How I Foiled a Pickpocket Thief in the Khan Al-Khalili Bazaar in Cairo

After visiting the Hanging Church in Cairo, I was less than thrilled when our guide announced we were next headed to the souk, also known as the Khan Al-Khalili Bazaar. When I hear the word “souk,” it brings back terrible memories of all the souks we visited during my trip to Morocco with Overseas Adventure Travel in March 2017.

In Morocco, the souks were always super crowded, smelled bad, and were overrun with sickly, sad-looking, neglected cats. Our guide later told us the cats were only kept around to keep the rat population down. In other words, they weren’t pets–they were there to kill the rats. They always looked sick and underfed and I found the whole souk experience very depressing. Our Morrocan guide had also cautioned us that the souks were a haven for pickpockets. As over-crowded as they were, I could see why. After that trip, I had hoped I would never have the occasion to visit another souk again.

I was relieved to see the Khan Al-Khalili Souk looked very different from those we visited in Morocco. It was much cleaner and there were a lot fewer half-dead-looking cats walking around. This souk seemed more upbeat, more modern, a much better version of the ancient souks I’d visited in Morocco. Also, the paths/avenues were wide open with hardly another shopper to be found, but I still had no interest in browsing the shops.

Browsing is never a fun or relaxing endeavor in the bazaars of Morrocco or Egypt. The shop owners will latch onto you if they notice you making even the slightest glance toward their shop. If you dare step into their shop, they bombard you with questions, trying to gather any info they can use to coerce you into buying their wares.

Frankly, I find shopping in places like Morocco and Egypt exhausting. I’d rather order something online that says “Made in Egypt” than deal with shopping the markets at all. My advice when visiting either Morocco or Egypt is to avoid the bazaars as much as possible.

I didn’t take any photos while walking in the bazaar, I was mainly focused on getting that part of the trip over with and on to something more pleasant. I wish I had taken a few now just so I could give you a better idea of how it looks. Having been abandoned by our guide to wander the souk alone, Teresa and I were strolling along one of the many open paths inside the bazaar. I was wearing my favorite travel bag the way it’s designed to be worn: in crossbody fashion. All the pockets on the bag were zipped and the bag was hanging across my chest and down my left side with my left arm/hand draped down over the bag. My cell phone was stuck deep down inside the front pocket (covered by my arm) because I had been using it periodically to take photos just prior to entering into the souk.

Travelon Anti-Theft Cross-Body Bag for Travel


Teresa and I were walking at a pretty steady pace when I felt something amiss. It’s very hard to describe exactly what I felt, the best way I can describe it is a subtle jostling at the back of my bag.

So, you know how when something scary or surprising happens, you react without even thinking? That’s what happened to me that day. Instinctually, without even thinking or looking, I reached back with my left hand, the one that had been draped down over my bag, and I grabbed for whatever was moving my bag.

Guess what I found? As I partially turned, pulling forward whatever it was I had grabbed, I discovered I now had a strong grip on the wrist of a short woman dressed all in black. I didn’t look at her face because all my focus was on her hand.

Her hand was turned upward and clinched inside the palm of her hand with fingers curled up over the edges, was a small, black device. It looked a lot like a cell phone but was too small to be a cell phone. It was about the size of a deck of cards, only skinnier. It appeared to have a screen like a cell phone, but the screen was completely black.

I processed all of this in a matter of seconds. As I stood there gripping her wrist, staring at the hand that had just seconds before been jostling my bag, a million thoughts raced through my mind. Was this item in her hand something from my bag? No, I didn’t recognize it. Why was this woman, this thief, attempting to pickpocket me while holding something in her hand? This was obviously the hand she had been using because it was the one I found when I reached for the back of my bag.

All of this…from the seizing of her arm to assessing what she had in her hand, to deciding it wasn’t something of mine, to the decision to release her arm…all of this took place in a matter of 4-5 seconds, if that long.

As I released her arm she lurched back and yelled something, then ran off as fast as she could. At this point, I was still a bit stunned by what had just happened. As my brain tried to process it all, I suddenly became aware that there were several men standing along the edge of the path in front of the shops on the right.

One of the men, apparently translating what the thief had just yelled out, said, “She just bumped into you.” That made me mad and I angrily replied back, “No she didn’t, she was trying to get into my bag!”

