Nothing ruins an otherwise great day like reaching for your wallet, only to find an empty pocket. Not only are your cash, credit cards and ID gone - possibly into the hands of someone intent on causing even greater financial damage - but so is your sense of privacy and security.
Take it from me, getting a wallet stolen sucks. Big time. I've had one stolen from a gym locker (somebody went through and cut the locks with bolt cutters) and I've had another plucked right out of my pocket. But I've learned some new tips as a result of these experiences, and so far they've worked out really well.
Prevent Your Wallet From Getting Stolen - Rule #1: Think Like A ThiefThis might be hard for some of you (for those of you who find this easy... I won't ask). Put yourself in the mindset of someone looking to snatch a wallet. What would you look for? Chances are, you'd target the path of least resistance, right? You'd want the lowest risk, highest probability opportunity available. Guess what, even the best street thieves think the same way. Sure they could probably pick pocket an armed Secret Service guard without them knowing, but wouldn't it make much more sense to grab the billfold that's already halfway hanging out of the guy's pocket who fell asleep on a park bench?
Now that you're in this mindset, take a few minutes to make your wallet as hard to steal as possible. Think to yourself, "How would I make this hard for myself, if I was trying to steal my own wallet?"
While you're mulling that over, consider some of these tips that have worked really well for me so far:
Keep Your Wallet In Your Front PocketIt's much harder for a pick pocket to get a hand in a front pocket than a back pocket - at least without you noticing. All a good thief needs to steel from your back end is a slight bump as a distraction. That's because we don't have as many sensory cells working for us back there. We can't see out of our butts, obviously (thought that does open up a few politician jokes, but I won't go there), and our touch receptor nerves are spread very thin, making it difficult to differentiate touch.
On the other hand, if someone tries jamming a hand down the front of your pants, he or she is entering a world full of nerves, not to mention your sight range.
Add to that the difficulty in removing something from the front pocket versus the back pocket, and most common street thieves will simply move on to an easier target.
Put A Rubber Band Around Your WalletPick Pockets love a wallet that slides out easily, what's that say for those of us who use leather wallets?
Here's a great trick: Wrap a rubber band around your wallet, especially when you've got it in your pocket.
That little rubber band will create enough friction as it comes out of your pocket to either warn you that someone's ripping you off, or cause the more seasoned thief to abandon his efforts instantly and move on to someone else.
Don't Leave Your Wallet In A Locker RoomI had to learn this one the hard way. Even the most secure lockers are easily opened by savvy criminals, so it's best not to have anything valuable in them at all. When possible, find a good spot in your car to stash your wallet while you run to the gym - just make sure to stash it there before you get to the parking lot, otherwise somebody could literally be watching you do this while you're parking.
It that doesn't work, you could always take your wallet with you while your exercise. Sure it's not ideal, but it beats the alternative.
What I do is leave my wallet at home, and only bring my drivers license. My gym doesn't require a physical gym pass (I have a member number), but if yours does, you can bring that, too. Then you've only got to worry about a thin little plastic card that's easy to tuck in a sock or gym shorts pocket.
Don't Let Your Wallet Get "Fat"It's easy to start cramming things in our wallets. From credit cards to punch cards, those little things start adding up pretty quick, and before you know it you've got a bulging billfold that barely even closes. But remember this: The bigger your wallet, the easier it is for a thief to spot. If you're sporting something roughly the size of a softball in your back pocket, it's going to stick out like a bat signal to a seasoned pick pocket. He or she won't have to guess what pocket to target, and the sheer size of it is a giveaway that you might have a decent chunk of cash.
And if you take away the guesswork, you're only making it easier for something bad to happen.
Don't take the chance. Keep your wallet thin. If necessary, carry your punch cards, membership cards and gift cards in another container.
Stay AlertMore than anything, a professional thief isn't going to target someone who is obviously paying close attention to his or her surroundings, especially when surrounded by much easier targets. If you keep your head up, walk with confidence and constantly scan left-to-right while you're walking, it'll make a pick pocket's job much more difficult. And make it a habit to brush your "wallet pocket" with your hand from time to time.
The harder the job, the less likely they'll carry through with any plans to nab your cash.