Pickpockets are not just masters of sleight of hand, they’re also very good psychologists. In fact, some of them have become such professionals in their area of expertise that they even get invited to different research projects that are studying human consciousness.
Below you’ll find the common psychological ploys that pickpockets love to use, in order to make you aware of them so you can make sure you never fall victim to their tricks.
One pickpocket “accidentally” bumps into their mark, while another one “coincidentally” walking by at the same time takes the wallet from the victim’s purse or pocket. Sometimes the two criminals act like they are fighting in public to distract someone and make them lose focus.
2. Headphones Trick
People with headphones in their ears are easy targets as they’re already distracted by their music. This makes it easier for thieves to steal their cellphones. The thief walks up to the victim, carefully takes the phone out their pocket and unplugs the headphones. The victim will blame the headphones at first, and it will take them a minute or two to work out what has happened. However, by then it is too late as the phone is long gone.
3. Bold Subway Frauds
• During rush hour, if you’re the last person to get into the subway car and you’re standing near the doors, hold onto your stuff tightly. Pickpockets love to run to the subway doors a second before they close and grab things from peoples’ hands. Before you realize what has taken place, the doors will be shut.
• If someone happens to intrude on your personal space and maybe even bumps into you, never turn your back on them. That’s the whole point: you’ll be facing away from them, and your bag will be on full display.
• If you hang your coat on the chair, you’re just asking for dishonest people to rob you. All they need is a distraction. For example, they might start a small fight at the next table, and while you’re enjoying the show, their accomplice will snatch your items.
• If you see a group of people that are obviously together but are spread out, talking on their phones, you can be certain that they’re trying to locate a victim.
5. Map Trick
There are thieves in tourist crowds who pretend to be tourists themselves. They will show you a map and ask for your help in directing them somewhere. While you are trying to help, another fake tourist will be going through your bag or pocket. You should always be suspicious if they’re trying to get the map as close to your face as possible.
6. Spilling Method
This trick is mostly played out near ATMs. A pickpocket spills a drink or drops some ice cream on a person who has just withdrawn some cash. The thief heartily apologizes, helps to clean up the clothes, and clears out the victim’s pockets.
7. Flower Excuse
Have you ever had a homeless person try to sell you a flower for a very cheap price? Next time you do, don’t buy it, even if they beg, as they’re simply trying to distract you so that they can clean out your pockets.
From time to time you’ll come across those “selfless” people who are trying to get others to sign petitions or raise funds for a good cause. While you’re reading the brochure or signing up, one of these kind strangers will try to steal your stuff.
9. Porter Service
This ploy is usually tried on older or disabled people. A thief offers to carry heavy bags to a room, takes them, and runs up the stairs so that they have time to check them for any valuables.
10. Grocery Store Trap
If you’re the kind of person that likes to place your purse in the shopping cart, you can fall victim to this very simple trick. The thief will timidly ask for your help while trying to reach a certain product, and while you’re trying to help, they’ll nab your purse.