I don’t remember this part, but Teresa said the men all began saying, “Sorry, Lady! Sorry, Lady! Sorry, Lady!” apparently, attempting to apologize for what had just happened. Though I don’t remember the choruses of “Sorry, Lady,” I do distinctly remember one of the men saying, “Welcome to Egypt!” It wasn’t said in a sarcastic tone and sounded sincere, though at that very moment it was the last thing I expected to hear.

As we walked on, I looked down at my purse. It was still zipped up just as it had been before the incident, and my cell phone was still buried deep down in the front pocket. Nothing appeared to be missing.

Slightly dazed, Teresa and I walked on a bit more, navigating up and down some of the paths as if nothing had happened. After a few minutes, we decided to leave. The attempted pickpocketing had pretty much killed any enthusiasm either of us had felt for the souk excursion. Of course, it wouldn’t have taken much to kill mine since I don’t like shopping in the souks to start with. Have I mentioned that a time or two? lol

I’ve thought about the souk incident many times since my return and the one thing that has continued to stick in my brain was the black device I saw so tightly clenched in the thief’s hand. Something just didn’t add up and it kept needling at me. Why did she attempt to pickpocket my handbag while holding whatever that was in her hand?

Last night, as I crawled into bed, once again in my mind’s eye I saw that hand clenching the small, black device. Then it hit me and suddenly I knew exactly what the thief had been attempting to do. I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure it out! I’ve even written about this scam here on the blog before, though I’d never seen the device.

I grabbed my cell phone from my bedside table and Googled the words, “devices thieves use to scan credit cards” and there it was, a device that looked exactly like the device I had seen clenched in the hand of the thief whose arm I gripped in the market that day. (The photo below is from this video and can be seen at 3:13 point of the video: How Crooks are Stealing Credit Card Information.)


Here’s what I think happened that day in the Khan el-Khalili Souk: I think the thief who had sneaked up behind me was attempting to scan my credit cards but was having zero success since my cards were securely tucked down inside the RFID protected credit card pockets inside my travel handbag. My bag was doing its job and foiling her attempts to steal my credit card info. Not realizing my cards were protected and probably thinking she just wasn’t close enough, she moved closer and closer and closer until she was right on top of my bag and accidentally bumped into it as I walked.

Since I don’t like going into a souk anyway, I was pretty much on high alert for any shenanigans. I’m still surprised I felt her jostle my bag because it was so subtle. I’m sure she was quite surprised to find her wrist held in a death grip by the person she had just been trying to rip off. If I had known what the black device was in her hand that day, I would have been tempted to rip it from her hand and crush it underfoot.

RFID Pockets, Travelon Travel Bag


Just to be safe, I called American Express today and asked if they had seen any suspicious charges on my card since my return home. I figured they had not since I had not received any e-mails or alerts. They confirmed that everything looked fine, no issues.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my travel bag? I know my credit card company would have removed any charges if the thief had been successful in scanning my credit cards. In fact, they volunteered that reassurance today when I spoke with them on the phone. But it’s so nice that I don’t even have to deal with that! I don’t have to spend hours on the phone talking with my credit card company or bank trying to undo the damage done by an evil person I had the misfortune to encounter while on vacation.

Also, imagine if she had been successful and had obtained my credit card info. More than likely my bank and credit card companies would have realized it pretty quickly and would have canceled all my cards. Then I would have been stuck in Egypt without a valid debit or credit card. That would certainly have thrown a wrench into the rest of my trip!

I highly encourage you to protect your credit cards when traveling by carrying them in a travel bag designed with built-in RFID-protective pockets/card slots, or at least keep your cards in protective RFID sleeves designed to block cards from being scanned. I’ve also read thieves will scan passports since they have a chip inside them like credit cards. I guess that’s one of the ways they attempt to steal a person’s identity. My passport was also safe that day because I keep it tucked down inside the deep pocket located right behind the credit card slots.

This is the bag I’ve used on my last 4-5 trips: Travel Handbag. You can read a more detailed review in this previous post: What’s Inside My Travel Handbag?

If you don’t use a bag with RFID protective credit card slots when traveling, but instead carry your credit cards in a fanny pack or one of the neck wallets you wear around your neck, consider putting them inside the protective sleeves that can’t be scanned. You’ll find those here: RFID Sleeves for Credit Cards.

