(CBS) - Don't go holiday shopping without tips from the Pickpocket King, Bob Arno.
There is a whole new generation of thieves out there just waiting to snatch your watch, wallet, purse, smartphone or tablet and drain your accounts.
Bob Arno is the "King of Pickpockets" and he has the latest tips on how to protect your valuables from sticky fingered thieves, especially during the crowded holiday season!
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Skimmers and Scammers: Think twice before you insert your credit card. That machine could be set to hijack your vital info!
It can happen anywhere: a crowded sidewalk, a busy shopping mall, an airport terminal…clever crooks use the latest techniques to snatch your wallet, pocketbook and even your mobile phone to get valuable information to steal your identity and drain your bank account.
Get Informed: "If you don't know the area you're going to; ask someone, like a hotel clerk, about coming home late at night alone or with your wife. Call a cab if you don't know how to get back to your hotel."
Leave the Rolex at home: "If you're going to the market place, like the Ramblas in Barcelona or the Quartieri Espagnoli in Naples, leave the Rolex at home. In fact its always a good idea to leave it at home. Thieves notice them. To believe you can wear one because there are so many fakes around is to give yourself a false sense of security. The thief doesn't know it's a fake when he's going for it and these aren't brain surgeons, they won't know until they try to fence it. Today's fakes are so good you have to be a jeweler to tell the difference."
Don't put cash in your front pocket: "It's so terribly easy to take cash from a front pocket you wouldn't believe it, especially in public transportation." While usually the territory of the adept, the fabled two fingered grab is wide spread and very effective.
Never put your purse down: There is an old French proverb which goes: "Ne pauser pas votre sac parterre, ca fait couler l'argent." ("Don't put your purse on the ground, the money will leak out.") but Arno is less romantic: "Leaving your purse anywhere, on the back of your chair in a restaurant, on the floor of a disco, or beneath the seat at the theater or Opera is a really good way of paying your Stupidity Tax. 90% of all streets type thefts are from women, and most of those from their purses."
Forget fancy and organized: "Pickpockets love money clips. They keep the cash so organized. Slim tall wallets are also favorites, especially the ones that stick up about a centimeter out of the back pocket and have nice sharp corners to grab. A short, fat wallet stuffed into a back pocket may be more visible, but it's almost impossible to steal without the person becoming aware of it."
Cover yourself - literally: "Keep your hand over your cash or wallet when you're in a crowd. If you have a button on your pocket, button it, if your pockets have flaps, close them. Anything to slow down the pickpocket. If your purse has a flap or a closing strap, close it. Never put cash, identity documents credit cards or other valuables in a back-pack, they're too easy to steal from." Besides the obvious stupid-looking factor.
Walk with determination: "A person who looks like they know where they're going, walks quickly, and is attentive to their surroundings will be avoided by pickpockets like the plague."
Carry some money you can afford to lose: "If you're in unfamiliar surroundings, it's always a good idea to have a small wallet with say, € 10.00 in it. If you're mugged, throw it on the sidewalk away from you and run. The thieves will go for the money and chances are they won't run after you."