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Fake wallet?

I have a friend who travels for his job and he told me that when he goes to Europe he carries a fake wallet in his back pocket so if he is ever confronted with a criminal he would just hand it over, he actually did use it once in Italy, have any of you ever considered this, at least they wouldn't get your credit cards, I think I'm getting paranoid in my old age!!! (64)

Posted by Ilja
4284 posts

And put some worthless money into it which are no more valid like old Polish Zloty or old Czechoslovakian crown or Yugoslavian dinar, Deutschmark, gulden, etc. But in some cities like Rome or Barcelona you would need more fake wallets.

Posted by Chriss
carlisle, pa., usa
204 posts

Just do what RS suggested, Put a note in the fake wallet that says, Hey! get a real job!!

Posted by Kathy
United States
8242 posts

Donald, you know those plastic "Your name here" credit cards that come in junk mail from credit companies? I've stuck one in my back pocket a couple of times just to see what would happen. Never been lifted.

But no, I wouldn't recommend the fake and you're very, very unlikely to be mugged in Italy.

Posted by stan
The Heartland USA
3263 posts

I know people who do that here in the US. More places here where it would be a good idea.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
18344 posts

I think it is a really stupid idea. Fun to joke about but do you really want to draw the attention of a pickpocket. First, no one has ever posted here or elsewhere about being mugged in Europe. That happens in the US and you better hand over something of value because they are probably going to check in and they are armed. The pickpockets in Europe are sneaky. They prefer to get your wallet without you knowing it. And pickpockets are not random. If you are a target you will have tipped them off someway as to your valuables. So if you don't have any valuables in your pockets they are not going to bother you. I don't carry a billfold. Most of my shirts and pockets have a couple of secured pockets - zippers, valcro, etc. In one pocket is a money clip with daily spending money. In another pocket will be a single credit card. Everything else is in the money safely tucked away so even I cannot get to it. In nearly a year worth of travel in Europe over the past 20 years, have never had a problem. But could always have a problem on the next trip but fairly unlikely.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
16910 posts

Although I won't be as harsh, I essentially agree with Frank that a fake wallet would only be effective for a mugging, and that is extremely unlikely in Europe. In Southern Europe, for instance, pickpocketing is the national pastime. Perhaps an old wallet, stuffed with newspapers, bulging out prominently in your back pocket might keep pickpockets from looking elsewhere, but the best protection is deep storage (money belt, neck wallet, or similar).

Posted by Jeff
Phoenix AZ
610 posts

I've thought about carrying a fake, but very life-like, venomous insect in my pocket. Might be good for an entertaining double-take, anyway.

Posted by tonfromleiden
the Netherlands
1962 posts

I don't understand this obsession with pickpockets and the like in Europe. The only time I was pickpocketed in my decennia of travelling was in Istanbul, and it failed. Put your valuables out of reach, have a sixth sense for your surroundings, and you would be very, very unlucky to be separated from your earthly possessions.
And as a precaution never have all your money and cards together. Cards belong at the hotel, only to be taken with you for drawing cash at an ATM or for a larger purchase.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
9953 posts

Good, as long as the fake wallet looks convincing enough to be taken, which is what you want. Pad it enough with tissue/play money so that it's an enticing object,,,come and take me! Include a message in English're molded, better still .."sucker"

Posted by Paul
Cedar, IA, USA
3833 posts

I could leave it at "No".

But really, violent or confrontational crime is the least of your worries, Don't worry, if you ask your friend, he also will tell you he has never had to hand it over.

Pickpockets are a different issue entirely, I never understood people trying to bait them with a fat fake wallet, better to spend your energy avoiding them or not giving them the opportunity. As for a preoccupation with pickpockets, I do take precautions in Europe, and to be honest many less precautions in the US. However, I do personally know two people who were picked in Europe and zero in the US. Also if I were a victim in the US, simple easy calls and some time would heal most wounds, in Europe my vacation may be ruined, so precautions are prudent.

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
2308 posts

About 10 years ago, when more teens were starting to carry cell phones, the schools were trying to prevent them from using them in school. (That ship has sailed!) Anyway, my son's friend had an old throw down phone to give to a teacher if he was caught. He got flustered once when he was asked for his phone, and he gave up his good one! I'd be afraid the same thing would happen if I were mugged. I'd hate to give up my good wallet and have one with Monopoly money in my back pocket.