Hope this experience proves helpful for you as you travel. You have to protect yourself against the scammers and thieves. They’ve gone high-tech these days and we have to stay one step ahead of them!

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  1. I use my Travelon handbag whenever we go overseas. Glad you had one, too and that your quick reactions kicked in as well. On our trip to Italy in September I locked my passport in the hotel safe when touring. Otherwise, it was in the RFID compartment alongside the credit cards.

    • I’ve always been afraid to use the hotel safes because of all the bad stories I’ve read on Trip Advisor about money/credit cards/etc… being stolen out of them. Also, I’m always worried I’ll leave my passport/cash behind when we leave to move to another destination on the trip. But it’s all the stories I’ve read about stuff missing from the hotel safes that worries me most. Teresa does use them though and she hasn’t had any problems.

  2. Wow thanks for the story. Great advice!

  3. Wow, glad you had that bag! As crazy as this world is getting, I am thinking it might be a great idea to use one or a least a safe credit card holder full time. Plenty of thieves here at home, too, unfortunately……

  4. Great post Susan. I doubt I will ever go to Africa so I don’t have to worry about the souks. However, this activity can happen anywhere. My credit card numbers have been stolen a couple of times and it really made me angry. One time was in Atlanta at Shake Shack. Another time was at Five Guys in Newnan. I now pay with cash at these type of places. Our bank and credit card company was wonderful. I do not have a purse like yours but I am definitely going to purchase one. This could happen so easily in the malls. Thanks again for this wake up call. Have a great evening.

  5. Very helpful post, Susan. And in my mind my guess was exactly the sort of thing you found – something to scan your credit card. Wow. Why would the travel agencies even take Americans to places like that? I would definitely give them my feedback. You are what is now considered a seasoned world traveler, and it’s very important for novices to understand that kind of situation – in real life – and be able to decline the excursion or opt for something else. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Oh my, what an experience. I am thankful that she was foiled and most importantly, you were not harmed. You can never to be careful.

  7. DONE!! I just ordered Passport/Credit Card RFID sleeves! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Probably just a good idea for anytime, anywhere… You gave me chills with that exposé…you were fortunate to be ALERT!! franki

  8. Elizabeth Roderick says

    Very smart to use this bag. You should do ads for them. My husband has had his info stolen 4 or 5 times here in the US. Last time someone used his debit card to play golf. Fortunately we have an excellent bank that replaces our money instantly. They know us as we have been customers over 20 years. We bought some FRID card holders which put an end to that problem. So glad you were so alert and safe.

  9. Laura Powell says

    My wallet is RFID protected and I have 2 purses that are also. One of them is travelon. It is my Inspector Gadget bag. I love the organization and little features like a purse light. I go to casinos every now and then and I always use my travel on bag. They arent cheap but neither is Identity theft!

  10. I ALWAYS travel with my travelon bag!! It’s amazing I feel so safe with it at my side at all times! You definitely have to be so careful now a days I’m glad you ended up ok

  11. I bought that bag on your recommendation before we went on a cruise. I love it and it came in very handy. I didn’t have to worry at all!

  12. Carol Lupiani says

    Great post, Susan. I had my credit card “skimmed” while waiting in JFK for my delayed flight. I didn’t have an RFID wallet or travel handbag that trip but I sure do now. A month after I returned home, I noticed a $400. charge on my credit card. I called the company that the thief purchased it from, filled out a fraud document they emailed me, called my local police department to file charges and submitted all the paperwork back to the company. The credit card company did replace the $400. You are so right that having RFID sleeves or wallet are invaluable.

  13. I’m so sorry for that ugly experience on your great trip. I’m just grateful you and all of your information is safe and nothing more came of it. Thanks for sharing this important information.

  14. Brings back memories of traveling to Jamaica with ‘souk’ If you buy something in one shop they give you a ‘coffee bean’ necklace, which is not coffee beans at all. It tells the other shops you bought something. Then they hound you. Glad you are home safe and sound and feeling better.

  15. Just ordered the RFID sleeves. Thank you so much for the information! Glad everything turned out well for you.

  16. Same thing happened to me on train in Italy. Thankfully I had the bag AND the sleeves after reading your blog!!!
    I have ordered SO MANY of the things you recommend…so thanks!
    Just ordered moccasins last nite for my son’s!!

