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September 27, 2021

Travelers beware the camera lens pickpocket

Think you’ve heard every tourist scam?

Indeed, the Canadian traveler likes to believe it’s prepared for fraudsters and pickpockets of all kinds when they vacation across the world. I mean, after all, nylon waist wallets are practically Fort Knox around your hips.

But thieves, not unlike juicing sluggers during a certain era of baseball, are always a step ahead of the game.

And here’s a scam that comes as news to us at least – swiping not your entire camera, but the expensive lens hanging off the end.

The BBC’s The Real Hustle  TV program recently shed light on the ruse, which certainly isn’t one of the standard “watch fors” Canadians hear before they travel.

*Bing: How to spot a pickpocket

The scam works like this (watch a quick video demonstration here): crooks spot a camera-toting tourist who, thanks to a heavy-duty strap around their neck, feels the gadget is secure.

And it may be. But what happens next is what tourist’s don’t expect. A group of crooks will surround the target and ask to point something out on a map. While the map’s in front of their face – concealing the camera itself – one thief flicks the quick-release switch, that wonderful feature that lets you swap lenses in and out, and makes off with your lens.

At first glance, the camera is still there, and its weight may feel unchanged. It’s the perfect pickpocket.

Where crimes are concerned, you could do a lot worse while traveling than having a camera lens swiped, but given that DSLR camera lenses for Canons and Nikons can run as high as $1,600 per, we’re talking about a scam worth noting, nonetheless.

Have you been the target of a pickpocket while travelling? Share your story in the comments.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

*Photo courtesy BBC.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...