Posted by Bets
Deep in the hills of southern Indiana
5584 posts

Yes, I saw a teen at 4 in the afternoon on a Saturday in the very busy Concord metro in Paris "horsing around" with other teens. Turns out the one was from a nice neighborhood inside Paris, whereas the others were tough kids from the housing projects in the suburbs jumping him. Afterwards he told me he had handed over a "spare" wallet that he carried just for this type of thing because this had happened to him before. The US version of this used to be joggers carrying enough money so the addicts robbing them wouldn't shoot or stab them.

Posted by Jane
Sapulpa, OK, USA
2419 posts

After the first (!) time we were pocket-picked in Europe, I learned to keep a hand on my cross-body bag, and my husband started carrying a fake wallet. Just an old cheapie that he wouldn't mind losing. He puts a couple of euro in it, and carries it in his hip pocket. It's not bait, but it's where he normally carries his wallet at home. It's more peace of mind, than anything, although he did lose one of his fakes once to a pickpocket.

Believe me, no matter how careful you are, your pocket can get picked. These people are good. But don't worry about being mugged. It truly almost never happens.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
2470 posts

As with Paul, I am aware of friends being pickpocketed in Europe the past several years and none in the U.S.

Posted by Roberto da Firenze
San Francisco Bay Area (USA)
10820 posts

Pickpocketing is the most common form of crime affecting tourists in Europe.

Nearly all people who get pickpocketed (visitors or locals alike) are pickpocketed on crowded public transportation (city buses and subway trains especially). Avoid those modes of crowded transportation (or be extremely vigilant and use precautions like money belts on them) and you will be fine. Sometimes investing in a taxi ride when walking is too far, is not a bad idea. Nobody will pickpocket you on a taxi.

Mugging at a gun (or knife) point is virtually non existent in Europe.

Regarding the observation that few have ever known people pickpocketed in the US but most know somebody who was pickpocketed in Europe is primarily because opportunities for pickpocketing are not available in abundance in America:
1. Unlike Europe, the use of public transportation, buses or subways, in America is rare, being limited basically to just New York City and a handful of more cities (like San Francisco or Boston). In the rest of America people use mostly cars (for both visiting and commuting).
2. Americans, when at home, carry very little cash in their wallets. That is not the case in Europe, where locals make much larger use of cash and where tourists carry both lots of cash and electronic/photo equipment.

In other words Pickpocketing in Europe presents more opportunities and is potentially much more lucrative than in America where that type of crime doesn't even pay much as a thief is likely to steal just a bunch of plastic.

Posted by Jean
Mill Creek, Washington
2281 posts

Bringing an extra wallet wouldn't be "packing light". And, if you were ever stopped by police and pulled out your fake wallet looking for your ID, you could look suspicious.

Posted by doric8
808 posts

I have no idea why.....but the idea of carrying around an extra wallet somehow makes me think of a bride with her real bouquet and a spare lesser bouquet to toss at the reception.......

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
29075 posts


A fake wallet sounds like a dumb idea to me, and absolutely not necessary. If you're worried about losing your credit cards and Passport, store in them in a Money Belt. Keep some daily operating cash in a cheap wallet or a secure inside pocket, and hopefully that will protect you from pickpockets. I'm about the same age as you, and that's the method I use.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
11613 posts

A fake wallet sounds like one plans to outsmart the pickpockets, who are professional trained and have had years of practice. Good luck with that. Or, consider why one would plan to invite crime? Just stash your cash. A friend of mine has an ankle wallet (cross-country runner).

Posted by Paul
Tuscaloosa, AL
972 posts

I have carried two wallets for a long time and it came in handy when I was mugged in Birmingham . . . but Birmingham, Alabama, not Birmingham, England. I agree with the other posts that identify pickpocketing as a possible concern when overseas instead of some kind of active robbery, such as a mugging. I carry two wallets so as to split up my cash and credit/debit cards; if I lose one, I still have another. In the mugging, all I carried was about eight dollars and no cards in the wallet I handed the drunk man holding a knife at my back. I now carry some actual credit cards in the wallet to give away, but I keep my main cards and ID in the other wallet. The idea of not putting all your valuables in one place makes sense to me when overseas. I break up the cash, cards, and ID and stash some in hidden zipper pockets. A pickpocket would't come away empty-handed, but he wouldn't get much from me.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
6130 posts

I think people who sit around devising plans of carrying fake wallets stuffed with fake credit cards and fake currency or silly notes really have "too much time on their hands".

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
6905 posts

The mind boggles that people would actually waste their time creating a false wallet, as well as the need to remember to put it in your back pocket before going out sightseeing. Just plain weird.