    • So glad you were protected on that train! I never thought about trains but that’s the perfect place to scan someone’s bag because everyone is so close together.
      I hope your sons love the mocassins! Keeping my fingers crossed my son will love his. I think he will, they look so comfortable and have great reviews.

  17. I first learned about a Travelon bag from you, Susan. I now have several of them in various sizes and colors which I use at home and when traveling. I also have a couple of the Travelon wallets so I have the RFID protection even when using other purses. I felt extra safe on a recent trip to Italy with my Travelon purse!
    You are fearless, Susan! Good for you! Looking forward to hearing more about the Egypt trip.

  18. Dorinda Selke says

    Holy smokes, Susan ! Thank God you and your credit cards etc are all safe and sound. Honestly that kind of thing leaves a bad taste in your mouth when visiting a country. I am going to share your story with all my relatives and friends who travel bc I think it’s a lesson well learned. Thanks so much for bringing it to light. Hugs, Dorinda

  19. Kathy Shearer says

    I am sorry that you had that experience, but you were well prepared. When I travel abroad, I don’t carry my credit cards, passport, or large amount of cash in my purse. I use a money belt tucked into the waist of my jeans/pants for those things. I just purchased a pouch that I can wear around my neck under my shirt that will hold my passport/credit cards/money which may be more convenient. I only keep a small amount of money readily available for a light lunch, drink, etc. in my purse along with my map/travel guide, a bottle of water and my cell phone. Like you I always wear it crossbody. Unfortunately, I have also read stories of women having their crossbody bags grabbed by a person riding by on a scouter causing injuries to the victim. It won’t stop me from traveling, but I do try to be very cautious.

    • The bad thing about the pouches is there’s nowhere to store a water bottle. In Morocco and Egypt, you can’t drink the water and you need to carry water all day long, so you would still need something to carry the water.

      I tried carrying a neck wallet a long time ago and it drove me crazy hanging on my neck. You can’t keep your cell phone in your pocket because pickpockets will steal it out of your pocket. That happened to one of the travelers on our Morocco trip. A neck wallet would get very heavy on your neck with a cell phone inside of it.

      The bad thing about fanny packs is a thief can walk up to you, slice the fanny pack open and all your stuff falls out. A BNOTP reader had that happen to her, I think in Italy or France but her husband chased the thief down on the sidewalk and the thief literally just threw the stuff she had stolen at the husband, so she got her stuff back. The Travelon bags can’t be sliced or cut and the straps are cut resistant or cut-proof on some bags.

      I would consider carrying a fanny pack if I could hide it under my clothes and it couldn’t be cut off or cut into…and my cards were RFID protected inside…as well as my passport. But you still have the issue of nowhere to carry your water. I also like having my bag because my large DSLR camera fits inside of it, which comes in handy if I get tired of wearing it around my neck.
      I guess there are pluses and minuses to all the choices.

    • I’m so happy nothing happened to you and that you were traveling with a friend vs solo!!
      I always worry whenever I hear of anyone traveling alone these days

      You were extremely lucky she didn’t assault you etc!! The heck with the credit cards!! They can always be reported stolen & replaced although yes a hassle @ times!

      Thankful you are back home

  20. Wow, I am so happy that you were alert. And that you are wise enough to buy that travel bag with protection. I have never wanted to travel to exotic places like you do. Maybe you should stick to safer areas for your trips.
    When I have been in crowded areas of Europe, I hang my cross body so it is totally in front of me and I put my arms around it.
    I, also, like you do not like to be in crowded market areas. Usually, they only sell junk anyway. I had that feeling in some Christmas bazaars in Germany.
    We have groups, even in the US, who work the malls and scan for credit cards. I have an RFID wallet but I should buy one that is better. Mine is old and purchased from a popular discount store.
    I am so glad you were protected.

  21. Robin Lambert says

    I have the same bag. I carry it crossbody but with the bag part in front of my body, not on my side, usually with an arm across it. No one can get near it without me seeing them.
    Last summer in our tour guide told us to keep our passports with us, there may be checkpoints, or we could be asked for them. I can’t remember if it was in Austria or Switzerland.

