Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Pickpocketing

How to Avoid Common Scams to Steal Your Camera Gear and Rip You Off

In the last 30 years I have had my camera gear stolen 4 times, once from my car when parked, twice from my studio at night and once from my car when I was sitting in it! Does that make me sound stupid, well actually it probably does. I had driven to Barcelona from Oxford to photograph the Christmas festivities in the year 2000. I had been there to party on the millennium new year (the year before) and as I had too much party and not enough photography decided to go back the next year. I was sitting in my car in the centre of Barcelona at traffic lights on Christmas eve, I noticed a guy walk towards my card with his hand out and I thought he was begging, next thing I knew he had opened the passenger front door, I leant over, grabbed the door handle, slammed it shut, the traffic lights changed and I sped across the interchange thanking my luck thinking he was after my phone, wallet and passport which were sitting on the passenger seat. Only when I got across the junction did I notice that the back door behind me was open. I stopped and realised my worst fears. My camera bag with everything I had needed for a 6 day shoot in the city had gone. The ‘beggar’ had been a decoy and I had fallen for it. It was a long and boring Christmas and new year without my cameras. I had been very stupid, now I never travel in my car with anything of importance inside the cabin of the car, everything goes in the boot, out of sight and I hope safe.

This article from Jason Row at Lightstalking has a whole host of tips to help you avoid theft and loss of your camera equipment

“For most of us, base jumping Go Pro photographers excepted, photography is a pretty safe hobby or profession. However sometimes we forget that the pride and joy hanging around our neck, is in fact, an expensive, hi-tech piece of equipment that may have cost several thousand dollars. The aim of this article is to inform but, not scare you, of some of the more frequent scams, both out on the streets and online. Being forewarned is being forearmed and understanding what is going on has helped me on more than one occasion.”..…MORE

We consider this issue important, as more and more people travel with expensive camera gear we become targets for those who would rob us. We spend some time in out Travel Photography course considering this.

Whilst researching this article I also found this excellent article dealing with the same points in more detail recommending specific camera bag systems. “If your photography gear has been stolen, you probably know how frustrating it is. Many professional photographers carry equipment that is worth thousands of dollars. Photographers have found many tricks that help them camouflage their expensive gear so thieves and pickpockets won’t notice that they carry expensive cameras and lenses. There is no doubt that pickpockets do their homework very well. They know how to spot travelers who carry expensive camera gear and know that exact time to move in. If you are traveling with your camera and won’t to avoid losing your precious camera gear, here are some useful tips to come back home safe (with all your gear).

Professional pickpockets will spot a professional camera gear from far away. If you have taken you Canon 5D Mark II with battery grip and a large white L-lens, do you think that a pickpocket can miss that. This is a delicious launch for him, and he will try to do its best to grab a hand on your equipment. In order to prevent yourself being a victim of theft, here are my tips for the naive photographer.….MORE