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Make sure you’re not a target for theft this Christmas

Make sure you’re not a target for theft this Christmas

Last minute Christmas shoppers are carrying around valuables worth almost £700 while hunting for presents and bargains, leaving many vulnerable to predatory high street criminals, latest research shows.

One-in-twelve pickpocketed

62% of shoppers will be flocking to the high street this festive season, with many of them carrying the type of valuables that make them a magnet for pickpockets. Just over one-in-twelve (8%) have fallen prey to pickpockets in the past.

Thief magnets: Cash, jewellery, phones and watches

The figures from insurer Policy Expert also reveal that one of the most easily stolen or lost items, cash, is clearly still very popular.

Even though contactless cards are now ubiquitous, Brits carry an average of £62 in cash when out and about, while for nearly one-in-eight (13%) it’s between £100 and £200.

Many shoppers wear jewellery (22%), another magnet for street gangs, and nearly half of those that are married (44%) don’t take off their wedding or engagement rings.

Inevitably, most people use cash or bank cards of some sort while Christmas shopping (90%), as well as taking mobile phones (89%). However, a sensible one-in-four (27%) don’t carry any cash at all.

Over four-fifths use a wallet or purse (85%) and nearly two-in-three (60%) keep things in a bag. Another item much-loved by pickpockets, the watch, is worn by around one-in-two (52%).

Pickpocket victims lose £192 on average

Brits clearly find it difficult learning from past experience. Shoppers still walk around laden with valuable possessions even though most of those pickpocketed previously lost items worth an average of £192.

Many unsure whether they’re insured

Plenty don’t have (22%), or don’t know if they have (45%), home insurance which includes away-from-home cover, meaning they could face a potentially very expensive Christmas indeed; especially as almost one-in-twelve (8%) admit to having lost or damaged something valuable while out shopping in the past.

Only 2% claim

Of those who have been pickpocketed or accidentally damaged their possessions while shopping, only one-in-fifty (2%) have then claimed on their home insurance.

Tips for safe shopping

Here are a number of tips for staying safe while shopping and bargain hunting during the sales over the next few weeks:

  • Never keep pin numbers in wallets/purses alongside cards.
  • Always shield your pin entry when using a cash machine or when in a shop.
  • Don’t leave possessions, such as mobile phones and wallets, poking out of back pockets, or from anything for that matter.
  • Don’t leave possessions unguarded if you nip to the loo or out for a cigarette while taking a break in a café.
  • If you suspect you’ve lost your cards, even if you’re not sure, call your bank to flag it up immediately.
  • The same rule for cards applies to phones; if you suspect it’s been stolen or you’ve lost it, call your phone provider immediately.
  • Try and keep any presents you buy in a strong, zipped bag.

Policy Expert

The customer service team at Policy Expert is always on hand to help – either online or over the phone. Whether you want assistance in finding the right policy or even handling a claim, we make sure it’s all handled by experts. For more information on what‘s covered under your Home Insurance policy, speak to one of our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit for more ways to reach us.


Published 19 December 2017