  22. Jane Franks says

    Wow!! Susan!! Agatha Christie!! You are brave indeed!! I had an experience years ago in college (before electronic stuff could “hack” into cards). I was shopping with friends on the streets of Washington, DC (our college town), and some guys from our college thought they’d play a joke and sneak up and scare us!! They saw us; we hadn’t seen them. I felt someone tug on my shoulder purse strap, and without thinking, instinctively I swung around and he nearly got a karate chop!! I was glad to think my instincts could kick in if they had to. However, I gained a reputation of someone not to be messed with by the boys!! Ha!! It was all in good fun. We were all friends, and it was more innocent days. But, still, the adrenaline was flowing!! I’m glad you thought quickly, and avoided worse intrusion; and also that you both got out of there safely. I would have been a bit nervous with the men chiming in. They could have been accomplices! Yikes! I won’t visit any souks, either if I can help it!! Jane xo

  23. No souk anywhere. How pick pocketing has changed. Technology. With all the good comes all the bad. Congratulations to you for averting one. My card was compromised (stolen) at the local gas station. The card reader had a chip that shouldn’t have been there. Within 30 minutes my card transacted $600 at a shoe store in LA. Long way from GA. Flagged because I don’t usually spend other than gas and groceries on this card. I feel you pain.

  24. I did an eastern Mediterranean cruise this past spring and used one of these (see pic below) and loved it. I’m not sure if the image will post but it’s a Lewis & Clark Neck wallet. I wore it under my shirt and while I felt kind of tacky at times pulling it out to pay, I was happy to have it many times in the crowded markets in Croatia and even Venice.

    I’m glad you caught that woman! Good job!

  25. I’d have been so shocked to grab and feel a human arm in my hand!
    I got a wallet with RFID slots after one of your posts, as an everyday one. Appreciate security reminders throughout the year, even if mentioned in a previous post.

  26. Susan,
    Carry holy water and even sprinkle it on
    You and your purse. It’s a sacramental and
    Will protect you.

  27. Cyndi Raines says

    So thankful you weren’t hurt and she got zilch. The purse is sounding better and better, even for shopping trips here during busy holiday times. Will be getting some protective sleeves I think. Thanks Susan!

  28. This is why I don’t like to travel. You were very lucky. Such a shame that things are needed to stop thieves.

  29. Brilliant post, and brilliantly handled, Susan…though I’m sorry that happened to you. Really drives home the importance of meticulous attention to detail before travel, then maintaining constant vigilance, so one detects and immediately reacts to even the subtlest “disturbance in The Force”.

    Well-done and inspiring, if a little frightening, truth be told.

    I am definitely going to follow your outstanding advice re RFID protection, and probably also your travel bag, though I am not so adventurous when it comes to destinations. Thank you.

  30. Wow! You were so lucky! Not the kind of excitement you hope to have.

  31. Any kind of criminal acts and/or despicable conduct against tourists always bring shame on the whole local population, especially on them who are economically dependent on tourism, that’s why all those merchants tried to apologize to you. This is just a detestable and negative experience to remember but hopefully the good and positive ones outweigh them. So glad you were alert, Susan!

  32. Wow! That’s an adventure and a half. Thanks so much for this information. I’ve never heard of RFID before. Off to investigate….

  33. Here’s a thought. Quit traveling to third-world countries!

    • Hannah, this happens everywhere today, not just in third world countries. It’s very common in Europe and sadly becoming more and more common here in the U.S.

      • It sounds like you reacted with the correct amount of force to stop the thief and not get hurt. Chances are some one in the crowd would have been with her and would have rushed to protect the device. Perhaps it was that guy who was saying the thief just bumped into you since it added to the “get away” commotion? Sorry this happened and glad that you kept your cards and were safe. (Agree, that these experiences happen everywhere.)

      • That is true, but if so, I would rather be in a beautiful place than a foul smelling bazaar in a country where I know the populous hates me.

    • Exactly Andi! I just posted a little about this above. I would never ever even consider traveling to Africa or the Middle East, etc, or any area of Europe affected by the terrible immigration policies of the last 15 years. Like you said, I can’t imagine being in a country or around people that literally hate you – and hate women and consider them second-class.

  34. You are so much braver than me. I’m so glad to know that you didn’t have anything worse happen. Glad to know your security measures worked. These useless individuals need to be stopped but it doesn’t sound like there’s much policing going on there.

