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Bye-bye, wallet: how to avoid pickpockets in Vancouver

Have you ever been pick-pocketed? I was, just a couple days ago. Having just finished my Sunday class, I was making my way up Granville street towards the SkyTrain station, slowly weaving through the crowded street which was alive with anticipation for the Pride Parade. I couldn’t have been walking for more than two blocks, when I did a quick pat down of my pockets to make sure my stuff was where it was supposed to be.

It wasn’t.

My back pocket — the usual haven for my wallet — was empty. I should have seen it coming, but that pocket is such a familiar place I didn't think twice about it.

Compared to other cities in the world, pickpocketing is fairly uncommon in Vancouver. But it does happen, and it can be a mighty inconvenience. I had my SIN and Care Card in my wallet along with my driver’s license, bus pass, credit and debit cards. That is a lot stuff to replace, and not to mention a bit of a headache.

So as a reference guide, here are a couple of helpful and hopefully not too redundant tips and links. Just in case it ever happens to you.

1)    Immediately call your bank to cancel your cards. Even an hour is enough time to buy the thief a nice big screen TV, courtesy of you.


2)    If your SIN card and driver's license was in your wallet, keep an eye on your personal accounts for the next couple of weeks. A host of fraudulent activities can be done with your SIN, and the smart thieves like to wait a bit and catch you off guard.


3)    Find a new place to put your wallet. Ladies, if you have a purse, hold on to it for dear life. Gents, I recommend the front pocket if there’s nowhere else to put it, but even then it can be a bit sketchy. Your best options are a jacket with an inside pocket or zippered pockets, or a murse. Personally, murses are not my thing, but the utility and safety they offer are to be seriously considered.

4)    Don’t linger in large crowds. It is the easiest place to get your wallet pinched, so be weary and alert, but not at the expense of your personal enjoyment. Just be mindful of your surroundings.


For those of you who no longer have your SIN card, here are links for:

Replacing your card

preventing fraudulent use of your card

Replacing your Care Cards

Replacing your passport 

And remember to call the police if you suspect someone is using your cards for dodgy illegal activity. 

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