• 400,000 travellers across the world are pickpocketed every day1
  • Over 1700 incidents of pickpocketing were reported at the London 2012 Games2
  • Thirty-three percent of all travel insurance claims are for items that have been lost or stolen3

With the Rio games already underway, many Brits have opted for a holiday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city, to support our athletes.

Brazilian officials estimate the games will see an extra 350,000 to 500,000 tourists flocking to the city this summer.

Despite the UK government maintaining that most visits to Rio are trouble free, tourists are still being warned to remain vigilant during their visit, as theft is a common crime affecting British nationals.

Tourists planning to enjoy the city’s beaches, particularly Copacabana and Ipanema, are at the highest risk of being targeted by thieves, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth office.

Escape Travel Card is advising travellers not to take valuables or large amounts of cash to the beaches or to crowded public places.

Joanne Briggs from Escape says: ”During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil we saw a 200 per cent increase in spend across the country compared with the same period in 2013. We’re expecting to see a similar level of uplift throughout August as Brits make the road to Rio to support the British athletes.

“ Rio is already the most-visited city in the southern hemisphere, and this predictable influx of tourism for the games will create a huge opportunity for pickpockets operating in the area, meaning visitors will need to be extra vigilant.”

Instead of carrying large amounts of currency, which provides an easy target for pickpockets, holidaymakers in Rio can use the Escape Travel Card just like they would a debit or credit card, but without the usual transaction fees.

The card can also be easily locked via SMS if lost or stolen, and a companion card can be added to the account to keep on hand as a spare, meaning travellers can relax knowing their money is protected against theft.

For holidaymakers planning to spend their summer getaways in other parts of the world, Escape has listed the top five cities known for pickpocketing besides Rio, as well as top tips on keeping cash safe along the way.

Barcelona – Ever a popular destination with holidaying Brits looking for both culture and sandy beaches, the crowded markets and bustling squares of Barcelona provide a pickpocket’s paradise with over 300 thefts reported every day.

Rome – This historic city draws in tourists by the thousands, all of whom become easy, slow-moving targets for thieves as they wander around distracted by the famous architecture and artworks in locations such as Vatican City and the Colosseum.

Prague – Thieves here target the city’s many tourist attractions such as the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and Old Town Square, where visitors gather in their hundreds. The public transport systems to and from these attractions are also an opportunity for pickpockets to target distracted travellers.

Madrid – Known for having it’s own pickpocketing gang, Madrid is the second Spanish city to have gained a reputation for common theft. The city’s busy Metro system and the popular Plaza Mayor are prime targets for both individual and groups of thieves looking for vulnerable tourists.

Paris – Like Rome and Barcelona, pickpockets in Paris target popular tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, which closed for a day in 2015 due to pickpocketing-related staff strikes, and the Louvre museum, which was also temporarily closed in 2013 for the same reason.

Escape Travel Card’s top tips for keeping money safe abroad:

  1. Don’t carry large amounts of cash around with you. Use your Escape Travel Card to make payments in shops, cafes and restaurants instead.

  2. Never carry your wallet or money in your back pocket; this is the easiest place for thieves to access without you noticing.

  3. Carry money in securely fastened bag kept close to your body, or use a money wallet to make it more difficult for thieves to access it.

  4. If you must carry cash, don’t keep it all in one place. Hide small amounts in other secure wallets, bags or clothing so if your wallet is stolen, you’re not left with nothing.

  5. Stay alert at all times and be aware of common distraction techniques such as bumping or hugging, so you aren’t caught out.

If you’re planning to head to any of these popular cities this summer, visit http://www.escapetravelcard.com to find out how Escape can help you keep your money safe.

Summary of features and benefits of the Escape Travel Card

  • Escape costs just £10 to purchase. This fee is refunded if the card is loaded with £100 within 30 days of application

  • Free to make purchases abroad

  • Add a companion card for £2.50

  • Withdraw cash at over 2.1 million ATMs overseas for FREE* if you withdraw over £100 or equivalent.

  • Maximum load £2000

  • The card can be topped up via bank transfer, at the Post Office, PayPoint locations, or at selected travel agents.

  • Order online at www.escapetravelcard.com (Allow 7-10 working days for cards to arrive.)

  • Instant issue cards are available from various outlets across the UK, giving consumers instant access to their cards. Please visit http://www.escapetravelcard.com/find-local-branch/ to find a retailer near you.

For further editorial information or to request hi-res images and samples, please contact Rebecca Ore or Kim Butigan at JAMpr Ltd:

Tel: 0161 850 0565 E: Rebecca@jampr.co.uk / Kim@jampr.co.uk

The Escape Travel Money Prepaid MasterCard® Card is issued by IDT Financial Services Limited pursuant to a license from MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard and the MasterCard Brand Mark are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated. IDT Financial Services Limited is a regulated bank, licensed by the Financial Services Commission, Gibraltar. Registered Office: 57-63 Line Wall Road, Gibraltar. Registered No. 95716. All communications should be sent to Escape Travel, PO Box 3753, Chester, CH1 9UH.

1 http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/features/how-to-send-the-pickpockets-packing-233422.html

2 http://www.clevertravelcompanion.com/blogs/news/14502437-some-interesting-pickpocket-statistics

3 http://www.holidaysafe.co.uk/blog/travelling-uninsured-are-you-brave-enough-to-take-the-risk/