  35. My sister and I both purchased Travelon bags after you first wrote about them. We used them on our Viking River Cruise in France, and now I use it whenever shopping anywhere crowded, like Costco. There have been several women hurt and killed here in upstate S.C. by thieves in cars grabbing shoulder straps and dragging the poor victim. I’m glad you are okay.

    • Wow, that is so sad to hear of something like that happening in South Carolina. 🙁 Thanks, Roxanne! I think that’s excellent advice for shopping this time of year when we will be out and among a lot more people. Remember when shopping was relaxing and fun! No wonder Amazon and online shopping has become such a big hit.

  36. Dear Susan,
    You have become a very savvy traveler. Visiting souks is such a fabulous experience. When we have traveled Morocco and Egypt or any other areas where there are a lot of tourists, we always hire a local guide for a couple of hours.
    I have used my little RFID neck bag under my clothes for several years. Over the more than forty trips to Europe and Africa we have witnessed several incidents where tourists had their purses ripped from their persons. A favorite trick is to ride a small motor bike through a crowded market and do the nasty deed.

    • We had two guides throughout the whole trip. Unfortunately, the guide for this part of the trip didn’t walk through the souk with us, she waited in a cafe just outside. Usually, the incidents I’ve read about with handbags being ripped away from people were from those folks who were wearing them hanging on their shoulders and not crossbody.

  37. Hi Susan, I hate souks too. The Marrakech Souk was a one and done experience for me. Pick Pockets are unfortunately everywhere. I felt the vibration of one of the zippers on my travelon bag being opened in a Paris subway. I pulled the bag around to the front of my chest and watched a women quickly scurry past me. RFID wallets are the way to go- until thieves figure out a way to compromise those too. Always have to be alert.

  38. Susan, this just makes my nerves bad thinking about this episode that you endured! WOW! Thankful that you were prepared and protected. I am going to check out the sites you just named on the protection of credit cards. Thanks for sharing. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  39. penney helms says

    The only place I ever had on my bucket list was Egypt, and I was able to go, returning what turned out to be 5 weeks before the revolution began. It was a dream come true. However, dreams don’t come without reality. I don’t think the scanners noted by Susan were as popular then, but my Travelon bag was my best friend. Shoulder strap cutting was very
    popular. Went to the Khan Al-Khalili expecting a cultural experience, and got one. Just not the one I expected. My friends went another way, and a vendor served me tea. Big mistake! Tried to force me to buy so much that when I said I did not have enough money, he pointed me to an ATM. My guide was also sitting not too far away, so I had to get him to negotiate with this man, in Arabic. The AAA lady who planned this trip had said the best souvenirs were the scarves. With granny silk squares in my head I was skeptical. However, it turned out to be true. Several places we went outside Cairo had tables of the most beautiful “pashminas” ever. All my girlfriends got one. I am so glad I got to go, but would never go to that bazaar again.
    Susan, I have truly enjoyed your Egypt stories. It was a dream trip, and I hope yours was as well.

  40. Karle Dickerson says

    LOVED your Agatha Christie experience, Susan, and sorry to hear about this episode in the souk, but glad all ended well. Our tour had an armed guard with us while in this same souk; I’m surprised your tour left you unprotected while there. I hope you don’t stop traveling, even to these kinds of places. Look at all the amazing other experiences you had–the Agatha Christie is a priceless memory–always have something to randomly cackle about in the nursing home one of these days, I say! LOL And I see that indeed you rode another camel while in Giza! One thing I’ve learned is to be sure to leave the RFID cover of the passport in the bin while going thru airport security. It can cause a delay. I hate these skimming things. Even though the c.c. companies protect you, they incur losses and the costs are passed on to the consumer. Thanks for telling your stories and giving your fellow travelers some pointers.

  41. My husband had some RFID sleeves for his credit cards, not sure where he picked them up at, but they are useless. You can scan the cards right through them. Make sure your RFID covers are working.

    • The ones I linked to in this post have really good reviews. I ordered some last night to use here at home in my regular bags. It says they are US GOVT.FIPS Approved.

  42. Judy MacDonald says

    Glad you have such quick reflexes. I also have a Travelon bag and now feel even more happy that I do.

