Concealing your cash when out and about

By Harper Banks

While you’re standing in a queue, it’s not unusual to see someone pull out money from their sock or undergarments. But now more than ever, this is not the best place to keep your money safe.

We consider options for ensuring your personal safety when carrying cash in public places.

Tip: Find out what kind of savings and investment options are available to you.  

Where should you hide your money?

South Africa is known for its crime, and is only becoming more so. Recent statistics from the South African Police Service indicate double-digit increases in nearly all crime categories during 2021/22.

It’s important to protect yourself when in public areas, and one way of doing this is by stashing money in less obvious places. It goes without saying that using undergarments is unsanitary, and is certainly not recommended during the pandemic.  

The following are some alternatives that you can consider.

  • Purchase a money belt. This looks exactly like an ordinary belt, but it has a special compartment where you can store coins and notes.
  • Use a hair accessory. A thief won’t think there’s any value in your hair accessories, making it a possible place to hide larger bills.
  • Pocket socks. This option is more sanitary than stashing cash directly against your person.

Carry a decoy to divert thieves 

Gordon Knight, co-founder of South Africa’s Fastest Emergency Response, says that keeping your money safe is useful, but he believes that your own safety should be your main concern.

“If you're being mugged, it's because the criminal knows that you have something worth stealing. The goal should be to keep yourself safe and to get away as quickly as possible,” says Knight.

He explains that if a criminal has to search you to get your money – or even worse, if they check your ATM balance – then you're putting yourself into a vulnerable position.

“Ensure that you have an easy-to-find bundle of smaller notes, or a wallet with a small amount of cash and some expired cards inside, that you're prepared to trade for your safety,” says Knight.

He says that if you’re targeted for a potentially violent robbery, you can take this out, throw it on the ground, and run.

“The criminal will normally go for the easy win. Grabbing money that’s already lying on the ground is a lot easier than chasing after someone who’s drawing attention to themselves,” says Knight.

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