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Best Pickpocket Techniques for Beginners

The only way to outsmart a petty thief is to know the various pickpocket techniques for beginners they’d likely use on you. If you’d want to be a con man, then you should start by knowing the beginners’ tricks as would be mentioned in this publication.

You will find pickpockets everywhere—in parks, restaurants, malls, or any crowdy place. Thus, when in a congested area, there’s a chance that pickpockets are scanning around for marks or targets.

As a pickpocket, you’re interested in the loss of focus of a mark. It’s tougher to pickpocket someone conscious of their environment, so a distraction needs to be created. The little intense moment of focus lost by the mark is the right time to snag a phone, jewelry, or whatever valuable is in sight.

pickpocket techniques for beginners

Pickpocket techniques for beginners

Having known that pickpockets primarily rely on distraction, what are the various common pickpocket techniques for beginners?

1. The sly guest

The actor (pickpocket) will pretend to be any other person in the crowd. They’d just go around, typically well-dressed and less concerned about their surrounding. But, a pickpocket needs to be on the lookout for easy-pick valuables from pockets and bags.

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Depending on what goes on at that particular time, a pickpocket needs to think of a way to distract the mark. It could be by bumping into them or insignificantly pointing at something with a surprising facial expression (without looking at the mark) who get distracted. The little unconscious period the mark provides is when to slip the hand into your coat pocket and reach for the contents.

2. Bag slash

As the name implies, this pickpocket technique for beginners involves slashing the bag. A pickpocket needs to be sure of valuables in the bag before going for it.

In many cases, the mark is noted coming out of a store (having purchased items like a wristwatch or other jewelry). The next step is to get closer to the mark and slash open the bag.

Multiple accomplices are required for this method to work. The job of the other accomplices is to block the view of other pedestrians.


A bag with metal wire will foil the attempts from pickpockets to steal from it. The metal needs to be hard enough against a sharp knife.

Read also: You can outsmart a metal detector!

3. Quick metro turnstiles

Usually, at the turnstiles, you’d notice some sort of rush hour. Behind this are pickpockets seizing the opportunity to snag any visible valuable.

An ordinary person will think they’re rushing to get a free ride, but the truth is that they are charging after a wallet.


During rushed periods like this, a pickpocket will find it harder to steal from people holding tight to that valuables. If possible, ensure as much distance as possible from other people.

4. Fake peddler

A pickpocket can fake being a peddler. When the pickpocket edges closer to the mark, they snag the valuable and get away with it. They could be peddling stuff like magazines or flyers, which only serve as a cover for the primary intention.

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Whatever is stolen usually goes into the stuff they pretend to peddle. If an accomplice is involved, their work is to take any suspicious eyes away from the mark, giving the peddling pickpocket room to steal.

5. The crowding mob

In this pickpocket technique, beginners involved will be at least 3. One of them is singled out to pickpocket while the others will only distract.

Normally, a gang of thieves will gather at a specific busy spot, scattered around in search of a mark. Some will pretend to engage in conversion while others fake a phone call. The idea is to give people the impression that they do not know one another, when in fact they share the same objective.

When a mark is identified, typically someone careless about their valuables, the individuals will gather around the person while one person goes for the item. The gathering will look natural as if they do not know each other, and it helps to block the view of other people.

6. The fake helper

This beginner technique for pickpocketing works by pretending to offer help. So, a pickpocket offers to help a mark, only to size them up and look around for potential stuff to steal.

Sometimes, the pickpocket can put you in the position of a helper to distract you to snag your stuff. For instance, someone can knowingly drop an item in front of you, expecting you to pick it up for them (as they pretend not to see it). Once you try to pick it up for them, you’re distracted and your stuff is gone.

The person you assisted may even pretend to go after the thief for you, but you’ll not see them again.


As a tourist or a local, don’t be in a hurry to assist or accept help from someone over something you can do yourself.

7. Bird poop technique

It’s no news that birds poop on humans, just like this man who got pooed on by a pigeon while complaining about pigeon poo. A pickpocket can leverage this act to distract and steal your stuff. In some cases, the bad guy can drop the poop on you, just to distract you and steal. You’d be looking at the person as an ideal good man, when in fact, they’re the opposite.


If you’re that folk the birds of the sky decide to recognize for the day, hold your valuables tightly when someone draws your attention. Keep a distance from them and be sure nobody is walking too close to you. The person won’t use their hand to wipe the poop, so there’s no need for them to get any closer to you.

8. The child bait

The lovely children you see around could actually be used as baits to distract you. In many cases, the child would have been taught how to reach your valuable without you knowing about it. And even if you caught the child, you would say “he/she is just a child” and let go.

If you don’t want to lose your stuff, just ask the kids to keep their distance. Offer to meet their demands if you can and keep going.


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