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Just The Facts : Stop Thief!

October 02, 1994

Pickpockets are using a number of ruses to distract travelers in airports, train stations, hotel lobbies and elevators. Here are some current favorites:

* The Dangerous Drunk--A seemingly inebriated tippler staggers into a crowd and starts to fall. As passers-by jump to his aid, the "drunk"--or an accomplice--picks pockets and purses.

* The Fake Fight--A "fight" breaks out, and while you watch, an accomplice lifts your wallet or your baggage. Fake "accidents" also have been reported.

* The Coin Con--Bad guy No. 1 "spills" a large amount of change and as the traveler puts down his luggage to help pick it up, Bad Guy No. 2 snatches the suitcase.

* The Spiller--Bad guy No. 1 "spills" coffee, ketchup, mustard, hot chocolate or anything that is messy all over you. Then, as he or she apologizes and helps you clean up the mess (and possibly picks your pockets), Bad Guy No. 2 makes off with your untended valuables.

* The Bumper--Someone bumps into you and a "helpful passerby" steadies you--and cleans out your valuables.

The Defense * Don't take more luggage than you can comfortably carry and don't accept help carrying it.

* Don't set your belongings down.

* Be wary of all distractions.

* Consider wearing a money belt or carrying your valuables in a bag around your neck and under your clothes.

Source: Savvy Business Traveler

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