Holiday shoppers can be easy prey for pickpockets blending into crowds at stores, on sidewalks and inside packed public busses and trains.
That's the warning from the Chicago Police Department, which has put out some safety tips for the holiday season.
Those include keeping purses under your coat, carrying wallets in front pants pockets or coat breast pockets and being alert to your surroundings.
Police say pickpockets often operate in teams and use deceptive ruses, like dropping loose change, fainting or bumping into someone. Once a shopper's attention is diverted, an accomplice may then take the person's wallet or purse.
The police are also warning against identity theft and encouraging people to keep an eye on their credit card and ATM receipts.