Deceive a Mugger with a DIY Decoy Wallet - ITS Tactical

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Deceive a Mugger with a DIY Decoy Wallet

By Bryan Black

ITS Diversion Decoy Wallet

Revisiting the Mugging Diversionary Device, or Decoy Wallet, has been on my mind lately. With ITS releasing the Hypalon Concealment Wallet, a few people remarked that a wallet would be the first thing a mugger would take and keeping entry/escape tools inside might not be the best course of action.

I certainly understand the hesitation, but why would you even let a mugger take your real wallet? That’s where having a good plan and a decoy device comes into play.

Decoy Wallet

ITS Diversion Decoy Wallet

I first wrote about my Decoy Wallet back in 2009, which I’d only recently started carrying on a regular basis. It’s certainly not handy to carry two wallets, especially considering I carry one of our ITS EDC Trauma Kits daily as well.

That being said, I can’t honestly say I carry my Decoy Wallet each and every day, but when I can, I do. Even if it’s the primary wallet in my back pocket and my real wallet is in a jacket pocket.

How Does a Decoy Wallet Work?

The premise behind a Decoy Wallet, or Giveaway Wallet, is that in the event of a mugging and the old “gimme your wallet” routine, you’d reach for the ringer. To the criminal, they got what they wanted and their eyes should now (in theory) be affixed to the Decoy Wallet.

They’re also more than likely going to want to leave the area in a hurry and this is also the point where the most danger lies. Do they truly just want your wallet or are they bent on doing you harm or ensuring they don’t leave any evidence?

It’s ultimately for you to decide if lethal force is justified, but throwing the wallet or just taking it out makes for a pretty good diversion if you need to use the other hand to access a defensive weapon. This is why I try to keep my Decoy Wallet in my back left pocket. Being right handed, this gives me more options to access my tools.

Something that was taught to me long ago was that I should always be looking for three things: Buddies, weapons and options. Where are my buddies or people that can help me, where are their buddies, or backup, if any. What weapons are available, both on the bad guy, on me, or what’s around that can be used as an improvised weapon. What are my options? Can I escape, or is lethal force justified? What are the bad guy’s options? Knowing his next move might give you the upper hand as well.

What to Carry in a Decoy Wallet

ITS Diversion Decoy Wallet

More than likely, a criminal is never going to see what’s in your Decoy Wallet, as they’ll want to get off the X as soon as possible. If it does open up, you’ll at least want to have some items inside that give the appearance of credit cards and cash. The idea is to make the illusion plausible.

First off, I recommend never putting anything inside that has your name on it, or can be tied back to you, your home, or your family. You don’t want some mugger getting pissed off that all he got was a couple of bucks and coming after you.

The idea is to start collecting a bunch of those credit card offer blanks that look like the real credit cards. You know, the ones that say “your name here.” You’ll want at least 3 or 4 of those to visually look like the typical variety found in a wallet.

ITS Diversion Decoy Wallet

The wallet is also an important part of the illusion. It has to look worn. An old wallet is perfect for this, as it will have true wear. Just make sure it’s nothing you wouldn’t mind losing.

The last thing is to put a couple of real bucks inside. 3-4 one dollar bills are sufficient. Just in case a mugger’s goal is to take the cash and run, he won’t feel play money and request your real wallet.

Live to Fight Another Day

Just like you I don’t ever want to be the victim, but if this simple diversionary technique can give me the upper hand or allow me to fight another day, then I feel it’s all worth it.

Is it an inconvenience to have to keep up with one more thing in your pocket? Sure it is, but not every solution is a gun solution. Why not carry a cheap insurance policy that can buy you important time and not have the mental dilemma of “should I give this scumbag my wallet?” Throw it at him and transition, or get the hell out of dodge.

Have options, that’s what’s important.

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  • If you look well-heeled, just a few $1 bills will look suspicious. You might do what a friend did in high school to impress girls. He filled his wallet with $1 bills but put two $20 bills on top. Then when he went to pay for something, he’d pull out one $20 bill, while showing the other and say, “That’s the smallest I’ve got.”

    In this case a single $10 or $20 bill on top might be enough. Losing a little more is better than being forced to reveal that other wallet. You don’t want to give them reason to look more closely at those phony credit cards.

    • Natural Born Prepper

      InklingBooks Or maybe more people can start defending themselves and stop being victims all the time and put a little more fear into these gutless people.  We bring some crimes on ourselves.

  • thedavidwwright

    robertwilliger SeanPlatt JohnnyBTruant ITStactical See, I’m NOT crazy!

  • thedavidwwright

    robertwilliger SeanPlatt JohnnyBTruant ITStactical Of course, if decoys take off, muggers might start asking for both wallets!

  • SteveHupe

    This is an old trick I used to do for ages, but haven’t done in maybe a few years since having to give up my decoy once. I just haven’t had the need since I carry a slip-in piece with my ID/ Cards/ Money that came with the wallet in my jacket while I have my actual full wallet with coupons, a few dollar coins (CANADIAN MONEY IS METAL AS FUCK), some old receipts and spent gift cards, etc. in another pocket. I guess I still have a decoy, it just happens to be my actual wallet. That slip-in is also RFID proof, which is why I keep my important stuff in it. I dunno, I just haven’t had to have two actual wallets for years now, but it is something I encourage.

  • nDjinn

    In a long ago half forgotten survival course we were told that carrying a thick wallet in your back pocket was a contributor to back injuries in men (changes they way you sit in a car). Since then I have pretty much carried my wallet in my right front pocket. Has it saved my back in accident, I don’t know. But it has saved me from from losing my wallet in Africa when a pickpocket went for it.

    I love the idea of a decoy wallet and am going to start using one pretty much when I travel. Thank you, what great idea. I can’t believe I did hear about it or think of it on my own.

    • nDjinn Thanks for sharing brother, glad you enjoyed the article!

    • JuanPedro2

      nDjinn I’ve actually always carried my wallet in my front pocket because it’s harder to pickpocket someone when they have their valuables in their front pocket.

    • nDjinn

      JuanPedro2 nDjinn I was in Nairobi or Mombasa and I had gotten stuck on the streets unprepared (not totally, just not ready to hump it – after the Taxi I was in broke down) and I had some street “kids” reach into my front pockets while surrounded by about 10 of them, all while jogging through a less than good neighborhood. The deep front pockets of my cargo pants and my reflexes kept me with my wallet, but they were all over me, if my wallet or passport had been in my back pocket I would have lost it for sure.

  • Nathan

    A couple of years back I had the idea for the flashbang wallet.  It would be a decoy wallet, the difference being that it would explode when the perp opened it, causing disorientation and allowing you to escape.  I’m sure it would be illegal.  Maybe a taser wallet or a dye marker wallet though…

  • Michael

    After seeing this article, I did some research and found there is a company that specializes in making these types of custom decoy wallet, so I ended up just buying it from them. Works great! Almost looking forward to getting mugged so I can give it to them haha.

  • Natural Born Prepper

    I carry my wallet in my button up side pocket or in a zipped pocket or front whenever I can.

  • Chris B.

    I use clothing alterations, such as snap closures and Velcro on front pockets. Also can add a Velcro pouch to inside of a jacket where it’s unlikely to be detected. Tactical options I agree be near to escape venues or use choke points to evade.

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