How to Get Your Wallet Stolen in Rome in 5 Easy Steps

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Rome Pick Pockets

Yup, my wallet was pickpocketed in Rome, and I’m pissed off. To be honest, I’m angrier with myself than the creeps who took off with my wallet, although I’m plenty annoyed with them as well. On that unlucky morning in Rome, on the Metro heading to the Termini train station, I was stupid, lazy, and in a rush, the perfect trifecta of an easy mark.

You see, I knew what I needed to do to lessen the possibility of theft but I didn’t do it. I wasn’t being careful, and with each misstep there was a little voice in my head, saying “Dian, you’re asking for trouble!”

So what didn’t I do that could have prevented my unhappy fate? What are the very easy and simple things you can do to lessen the likelihood of being pickpocketed in Rome? Here they are and I hope you have better luck than I did on your Rome holiday!

1. When you take out your wallet to get cash to pay for the Metro, be sure to put it back down deep inside and underneath other stuff in your backpack or purse. DON’T put it at the top and within easy reaching distance of sticky fingers just like I did that fateful day in Rome. I paid for my ticket, plopped my wallet in my purse and thought to myself, “Push that wallet down, tuck it away, girl.” Did I listen? Nope.

Rome Girls Getaway2. When you reach the Metro platform DON’T stop at a spot right next to a Metro exit or escalator. This is a perfect hangout location for wallet thieves, giving them a quick escape once they’ve helped themselves to your wallet. That day I had hauled my luggage a few kilometers to the station, and by the time I got to the Metro, I was tired and hot. The subway platform was extremely crowded, and I didn’t want to fight through the masses, I got off the escalator and immediately stopped to wait for the train. Silly me.

3. Once you’re on the subway train, DON’T stand right by an exit door, move deep into the compartment. Thieves don’t want to be caught on a moving train with a hot wallet so they stay close to the door, again making it easier for them take off quickly. I stayed right next to the door. Why did I do such a dumb thing? Same reason as #2 above, I had my luggage, the train was packed full of people, so I didn’t want to make the effort. It was much easier to squeeze little ol’ me plus my luggage onto the train and then stand right next to the door. Sigh.

4. Always have your hand on the zipper pull-tab of your purse, and if you’re carrying a back-pack be sure to secure the zipper. I not only had the zipper pull-tab of my purse pointed away from me, the bag was also behind my back where I couldn’t keep an eye on it. Again I set myself up to be a perfect mark for any eager thief. Within seconds of entering the subway train, I felt a slight tug at my bag, I looked and the zipper was half open and I knew then that the wallet was gone.

5. BUT I did do ONE thing right. And following this one step saved me a lot of grief. I always keep my credit cards and important papers (passport) in a separate zippered compartment in my bag. The thieves ended up with a wallet stuffed to the brim with all of my points cards, Canadian Tire money, Canadian coins and maybe 10 euros. I still giggle when I think about the thieves and their great haul that morning in Rome, my sweet pickpocket revenge!

Comment on this story:

What all the girls are saying:

  1. Natalie says:

    Ha ha – Would have been nice to see the look on their faces!

  2. Deb says:

    Oh Dian, that sucks! I hope they didn’t get anything too important! We’ve had a camera stolen once and after the fact we were like “That was so obvious!” These guys are so good at snatching stuff from people. Good tips!

    • Deb says:

      Ha! I stopped reading before the last tip that you got 1 thing right. I was in such a rush to say I feel so bad! Glad they only got Canadian Tire Money! Haha

  3. Diana says:

    Ciao Dian, sorry to hear that you got your wallet stolen in Rome. It must have been a nightmare and having lived in Rome for more than 8 years, I’m super cautious when taking public transport in the city. You offer really great tips and if I may add a few to ensure readers don’t get pickpocketed during their visit. Adding to tip no. 1, get your cash for the metro even before you enter the Metro and put the cash/coins in the pocket so you won’t have to open up your wallet in the metro station. For standing at the platform near the exit or escalator, that’s a good point plus the carriage in the middle are often more crowded and at the far ends, it’s usually less crowded. The tip on having your hand on the zipper pull-tab is priceless. I usually have my bag in front of me and with my hands on the tab. If you have a backpack, even with the zipper secured, someone I know had the backpack slashed. I would suggest wearing your backpack in the front when on the metro or bus especially when it is extremely crowded to play it super safe. Hope these additional tips.

  4. Christopher says:

    Very good advice. My wallet was stolen by a guy who pretended to show me a soccer move. He handed it back to me and said, “There’s nothing in it, so you can have it back.”

    It’s always a good idea to just leave your wallet in the safe.