Posted by funpig
593 posts

I carry my passport, a camera with precious holiday photos, a tablet with a lot of necessary info, an expensive smartphone, a watch and possibly some jewelery, all of which are much more important to me. The wallet with maybe a hundred Euros and a replaceable credit card is the least of my worries.

If it was an armed robbery, I would be happy to toss them the wallet and some cash and hope that will satisfy the thief so i can keep the other stuff. I would not want to piss off a robber with some joke card.

As for pickpockets, it makes no sense to me to entice them with an accessible dummy wallet just so i may have a story to tell on the internet on how i pulled a fast one on them. I want them to leave me alone. I do not want wave a red flag and say come get me.

Posted by Vick Vega
294 posts

I know this might sound weird but I TOTALLY intend to carry a fake wallet in Europe.

I never carry a wallet in my back pocket when traveling because of pick pocket risk but I just want to see if it happens.

I am generally pretty alert to my surroundings with both my valuables and our safety and I concealed carry a weapon everywhere I go here In my state. So i tend to pay a great deal of attention to what's going on around us most of the time. Maybe more than most.

but this just seems like a good challenge!

Yeah, I get bored easy! Besides, good story to tell when back home.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
4301 posts

The mind boggles that people would actually waste their time creating a false wallet, as well as the need to remember to put it in your back pocket before going out sightseeing. Just plain weird.

I think Jo's post is worth repeating.

Posted by KC
San Leandro, CA, USA
509 posts

I believe the OP's reference to the fake wallet was for confrontations with a mugger (I'm assuming a mugger, since he uses the term "hand it over" wouldn't be "handing" anything over if it were a pickpocket situation) and NOT as bait for pick pockets. I agree, why in the world would you want to bait a pickpocket in the first place? But for the mugging situation I can see how the fake wallet might help.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
9953 posts

The fake wallet is only one way to bait a pickpocket, other ways have been mentioned. It's a good idea to have another line of defense.

Posted by Jane
Sapulpa, OK, USA
2419 posts

After all the posts about pickpocket "bait," I feel the need to repeat part of what I posted earlier:

After the first (!) time we were pocket-picked in Europe, I learned to keep a hand on my cross-body bag, and my husband started carrying a fake wallet. Just an old cheapie that he wouldn't mind losing. He puts a couple of euro in it, and carries it in his hip pocket. It's not bait, but it's where he normally carries his wallet at home. It's more peace of mind, than anything, although he did lose one of his fakes once to a pickpocket.

We're not trying to catch pickpockets; we're trying to keep on our toes without being paranoid. Consider the fake wallet more a distraction, rather than "bait."

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
4301 posts

I really don't understand this idea of "baiting" pickpockets. Folks, you are NOT undercover police officers. You DO NOT want to draw attention of criminals to you. You do not want them trying to steal even a fake wallet. You are on vacation. Protect your money and cards and passport and spend your vacation time carefree.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
9953 posts

@ Jane.. ."...more of a distraction...." True, in your husband's case the pickpocket fell for one of the distractions or bait! I call using the fake wallet as bait another " diversion. " On my first trip this American guy comes up to me after I had walked into this restaurant in (west) Berlin, proceeds to tell me all the tell tale signs I was doing that gave me away as American, hair cut, glasses style, wearing the wallet in the back pocket, etc etc. Obviously he saw me walk in. He was admittedly correct in what he said, a lot of it, my attitude then was I didn't care too much. The only thing that changed from then was putting the wallet in the front pocket, making sure my hand covered it. That took 24 years. I know it's still vulnerable aside from using the "hidden pocket"

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
7337 posts

Fake wallet as bait: OK a pickpocket gets the fake wallet. Ha ha, what fun, the pickpocket has been foiled. Now you have to buy a new wallet to use as bait. Oh, the games people play.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
16910 posts

"Now you have to buy a new wallet to use as bait"

Not a problem. I have a couple of old, retired wallet just sitting around. I knew they would come in handy someday.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
7337 posts

So you travel with old retired wallets in your luggage just in case?

Posted by Jane
Sapulpa, OK, USA
2419 posts

Every now and then there are posts on this website where you can get fake passports and fake money, too.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
9953 posts

Just another line of defense...use a fake wallet with fake money, the type of play money the same size as former commie East German currency. All as bait for the desperate pickpocket

Posted by Donna
Cleveland, OH
1380 posts

Hi Donald, I've almost been pickpocketed in Paris, twice. I wear a money belt and don't worry about it. I've never actually been confronted by a criminal, but I honestly wouldn't bother with a fake wallet. Be aware of your surroundings and be smart.