  43. What a trip! Your story about the thief using technology to rip you off was an eye opener! I drove 2,000 miles this summer and on return found that someone had gotten my debit card number and used my account. Luckily the bank caught it but it was a mystery to me how it happened. Hmmm, I now wonder…. I’ll be getting one of these protective bags that you recommended!

  44. Susan you are very brave. I am not sure I would have grabbed her hand as you did. As soon as you described what was in her hand, I knew what it was. Happy you and Teresa are safe. In addition to beautiful photos and narrative of your travels, you teach us all important lessons.

  45. Glad you weren’t s victim due to your careful planning to carry a safe bag. The only thing I would add is that this just doesn’t happen overseas so we all would be remiss not to have our CC in a RFID protected wallet….even here in the USA! Also, my local bank told me that placing a folded piece of aluminum foil in your wallet will do the same thing to Protect Credit cards from being stolen. So I have done that, cut to the size of my wallet.

  46. What a scary experience Susan. When I traveled to France the first thing I bought for the trip was a RFID bag. So glad you at lead had a good outcome.

  47. Finally catching up on your posts! I have lived and traveled all over the world from the time I was young experiencing the cold war in Europe, riots in Panama, communist attacks in South America, etc., etc. But I never felt uncomfortable until visiting a souk in Tunisia a few years ago. I couldn’t wait to leave.

    I’m glad you enjoyed your trip to Egypt. Where to next??

  48. Charlotte Bruce says

    What a neat travel bag! You can also wrap aluminum foil around your cards. That’s the cheap way until you get something with more appeal!

    • Susan, I totally understand, I don’t like them either and will never go in another one, even if I’m with a guide or another person. Thanks! It looks like I’m off to England this summer for a literary tour.

  49. Susan, Your posts are always interesting! The credit card protectors are a great idea- Thank you! I ordered several to give as Christmas gifts. Had no specific info about the electronic scammer although I had heard about the concept. Appreciated the education!

  50. I am so happy you are ok and had the foresight to have the Travelon bag and prepare yourself as you did. Those card protectors are wonderful and I gave them as stocking stuffers last year….Also have them in my purse as well. I bought the Travelon bag on your recommendation and so glad I did…So thankful that you share your experiences with us as it might help save others which I know is your intent! Thank you!!!

  51. Interesting and informative story! Thank you for sharing. I bought a Travelon bag the first time you posted about one. I read how you keep it on you at all times when traveling but can’t find the post. Can you provide the link?

  52. Yet again a great post with great information. Aren’t you glad you have such great intuition and reflex. She wasn’t expecting you to grab her wrist! So brave to yell back to the men…who knows whether or not they were insiders to the scam? So much can happen in just a few seconds; she could have been violent (pretty sure you could handle that too).

  53. Thank you Susan! I sent some of your travel posts to my son when he was planning a trip to Italy this summer. Even though he doesn’t have a purse, the security information is great and he could adapt for a male. How did the Lifestraw water bottle do? Did you use local water in it?

    • I never had to use, though I was glad I had it with me. Our guides were pretty good about keeping us supplied with water.
      After the incident in Cairo, I purchased some of the security sleeves to use in my wallet here at home because the scanning thing can happen anywhere now. I was happy to see they fit in both the wallets I like to use, I was afraid they would be too big for the credit card slots, but they aren’t. You can also buy men’s wallets with the protective credit card slots, a friend of mine just told me a few days ago that he has one. I’m not sure what brand of wallet he uses.

  54. Claudette flanigan says

    Lucky for you that you felt her! I would hate to be in one of those souks. That is like a nightmare. I have been in bazaars on islands and cannot stand that pushing wares in my face. Great purse…it did the trick!

  55. Laura Martinez says

    OMG I just saw this on pinterest and was so alarmed when you wrote that you had your arm over your purse. I do that all the time! What confuses me is was her hand inside your purse or on the outside? I have an old travel purse I purchased through Magellans, maybe 15 years ago. It has all the conecting zippers, its slash proof. It is so old it doesn’t have RFID. I did buy the envelopes for our credit cards and passports, which we use all the time. I guess just when you think you’ve protected your belongings its not foolproof. Scary out there.
    Thank you for the information.

    • No, I don’t think she ever tried to reach inside, I think she just put her hand so close to my bag while trying to scan my cards, that she bumped the bag. That’s when I felt something and reached back. You definitely have to protect yourself when traveling anywhere these days.

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