Tourist pickpocket warning as travellers told when to ‘be careful’

On Reddit, a tourist said they had been the victim of a pickpocket in the southern Italian city of Naples. They said the thief tried to take their phone.

The person wrote: “I felt someone close to me and as I turned around, he walked away quickly, that’s when I realised he took my phone out of my pocket.

“I was not in a pleasant mood, it was hot and I had my luggage going through the crowd. I screamed at him and chased him around some tables before he turned around and gave it back to me.”

Although it worked in this case, it’s not usually advised to chase down a pickpocket, as they could be carrying a weapon.

Sometimes there’s nothing tourists can do to avoid a thief, but one person shared a few tips to protect belongings.

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They said they were Italian and found pickpocketing to be pretty common in the country’s major cities.

They said: “Always use front pockets, or inside ones are even better, for valuables like phones and wallets. Use rear pockets just for tissues or other worthless stuff.”

Travellers will be much more aware of their front pockets so they may be less likely to be pickpocketed.

Rear pockets are usually easier for pickpockets to target as travellers won’t be able to see what they’re doing.

The traveller added: “Be mindful of your surroundings and be careful when someone approaches you out of the blue and starts asking questions, as these petty thieves act in a group. One distracts while the other steals.”

Tourists should be wary if someone approaches them and appears as though they’re trying to distract them.

Pickpockets sometimes operate in a pack and one person may steal while the other creates a distraction.

The ‘bird poo’ scam is a common trick to watch out for. One person will spray a white liquid on the tourist.

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The liquid looks like bird poo and the tourist will think a bird has hit them. One of the scammers will then offer to help the tourist wipe it off.

While they pretend to help the tourist, they will then take items from the person’s pockets and escape.

The traveller added: “When using the metro, place your backpack on your legs if you’re seated.

“Otherwise if you’re standing, it’s better to just wear it on your front instead of on your back as usual.”

It’s best not to put your backpack on the floor of the train as this may make it easier for a thief to snatch it.

If tourists are the victim of a pickpocket, they should contact the police or ask their accommodation provider for help.

It’s a good idea to leave important valuables, such as passports, in the hotel safe and not take them into the city.

If a phone or cards are stolen, tourists should cancel them straight away to prevent the thief accessing personal information or money.

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