The theory is this: if you’re ever threatened and told to hand over your wallet, you give up the decoy but your real stash is hidden elsewhere on your person (like in your money belt).
- If you can toss the fake wallet and run from your mugger, that works.
- If you have nowhere to go, give them the decoy and hopefully they’ll leave.
- If they force you to stay while ransacking it, hopefully they’ll be fooled by the ruse and leave. If not, you can hand them the coins in your pocket as a further distraction.
If your fake wallet is pick-pocketed, then the worse that happens is that you learn to be more aware of your surroundings.
A decoy wallet is especially useful when you’re traveling – although some folks employ them all the time – because it forces you to keep only the minimal or a days’ worth of cash in the decoy and keep everything else safely tucked into your money belt.
Top 6 Components of a Fake, or Decoy, Wallet
When you’re putting together a fake wallet, it’s got to look real enough and yet prevent a thief from accessing your funds, selling your identity on the black market, and worse.
Here are the top components that make the best fake wallets:
- A worn look – use your old wallets or buy a well-used one.
- A picture or two – it doesn’t have to be a photo of someone you know. The neighbor’s dog, a random kid or two, someone who looks like they may be important to you. They all work.
- A local card of some kind like a library card. Tell the librarian you lost it and put the new one in your real wallet, the deactivated one in the fake wallet.
- A deactivated credit card or bank card (or both – even better).
- A recent receipt or two is a great addition.
- Some real cash (it’s up to you what you think will work and hopefully they won’t stick around long enough to count it and demand more).
Remember, a pickpocket is just looking for any wallet and a mugger wants something that looks like a wallet. Give it to them without giving up what you really need – your travel cash, your real identification, etc.
Just don’t look smug or enthusiastic when you give it up! In fact, most recommend you grumble and complain a bit.
A Quick Word to the Women Travelers
We’ve recommended before that you leave expensive or precious things behind when you travel. The designer purse is a good example of this. By carrying a basic purse (it should be a bag that’s work across the body and in front), then the bag is less likely to be snatched from you by someone passing by.
If your fake wallet is also in that basic purse, but your primary travel cash, documents, and passport are in your money belt worn underneath your clothing, then you can hand the purse and fake wallet over without too much remorse. You might lose today’s worth of cash and some other odd items, but it’s likely worth it.
After all, you know the rest is safe. Your favorite lipstick? Put it in your coat or jeans pocket instead.