prefer traveling with. There are two reasons for this:
The first is so that you don't have to access your hidden pockets on the street, in a store, in the train station or where ever you are when you need some cash or a credit card. The pockets are hidden for a reason after all and you don't everyone to see what you are up to. Be alert, pick pockets strike when you are preoccupied and when pick pockets are good at what they do - you won't feel a thing.
The second reason is more ominous; If you were to be mugged or robbed it is always smart to have something to offer the robber. If you have everything hidden away and nothing to hand over, the robber might get suspicious and aggravated.
Since your most important valuables are in your hidden pockets, you always want something to be able to give the robber: I usually keep 30 dollars or so in my wallet. I also keep a credit card, that I can easily call and cancel (or even an expired credit card), and some less important stuff that wont hurt losing. That way, if the odds are against me and I do get mugged, I will not lose anything I can't continue my trip without.
The thing to do when robbed is always to simply hand over what ever the robber asks for: which is usually your wallet and all its contents. Money and things are never worth fighting for. This is advice that police and insurance companies always give too – experience tells us this is the smarter, safer thing to do. So don't fight, just hand it over! Keep in mind that you are dealing with a desperate person, who needs your money and who might be high or at least unstable in some way and you never know how he or she will react. Simply hand over what they ask for and walk away unhurt.
We don't mean to scare you, getting robbed is not that common. But it does happen. So, sorry,but it is better to be safe than sorry, so do put your valuables in the Clever Travel Companion's hidden pockets. The most common way travelers lose their valuables are actually by their own accord; by simply dropping them, forgetting their wallets somewhere, leaving a bag in a cab or on a train, or simply having stuff fall out of unsecured pockets, so securing your passport, driver's licence and a credit acrd in a secert pocket is a good, basic action to take just to make sure your rip will go off without any major hitches.
Safe travels everyone!
Large gatherings of tourists, whether it’s for an event or to see a popular attraction, bring pickpockets out of the woodwork looking for opportunity. And, statistics show that pickpockets are capitalizing on that opportunity.. In London alone in the time leading up to the Olympics, the number of pickpockets rose to 1,700 per day, which is an increase of almost 20% when compared to reports from 2 years earlier. A major tourist hub like Rome reports 300 pickpocket incidents a day, and who knows how many more go unreported. It turns out raising awareness about pickpockets isn’t fear mongering, it’s just reality.
So what can you do to protect yourself in this climate of high pickpocketing risks? Certainly the most obvious and best thing to do is to stay alert, especially when there are large groups around you or something just doesn’t feel right. Be careful, however, because this mentality can turn you into quite the paranoid person that is no longer open to experiencing travel completely if you’re not careful. The point is to learn from the cultural exchange, not to spend the entire time second guessing every person you encounter.
Skip the change in demeanor and take extra precautions before you walk out onto the street. It doesn’t matter if the world’s best pickpocket gang is waiting for you if your wallet is carefully protected in a place that’s out of reach. A thief may grab something in your purse or pocket, but everything of value will be kept safely next to your person. This peace of mind is surely worth the nominal cost, much less the cost of actually losing your valuables.
Innovative products on the market have stayed one step ahead of the pickpocket gangs. Underwear with zippered pockets from Clever Travel Companion, for example, is one of the most secure ways to carry your valuables. It’s the best way to handle the climate of increased pickpocket attempts without spinning off into a paranoid tourist, skeptical of the very place that you so desired to experience.
Whether you are just taking the train in from the airport or are ready to tackle the public transportation system first hand, you need to know how to protect yourself when taking a train in a foreign country. Even in an area known for petty thefts, you can stay completely safe by using a little street smarts and following the tips below.
1. Never let your baggage out of sight. It may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many people place luggage in the back of a train car, completely out of their view. You always need to be in a position where you can not only see the luggage, but close enough so your ownership is clearly known. It is better to sit uncomfortably with your bag then to risk losing it by stashing it too far away.
2. Wear carry on bags across your shoulder and turn them so the zipper faces your body. In comfortable surroundings, we often let our guard down and throw our laptop bag or purse on a shoulder. This makes it very easy for thieves as they only have to rip the bag off of your arm, not your entire body. Sling the strap so that it rests diagonally across your body for extra protection. Also, turn the zippered openings inward so pickpockets have no temptation.
3. Don't sit or stand by the exit doors. It's the classic trick used by thieves everywhere: wait until the last moment before the doors close and grab someone's purse on the way out. By the time you even know what happens, a thief will be off with your bag and you'll be halfway to the next stop. Avoid this altogether by moving toward the center of the train car while holding onto all of your bags.
4. Watch others on the train carefully. You don't want to stereotype or assume the worst, but being alert is the first step in staying safe. Keep an eye out for people who seem to linger around you, especially in groups of two or more. This is not the time to give someone the benefit if the doubt if something doesn't feel right. Pay attention, trust your gut and stay safe.
5. Make a small investment for extra protection. Hindsight is 20/20 and you surely don't want to be in the position of saying, "If only I had better protected my wallet and passport, I wouldn't be in this mess in the first place." Something as easy to use as a t-shirt with a zippered pocket from the Clever Travel Companion could be the difference in being a victim or not. A small investment now is worth not risking the financial strain of having your valuables stolen in a foreign country.
Flinders Street Station, Malbourne, Autsralia
The Australia travel blog Our Oyster recently tested the Clever Travel Companion's gear and posted a really ncie review with great photos. And they are running a giveaway so sign up for two Clever Travel Companion giftcards before it's too late!
Calling all travelers!
I hope spring time find you well and that you have excellent travel plans in the pipeline!
We are currently offering a selection of products on sale!
A selection of mens
(blue, burgundy, striped) and ladies
(pink, purple, striped) underwear with pockets are now 17.90 in place of 24.90!
The sale is for a limited time only or until supplies run out! So hurry, hurry!
Stay safe everyone!
Clever Travel Companion
Check out our sister store: www.safees.com
and use code 'SPRINGCTC' for 20% off all orders!
Safety is just as much about visibility in traffic about protecting your valuables....and even more so if you are raveling to countries with badly regulated traffic.