CHICAGO (WLS) -- Crowded stores during the holiday shopping season are ripe for pickpockets. Chicago police are warning people to stay alert.
"Particularly pick-pockets, who take advantage of crowd settings to move close to targeted victims without being noticed, take whatever they want and quickly disappear by blending into crowd," Commander Nancy Lipman, Chicago Police Department, said.
To illustrate how easy it is to fall victim, police officers demonstrated different scenarios where unsuspecting shoppers are distracted and pickpocketed by one person or a team of con-artists.
"If you're carrying something valuable that's easily accessible to you, it can be easily accessible to someone else," Lipman said.
To avoid becoming a victim, resist wearing headphones and always be aware of your surroundings; lock packages in the trunk instead of leaving them on the car seat; and reduce the risk of identity theft by not carrying personal information in a wallet or purse.
"I did think twice about leaving my wallet on the outside of my backpack. It's something that crosses my mind but I live in Chicago. I live in this neighborhood. It's really easy to forget about it and throw caution to the wind," Julia Goldin said.
"Anywhere that you go you have to remember about safety first and making sure you have all of your personal information protected. Credit cards, debit cards and so forth," Tiffany Bady said.