In the age of phishing scams and cyber attacks, it's easy to forget that criminals still go after victims the old fashion way: when you least expect it.

'Jugging' is the latest criminal trend police agencies around the country warning residents to be more vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Kevin Coffey, a travel risk trainer and consultant recently spoke with Fox News Digital about 'jugging' and the type of situation people put themselves in that makes them vunerable:

"The thieves look for people who have items on them, it's not just the elderly. They're now looking for people who are younger who maybe came out of a high-end purse store or just bought an iPhone. Everyone is a prime victim today when they have something of value."

According to Coffey, thieves will keep an eye on shoppers going into high-end retailers like Apple and evaluate just how distracted they are when they step out of the store. The easiest targets will be carrying expensive merchandise and may be lost in their phone.

Luis Villasmil via Unsplash
Luis Villasmil via Unsplash

Most of those who are 'jugging' are looking to grab what they want and go. Some more violent criminals may wait and follow you home, where there are likely to be fewer if any witnesses.

'Jugging' thieves are known to invest time in victims. Bank jugging involves sitting in financial institution parking lots and watching customers walk in and out. For example, one woman in Houston, TX was left paralyzed after she was followed to a shopping center after withdrawing money from a bank nearly 24 miles away. The attacker met her as she exited her car and slammed her to the concrete, and stole the cash.

Jake Allen via Unsplash
Jake Allen via Unsplash

The best way to avoid being a victim of jugging is to be aware of your surroundings. If you feel like you're being followed, go somewhere safe with a lot of people. Coffey says if you feel like you're being followed, take a quick look behind you. Often times even a glance will deter a potential pick pocketer or, if you're in public, wave to a fake friend and call out a fake name.

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Sometimes criminals will work in pairs, with one individual trying to distract you while the other commits the crime. If you feel at all nervous being approached, Coffey recommends:

"It's situational awareness. Whenever someone approaches, be asking yourself why? Why are they engaging me? Are they trying to divert attention to pickpocket me or do they actually want to have a conversation?"

With spring arriving and cabin fever reaching a peak, distractions will be everywhere. Be aware of your surroundings and those in them. A little extra vigilance will be needed to keep you and those you love safe.

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