How to attract scammers and pickpockets as a tourist

pickpockets-metroMany people have been scammed or robbed during their holidays, or at least know someone whom this has befallen. If you’re not yet among those, here are 10 tips to make it more likely that you attract those with all the wrong intentions.

  1. Make sure you look like a tourist and behave like one.
  2. Wander seemingly aimless through the city and appear to be lost. Increase your odds by carrying a large city map in front of you and to consult it regularly while walking in different directions.
  3. Reading the Lonely Planet guide in public is another great way to alert swindlers and pickpockets of your naivety and helplessness. Always pay attention when you’re getting unasked-for but well-meant advice from a helpful local and don’t worry for even a moment about his shady friend behind you.
  4. Always carry more stuff than you really need, preferably in a large backpack. Extra points for leaving the zipper open, even partially. This makes it easier for thugs to see what you have on offer and how to get it. Some aren’t very smart, so you shouldn’t make it too hard for them. Carrying your camera around your neck and in front of your stomach works almost as well.
  5. pickpockets-warning-signKeep your valuables, money and credit card all in one pouch, preferably one that you can hang around your neck or a belt bag. It really helps if you exchange all your cash into local currency on the first day and keeping a stash of large denomination bills visibly in your wallet. Score extra points when some of it sticks out from the top. To pickpockets and scammers, that works like honey to bees.
  6. Wear expensive clothes and a big shiny watch, or at least dress pretending to be wealthy. Especially large well-known logos of high-end brands on your shirt let even the simplest of minds know you’re eager to spend money on stuff you don’t really need. On the other end of the scale: walking boots in the middle of the city are also successful in making you look like a tourist, especially when you wear them under a pair of shorts.
  7. Leave your friends behind and roam the streets all by yourself, preferably by night, which is the best time to make new friends. The darkness and the absence of witnesses are your best companions.
  8. Don’t go out in groups of more than two people and stay away from crowded areas where there’s more competition from other tourists, making it hard for you to stand out from the crowd.
  9. Since you’re not driving, you can go loose on all the local cocktails and drinks. There’s nothing wrong with strolling through the streets all sloshed and sozzled. It makes you weaker, slows your responses, kills the last remaining bits of your alertness and helps you lose control of your body, which is a feast for predators looking to rob you.
  10. Finally, leave your right mind at home. Forget all the warnings from relatives and friends, don’t learn from the mistakes of others and be particularly off guard when you’re in one of the cities known for their pickpockets. We will guarantee that in no time you’ll belong to the happy club of travelers without money or even a wallet.


If you don’t want to get pickpocketed or robbed, than follow these 10 tips to keep pickpockets away.

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