Common pickpocket tricks
1. The “Beware of Pickpockets” sign
As noted, pickpockets need to know where you keep your valuables; one easy way to do this is hang out near these signs, common in tourist areas in Europe. As it’s natural to subconsciously reach down and check your wallet and phone when you see a sign, thieves only have to watch as you broadcast exactly where you're stashing your dinero.
2. The “bump and stall”
Common at subway turnstiles and escalators, two thieves will sandwich a mark. When the one in front stops short unexpectedly, causing the target to bump into the "stall," the mechanic standing behind dips into the pocket.
3. The "cardboard sign"
Any spectacle with a crowd provides an opportunity for thieves to do their work, but sometimes they have to manufacture their own distractions. Common schemes are spilling something on you, asking for directions, flirting, dropping things, and, of course, the ever-popular gypsy kids waving pieces of cardboard in your face.