Have you ever had a pickpocket put your wallet back into your pocket without taking the money? That’s what happened to me in Beijing yesterday. He grabbed my credit cards, my driver’s license, etc. and proceeded to make massive charges.
I actually thought I’d stopped the pickpocket, because I felt the wallet going out of my pocket and grabbed it. I checked to see that the money was still in there, and didn’t notice the cards were missing. A few hours later I discovered what was missing, then realized I hadn’t stopped the pickpocket from taking my wallet of my pocket but simply noticed him/her putting it back (crowds were too heavy to see who it was).
The police in Beijing doubted my story. One officer asserted that no pickpocket would be so clever. Really though, passing up $20 dollars worth of Yuan in order to make tens of thousands of dollars in charges to credit cards seems like an obvious strategy (in retrospect). I’m pretty sure I’ll escape from all the fraudulent charges. I was lucky I noticed the problem as soon as I did.
One thing I discovered is that the Chinese need pins on their credit cards. It makes me wonder. Why don’t we have the same requirement? Granted, it’s not a huge security barrier, but it would make life significantly more difficult for pickpockets.