Most of us have spent time in big cities or unfamiliar surroundings, and considered the possibility of getting pickpocketed or robbed. Even if you've never had your valuables taken by force, it's a strong possibility in many areas, especially if you don't look like a local or if you're out late at night.

Obviously, you'll want to take standard protective measures, such as observing your surroundings, training in self-defense, and arming yourself. However, there's another step you can take to dramatically reduce the impact of a mugging: carrying a decoy wallet. This second wallet should look and feel realistic, but contain nothing of major value, and nothing that gives away your identity for future attacks.

ITS Tactical recommends carrying several fake

ITS Tactical recommends carrying several fake “John Doe” credit cards in your decoy wallet.

Bryan Black of ITS Tactical wrote an article about his take on the decoy wallet, and it's certainly worth a read. He mentions carrying it in his left-side back pocket, since this leaves his right hand free to draw a weapon if the need arises. He also states that throwing aside the wallet can provide a diversion and means of escape.

So, what should your decoy wallet consist of? Here's a breakdown:

  • A well-worn wallet, preferably one you've used for years and are ready to discard.
  • A few dollars in cash, preferably a five and some ones. Consider this a sacrificial self-defense fee.

    Don't use fake bills or Monopoly money, as it will certainly make your attacker more aggressive if he notices it.

    Don't use fake bills or Monopoly money, as it will certainly make your attacker more aggressive if he notices it.

  • Fake credit cards, such as those found in credit offers and junk mail. You'll have to hope the attacker doesn't notice these, since you don't want to use any expired cards with your real name.
  • A fake photo ID, if you're willing to go to the trouble of making the decoy extra convincing.
  • Other filler items—unused store membership cards, empty gift cards, random business cards, old receipts, coupons

Decoy wallet for muggers 1

If you pay for items in public view, be sure to keep enough cash in the decoy wallet that you can still use it for small purchases.  This will ensure anyone who's watching you won't see your real wallet's location. If you need to add money to the decoy wallet, go into a bathroom or other private location and transfer over just enough cash from your real wallet.

These steps can help you keep your money and identity secure in the event of a mugging. They'll also help you spend less time worrying about financial losses, and more time being aware of your surroundings. For more ways to stay safe in unfamiliar cities, check out our article on scams to avoid around the world.


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