iPatrol Travel Advice

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Bag Snatching / Bag Slitting

In some countries there is a problem of bag snatching or slitting. This type of theft typically happens by seizing, grabbing or slitting bag straps suddenly and running away.

Another method the thieves might use is snatching your bag while on motorbike. Thieves  drive past and pull your bag off you. Such bag snatching usually happens late at night though, might also occur during the day in popular tourist areas. To avoid being robbed by a biker hold your bag tightly and close to your body and try to walk in the middle of the sidewalk rather than close to the traffic area.

Additionally, if you are riding a bicycle, make sure your bag is properly secured in the bicycle basket.

In general, when you plan walking in a crowded tourist area don’t wear expensive jewellery, stick to casual, comfortable clothes. Don’t take valuable things with you and keep your bag as close to you as possible. You might want to leave the credit cards and your passport in the safe-box, in your hotel room.  Also consider buying travel insurance.

Taxi – Overcharging

Some taxi drivers might try and charge you a very high price for their service relying on your lack of knowledge of local pricing.  In order to avoid being overcharged, find out the official taxi prices in advance and stick to official taxi companies.

Getting a general sense of price range and practices  in a foreign country is the best way to prevent being overcharged. In some places, it’s assumed that you’ll bargain down high prices, in others, you will just have to walk away or pay up, although you should still challenge the amount in case when a service is clearly overpriced.

Same applies to Tuk Tuk, Rickshaw, Pedicab services.

  • Tuk Tuk – is usually a three-wheeled cabin cycle that is often used as a vehicle for hire. Also called an auto-rickshaw, mototaxi and bajaj.
  • Rickshaw – is a two-wheeled passenger cart pulled by a human runner.
  • Pedicab – is a cycle based rickshaw.

Pickpockets in Crowded Areas

Pickpockets are thieves who steal items (more often wallets or personal documents, though sometimes they might make an attempt to steal other valuables) from people’s clothing and bags as they walk in a public place.

In order to steal from you most pickpockets use various elements of distraction, such as:

  • someone passes by you and “accidentally” drops money;
  • some people walking near by you suddenly begin a loud argument or a fight with each other;
  • some conmen put “beware of pickpockets” sign so the people who see it would automatically reach for their wallet to make sure it is still there. The pickpockets then see where the individuals keep their wallets and know what pocket to target.
  • a child on the street flashes something in your face;
  • a prostitute offers her services and often keeps touching you;
  • a drunk, unwashed person grabs your arm and tries to talk to you;
  • a man “tackles” you asking if you play football, etc.

To avoid pickpocketing use common sense and try to stay vigilant when someone erritates or distracts you.

For example, children don’t usually  approach strangers unless trained to do so by adults. Fights and arguments are best avoided anywhere.
Also, a person who finds or drops money on the street wouldn’t normally feel the need to offer his findings to strangers.

Pickpockets are not always subtle. Sometimes they use an element of physical force. For example, pickpockets might walk straight at and barge past the person they are stealing from and use physical contact as a distraction to take a purse or similar valuable item.

Also, pickpockets like to seduce you with magic tricks and get close to you this way. If a street magician, or a random stranger, comes up to you and asks if you want to see a trick, just say, “No, thank you” and keep walking. The only trick there will be is making your valuables disappear.

Pickpocketing in Public Transport

Pickpockets are thieves who steal items (often wallets or passports but sometimes other valuables) from people’s clothing and bags as they walk in a public place.

Beware of anybody trying to block your way  when you are entering a bus or train, especially when it happens despite the plenty of spare space inside the coach.  Most probably it is a pickpocket and he is trying to distract you.

Additionally, when you are using public transport beware of swindlers who “accidentally” drop something in front of you and then bend down to pick it up. While the conman is diverting your attention, his accomplice will try to reach for your wallet.

Another common pickpocketing tactics:  a person suddenly starts to behave ”weird”, tries to push or grab you. Most likely it is just another way to confuse and intimidate you. While one scammer is distracting you this way, his companion is digging your pockets.