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Pickpockets, a Dying Breed

If there were a criminal hall of fame with an award for the coolest criminal, it would have to go to the pickpocket. Pickpockets are sneaky creatures who manage to function exactly one degree below the radar.

Pickpockets whisper through society, undetected and undeterred. They are subtle and brazen at the same time. They are like bed bugs, crawling on you and injecting numbing venom that prevents you from detecting their bite until it’s much too late. They aren’t violent like a drug-crazed mugger, or confrontational like a stick-up robber. They have more gumption than criminal hackers, since they don’t hide behind the anonymity of the Internet.

NPR reports that nowadays, picking pockets has become a rare and increasingly difficult crime, thanks to “stepped-up surveillance in most public places,” the dismantling of systems of apprenticeship, heftier sentences, and the widespread use of debit cards.

One pickpocket is quoted as saying, “When people stopped carrying money, that was the beginning of the end of pickpocketing…Pickpockets have no respect for thugs or robbers. We consider them ancient. Prehistoric. We feel that anybody can stick a gun in a person’s face — that’s not hard to do. But to take a person’s money and them not knowing it’s gone — that’s the art of it. That’s the cleverness of it.”

Identity thieves serve as the modern incarnation of pickpockets. They slip into your mailbox or hack into your PC while you sleep. They are daring, cunning, and have ample choice of targets.

There was a time when pickpockets could make a couple thousand dollars in a day. Identity thieves can now make tens of thousands of dollars in a single day.

To ensure peace of mind, subscribe to an identity theft protection service, which offers proactive identity surveillance and lost wallet protection. If your credit or debit cards are ever lost, stolen or misused without your authorization, it will help you cancel them and order new ones. If their product fails, you’ll be reimbursed for any stolen funds not covered by your bank or credit card company.

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