A decoy wallet could save your hide!

Whether you are travelling in the third world or in developed cities with high petty crime rates like Barcelona, there is always a chance you will be robbed.

Purse snatching and pickpocketing are never pleasant, but the very worst situation is to be threatened at knife or gunpoint. Such mugging scenarios are very dangerous, especially if the bandit thinks you are holding out.

In such circumstances, if you just hand over the goods, the robber will likely just turn tail and run away happy with his success.

But that, of course, leaves you the traveller without cash, ID, bank and credit cards, health cards and other such essentials. Nothing will ruin your trip faster than finding yourself high and dry in a foreign country with no friends and no money.

A clever old misdirection tactic is to use a false or decoy wallet.

Here’s how it works:

First find a wallet you’d be OK parting with, then start filling it with enough cards and paper to make it look convincingly thick. Some things we’ve used in the past include:

  • Unsolicited credit cards you find in your mail
  • Expired ID such as library cards, gym memberships etc
  • Used up gift cards
  • Receipts
  • Canadian Tire money
  • Local currency
  • And best of all, a stack of 10 or so US one-dollar bills. Since all American cash is green and looks very similar, it can easily fool an adrenaline fuelled robber

Once your decoy wallet is sufficiently convincing, carry it with you when out and about. You can even use it like a real wallet, and use it to carry local currency for daily expenses.

Meanwhile, keep your actual money scattered in various pockets. A few bills in your front pocket, a few in your back, and larger denominations your trusty StashBelt money belt. If you are at a restaurant or need to make a large purchase, you can take money out of the StashBelt in the privacy of a bathroom stall.

If and when a mugging takes place, simply comply and hand over the decoy wallet. This will help avoid any violence, and potentially shorten the whole encounter to a few confused moments.

And you can walk away no worse for wear, and the satisfaction that your clever preparation and savvy paid off.


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