Beware of Pickpockets

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The holiday shopping season seems to start earlier and earlier every year, and with that so do the pickpockets.

On a typical day in Chicago the streets are filled with hundreds of shoppers, tourists and business people who can be seen talking on a cell phone, texting, taking pictures or wearing earphones as they listen to music on their electronic devices; everything except focused on their surroundings. These distractions, together with larger crowds, make you a perfect target for a pickpocket or
a scam artist.

By following a few basic and common-sense rules, you can ensure that your holiday shopping experience doesn’t get ruined by a pickpocket.

Look at your surroundings; if you are on a crowded train, bus, or walking in a busy area, focus on where you are going as pickpockets are looking for people who are distracted. Tip: Keep an eye on your wallet. If you carry a purse make sure it is closed tight and in front of you, not behind you as that makes it an easy target for a pickpocket.

Do not carry your checkbook or more credit cards than you will use during that shopping trip. If your wallet is lost or stolen, this will limit the damage. Tip: Make a copy of the front and back of all credit cards, and put the list in a safe place at home.

Do not carry large amounts of cash. Even if you are committed to paying for purchases with cash, be aware that pickpockets take advantage of crowded areas and distracted people. Tip: Make frequent trips to the ATM to replenish your stash of cash.

Place wallets and other valuables in a front pants pocket. If this is not feasible, choose a pocket that has a button or zippered closure. Tip: Carry a smaller wallet when shopping.

Women should not carry their wallet inside a purse. Wallets should be small enough to conceal under a sweater or in an interior pocket. Tip: If you do carry your wallet in a purse choose one that has a good closure.
Never leave your purse unattended, even for a moment. Tip: Always have your purse on your person, even in a restaurant.

Remember, pay attention to what’s going on around you and use common sense about how you carry your wallet.

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC ( handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 346-8780 and

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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