The Real Holiday Hustle – how tricksters target tourists

As millions of British tourists prepare for their holidays, the government has launched a campaign to highlight some of the clever tactics used by pickpockets and con artists to target holidaymakers.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has teamed up with stealth crime expert James Freedman to reveal the tricky techniques used by thieves to pilfer up to 20,000 British passports last year.

If the worst does happen, you’re probably going to have to report the theft to the police, and then spend time at the local consulate or embassy being issued with an emergency travel document, so it’s worth taking steps to protect your passport.

James said: “Pickpockets and thieves constantly evolve their techniques and tactics.

“These videos show just a handful of ways that a pickpocket might attempt to steal from you, so remember some basic advice to stay safe.

“Only carry what you need and keep valuables in a secure pocket. If you have a bag or case, never let it out of your sight. Be more alert in crowds and wary of anyone getting too close.

“Finally, try not to advertise the location of prized possessions by patting your pockets or bags. That’s why you’ll often find pickpockets near the “Beware Pickpockets” sign!”

Here’s three top tips for keeping your passport safe:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and wary of strangers who take an interest in you
  • Lock your passport in a safe if you can. If you have to keep it with you, make sure it is hidden
  • Make a copy of your passport to use as ID, for example if going out at night, so you don’t have to carry the original

Published 31st July 2016

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