Pickpockets are everywhere—even in restaurants. Since most people aren’t aware that shady individuals can cook up all kinds of schemes in these places, thieves are often very successful when they strike.
But don’t beat yourself up if you’ve let your guard down once, and lost your wallet as a result. After all, a restaurant is supposed to be a place where you can enjoy your food and the company of friends or family. If you want to keep it that way, you ought to learn a few things to protect your valuables while you’re having fun.
Here, you will learn the most common restaurant scams and how to avoid them.
3 Common Restaurant Pickpocket Schemes
1. The sly guest
Restaurants that host a ton of people are a popular hunting ground for pickpockets. You won’t see them coming since they will be dinner guests like you. If you hang your coat on your chair, you’ll draw their attention. Once they see you distracted, they slip their hand into your coat pocket and steal the contents.
If there’s a communal coat rack, pickpockets won’t waste the chance to raid it and check if anyone’s left valuables behind.
2. The peddler
Strangers may come up to your table, especially when you’re sitting outside of the restaurant itself. A potential pickpocket often pretends to be a peddler of some sort. They use props like flyers and magazines which they will shamelessly promote. Once they have your attention, they will carefully place their prop right on top of your wallet or cellphone. When they’re done, they’ll have taken their prop along with your valuables.
3. The mob
Sometimes, a group of people will all enter the restaurant together. However, they won’t sit at the same table. They scatter around the establishment. While some will pretend to be on their phone, others will appear to be immersed in conversation. They may appear like average customers, but they are all part of the scam. As soon as they are seated, they’re searching for a victim.
How to Prevent Restaurant Scams
1. Don’t leave your valuables unattended
Avoid stashing your valuables in your coat pocket. To be safe, place your wallet and smartphone around the center of the table. Don’t leave it close to the edge, where strangers can pick them up without you noticing.
2. Anchor your purse
Restaurant tables usually have hooks underneath them, where guests can hang their bags. If the establishment doesn’t have any, loop the straps around the chair and keep your bags tucked between you and your companion.
3. Use anti-theft gear
If you want to be sure pickpockets can’t get to your valuables, you use anti-theft gear. You have a variety of options that includes theft-proof scarves, RFID blocking wallets, and anti-pickpocket clothes.
You don’t need to stop going to your favorite restaurants to avoid petty thieves. All you have to do is come prepared. The best way to do that is to use pickpocket-proof gear like Clever Travel Companion’s anti-theft shirts, hoodies, and pants.