How it works:
- Version 1: they work in a gang – one onlooker, one blocks, pushes, distracts, or engages you, one grabs and the final hides the loot under a cover (e.g. jacket/newspaper) and escapes.
- Version 2: a group surrounds you, one of them takes your hand, pulls you to him and shakes your leg. This is to distract you while his accomplices pick your pockets.
- Version 3: at long queues such as at Anne Frank Museum, someone asks you a few questions to distract you for his accomplice to strike.
- Version 4: bird poo scam.
- Note: watch out for child pickpockets as those under the age of 12 cannot be prosecuted.
Places to beware:
- Alkmaar: Cheese Market
- Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, The Jordaan, Vondelpark, Museum Ons’Lieve Heer Op Solder, Royal Palace Amsterdam, Centraal Station, Dam Square, GVB, Leiden Square (Leidseplein), Museum Quarter, Red Light District, Madame Tussauds Amsterdam, Johan Cruyff Arena, Albert Cuyp Market, De Duif, EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Noordermarkt, Sexmuseum Amsterdam Venustempel, Blumenmarkt, Damrak, Kalverstraat, National Monument
- Festivals: King’s Day Celebrations
- Groningen: Vismarkt
- Haarlem: Keukenhof
- Maastricht: Market Square
- Rotterdam: Markthal, Rotterdam Centraal Station
- Utrecht: Dom Tower, Canals area
What to do:
- Passport: carry a photocopy instead of the actual one.
- Valuables: wallet in front pocket, small valuables in a money belt/hidden pouch, large valuables in an anti-theft bag.
- Travel insurance: get a good one that covers theft (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – review).