What To Do If You Get Pickpocketed While Traveling

Nobody plans on getting pickpocketed. Most people take measures to avoid it all together; yet sometimes, no matter how many safety steps you take, it happens. Panic is a natural reaction — your most important documents, cash, debit/credit cards, and any other valuable personal belongings are missing. You know you'll need your passport to leave the country, and you'll obviously need cash to pay for food, souvenirs, and accommodations. What do you do when your most essential items are stolen from you?

Pickpocketing has been around for a long time, so there are several helpful steps to take if it happens to you. The first one, before calling anyone or going anywhere, is to remain calm. Your vacation isn't necessarily ruined, and you do have options, even if it doesn't feel like it in the moment. Once you're able to ground yourself and think a little clearer, you can begin taking measures necessary to protect your money and get your documents in order.

Immediate steps to take

After you realize that your belongings are gone and do whatever's necessary to calm down, you can scan the area for the nearby trash can. If you're hoping to at least get your empty wallet or purse back, you might find it inside a garbage bin. Oftentimes, pickpockets only want the cash and cards and discard the rest. Next, you'll want to immediately file a police report. This is crucial, especially because it impacts how your insurance and credit card companies will respond, as well as your ability to access temporary travel documents. Plus, there is a slim chance the police could locate your missing items.

After you filed your police report, you can call your bank and credit card companies and inform them of your misfortune. They'll be able to block your card from being used for any purchases. If it's too late and the pickpocket already used your card, they can tell you how to file a dispute.

Next, visit your country's embassy or consulate to get temporary travel documents. This will enable you to leave the country you're in and return to your home country. Once you've taken these steps, figure out what you're able to do for the remainder of your trip. You can still salvage your vacation and make it enjoyable.

Preventative measures

Whether you're on a trip and want to amp up your safety or you're planning for a trip and want to protect yourself against pickpockets, you can benefit from looking inside your wallet and memorizing what you have on you. You can then take photos of your IDs and cards. This way, if you get pickpocketed, you have some form of identification, even if it isn't the hard copy. Next, you can upload the photos to the cloud, like Google Drive or DropBox. In the case of your phone getting stolen, you could always log in to these accounts on another device and have access to the photos of your IDs.

Another anti-pickpocket tip is to invest in anti-theft products. You can find various options ranging from clothes with secret pockets, to money belts, to anti-theft bags. Purchasing one of these options can help you feel more secure and decrease the odds of being pickpocketed.