How to Make a Mugger's Wallet

If you're worried about getting mugged, one way to prepare is to carry a mugger's wallet. This is a decoy wallet that you're prepared to give away, so once it is taken, your real wallet won't be in jeopardy of being stolen anymore. It needs to be realistic enough to convince the mugger that he's got what he's after. Filling your mugger's wallet with a little cash and some expired IDs is the best way make it seem believable. Next time you're at the ATM, you can rest easy that your mugger's wallet will keep you relatively safe.


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    Put cash in your mugger's wallet. It should be enough that if a mugger thumbs through it, he won't suspect you're pulling one over on him. However, don't put in an amount that is too large, that you would regret losing to a mugger. Some people put a bigger bill in front of many smaller bills so that a hasty mugger thinks there's a lot of money in there. If possible, consider mixing fake money in with real bills. However, remember not to spend the fake bills, as this is considered counterfeiting and is punishable by jail time.
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    Add an ID card which has already expired, or which can be easily replaced. Any mugger will be skeptical if there is no form of ID in your wallet
    • A photo ID library card is good because it doesn't have your address and can be easily replaced. Plus, the mugger can't use it if he or she should decide to rack up overdue fees on your behalf for revenge.
    • An old driver's license with an old address is convincing as well, but keep in mind that someone might be living in a house by that address.
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    Add an expired credit card. When the mugger sees this, they might think they've hit the jackpot, and might hurry off to charge things before you report the card as stolen. Make sure that the account is closed, and write "Please see ID" clearly in the signature box in the back. A credit card with photo ID is preferred. Or if you have a realistic looking card from a credit offer, use that.
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    Add filler. Remember, you want this wallet to appear authentic, so shove any of the following in it:
    • old receipts
    • coupons
    • business cards
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    Use the mugger's wallet for minor expenses. This is especially important if you pay for something in public. Muggers might be watching, and you'll want them to see you using the decoy wallet, not your real one.
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    Tuck your real wallet in a less accessible and noticeable place, like the inside of your jacket, or elsewhere underneath your clothes. Another good place is in your front pocket instead of your back pocket - you are much more likely to notice someone getting into your front pocket. Keep it light and streamlined. Some people purchase a money belt, or put their money and a credit card in a sock.


  • A much simpler tactic that will have the same effect is to take a cheap metal billfold (fake gold is best), wrap a few one dollar bills inside a twenty dollar bill, and keep this handy. If you ever encounter a mugger, act cooperative, show him the stuffed billfold with the $20 showing, toss it in one direction, and run in the other. He will be much more likely to go after the billfold rather than you, and you'll still have your credit cards, your ATM cards, however much money you're really carrying, and your life.
  • An even better tactic is not to put yourself into harm's way in the first place. Keep away from dark alleys, especially in foreign countries. Stay in well-lighted, populated areas. Watch the area around you. Look for people who seem to be watching you or acting surreptitiously. If you use an ATM, spend a bit of time observing the area before you take your wallet out to put the ATM card into the machine.
  • By simply not putting an ID or old credit card in the mugger's wallet, you might even dissuade a mugger from making an attempt. The less he sees, the less booty he thinks he has to gain. Keeping only a day's worth of money in your mugger's wallet will ensure that if the mugger does try, he's not getting the whole cash cow.
  • Keep the emergency and customer service numbers of all your cards (bank, debit, credit, and store credit cards) in a handy but safe place apart from your wallet. This can be at home, but if you're traveling, it might be better in your hotel room, or written in waterproof ink and placed under the insole of your shoe. That way, if you lose your real wallet, you have the information to cancel the cards as soon as you know it's gone.
  • Make a copy of all of your identification, membership, and credit cards. Keep this locked up at home.
  • Tear up the wallet a little for authenticity and to make sure that the "mugger" doesn't suspect a thing.
  • Mugger's wallets can also be used to deter pickpockets from taking your real wallet.
  • Another option is to simply carry a real wallet with very little cash, and formulate a plan so that you can quickly and calmly take the proper steps in the event that you are mugged.


  • Some people are tempted to leave taunting notes in the wallet, like "Nice try." Not only is this unnecessary, but it's also dangerous if the mugger finds it while you're still around. It can also make for a worse encounter should you ever bump into this mugger again.
  • Please consider the risks of doing this before attempting it. It is a very real possibility that the mugger will stand there, with you held hostage by a weapon, and look through it thoroughly enough to see through the flimsy facades suggested. If he discovers that he has a fake, you may be at the mercy of a very angry person -- a person already desperate enough to become a criminal.

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