The areas where pickpockets ‘usually operate’

CCTV catches pickpockets hugging their victims in the street

Pickpockets often target tourists as they may be carrying more valuables or be less aware of their surroundings.

One TikTok user ‘cittadininondistratti2’ has recently gone viral for her videos calling out pickpockets.

But while the social media user often easily seems to spot pickpockets, tourists often find it far more difficult.

Kevin Mountford, co-founder of Raisin UK, said: “With tourist hotspots inevitably comes pickpockets, who take advantage of crowded areas.

“Whilst many of us may think we know the key characteristics of a pickpocket and what they may look like, due to the crowded spaces and their new techniques, many of us would struggle to spot them.”

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Rome is one of Europe’s worst hotspots for pickpocketing with tourists targeted at popular attractions such as the city’s Trevi Fountain.

Pickpockets may look for tourists who are taking photos as they are distracted and less aware of what’s going on.

Kevin added: “Pickpockets will usually operate in shops, at tourist attractions and even on public transport when people are most likely to be standing still, distracted and paying less attention to their belongings.

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‌“They also don’t operate alone, they may work in teams to distract a target and even have others to provide support.

“Thieves vary their tactics based on how crowded the area is, and are ultimately very skilled at what they do. They know all of the tricks and often go undetected until it is too late.”

So what can tourists do to avoid pickpockets? According to Kevin, having a travel card that’s separate from their main account is a good idea.

If a tourist’s travel card is stolen they should be able to cancel it or freeze it without worrying about their main bank balance.

He added: “It’s vital you keep purses and bags closed and secure at all times, carrying bags in front of you or diagonally across your chest.

“Chest bags are a great holiday accessory! Make sure to keep cards zipped up or in difficult to access places, and do keep an emergency list separate from your wallet and phone so you can contact your emergency contacts if needed.”

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