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These tips on how to avoid becoming the victim of a con artist or pickpocket are provided by the New York City Police Department's Special Frauds Squad.

  • Use handbags that have a zipper and locking flap and carry them securely with the flap side close to your body.

  • Carry wallets inside your coat or side trouser pockets, never in your back pants pocket.

  • Beware of loud arguments or commotions in crowded areas. Thieves working together may stage these incidents to distract you while your pocket is picked.

  • Be aware that a pickpocket may bump or crowd you on public transportation.

  • If your pocket is picked, call out immediately to warn the driver or conductor. Alert everyone that there's a pickpocket on board, and don't be afraid to shout.

  • Avoid crowding in the area of the bus or subway car doors when entering or exiting.

  • Be on guard if a stranger directs your attention to a substance or stain on your clothes.

  • Be on guard while doing your banking at an automatic teller machine.

  • Be suspicious if you are approached by a stranger who claims to have just found an envelope full of money or tells you he has a winning lottery ticket with him. This could be the first step in a confidence crime, with you as the victim. Never discuss your personal finances with strangers, and don't draw money out of the bank at a stranger's suggestion in order to build trust in such a situation.