The Simple TikTok Hack That Can Help Protect You From Pickpockets

While we'd all like to imagine that we can enjoy our vacations without a care in the world, the reality is that travel and tourism often have to go hand in hand with vigilance. Pickpocketing is very common in big, busy cities and pickpockets tend to lurk around famous tourist attractions because people are often distracted. "Theft can happen anywhere and tourist hotspots are convenient places for criminals to target (people's) wallets and purses whilst they are busy taking in the sites," Greg Wilson, founder of, said, per USA Today. "Iconic attractions like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Trevi Fountain in Rome are particularly popular with pickpockets as they can move more inconspicuously amongst larger crowds."

While pickpocketing can happen anywhere, it's even more stressful when you're a tourist because you likely don't have access to your bank or the DMV to quickly replace the contents of a swiped wallet. While there are specific tips for keeping your passport safe while you travel, a viral TikTok hack to protect the rest of your stuff is making the rounds, and is especially useful for those who use a fanny pack.

Use a zip tie to secure your fanny pack

Investing in a fanny pack is a must for traveling, and in order to properly secure it, TikToker @myboyrudder suggests using a zip tie to secure the clip. "Run a zip tie through the buckle," she explained. "That way someone cannot unbuckle it from behind and run off with your stuff." The idea is that a pickpocket can't unclip your fanny pack while you're distracted, keeping it securely on your body. Once back in your hotel room, you can either cut off the zip tie or reuse it. One easy way to reuse a zip tie is by sliding a safety pin or paper clip between the tongue and the strap. Then push the tie back through the head until it's unlocked.

Some people in the comments felt like people were overreacting about pickpockets. "Me, born and raised in Europe, never been robbed, watching this like," followed by a shocked emoji face. But others raised a very good point. "Yeah but it's common in places like Paris for pickpockets to target ppl, esp if you look like a tourist," someone mentioned. This is a fair point, since tourists are more likely to crowd famous sites than locals are, and people traveling in foreign destinations can sometimes stop and appear to be lost. This can draw unwanted attention.

Also, add a phone strap to your list

Not only do you want to zip-tie your fanny pack buckle, but you might also consider wearing a phone leash or strap. This came from another brilliant TikToker, @itsmandycherie, who pointed out that women in Paris, or any other European capital, use a phone leash. The idea is that you get a phone case that includes a long strap so that you can carry your phone around your neck. Carry it that way even when you're using it. That way, no one can swipe it from your purse or pocket.

She also stressed that it's unwise to be on your phone near the doors of the metro car. If you have your phone out and it's not on a leash, someone can swipe it and run, and you can't chase them as the doors are closing. If you don't want to use a fanny pack, crossbody bags are the best. Face them so that the bag is on the front side of your body and hold one hand over the bag. Someone in the comments also suggested that if you sit down and put your backpack on the ground, loop one of the straps through your chair leg. The moral of the story is that in big, bustling cities, keep your objects securely fastened to your body to prevent pickpocketing.