Street vendors are commendable for making an honest living. Rain or shine, you’ll see them peddling their goods so they could take home a day’s pay. This is why almost everyone wants to help them out by buying from them, whether it’s food, trinkets, or flowers.
This is an opportunity seen by pickpockets everywhere. They capitalize on trust and compassion, and exploit them for a few hundred dollars. Sadly, most pickpockets will pose as street vendors to get close to you.
A lot of our friends who have traveled to places around the world have met a vendor who wouldn’t take no for an answer. One couple we knew was walking down the street and a man approached them. He started shoving some flowers in their faces. The only way to make him stop was to buy the flowers. Afterwards, they discovered that one of their phones was missing. This technique is the “flower excuse.”
Another friend went to a country in Asia and met a monk who wanted to sell him a piece of paper that contained an ancient chant and a Buddhist’s bracelet. The monk followed him under the scorching sun until he relented. It would make for a unique souvenir after all. When he got to a restaurant, he couldn’t find his phone anywhere. Pickpocket proof gear — such as tank tops and dresses with secret zipper pockets—helps take care of this problem by letting you conceal your valuables.
So how can you then spot a fake street vendor who could be posing as a pickpocket?
Since it seems that this type of pickpocket can’t be easily avoided, you would have to take precautionary measures to avoid losing your valuables. Here are some tips to help you against this scam:
We, at The Clever Travel Companion, often receive horror stories in emails. As much as possible, we like to keep the public informed about the different tactics used by pickpockets and how you can avoid them. You can check our other articles to keep yourself informed.