Assemble a Musical Decoy Wallet





Introduction: Assemble a Musical Decoy Wallet

About: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!

Be prepared to foil pick-pockets with a decoy wallet.  Having anything stolen from you is saddening - unless you make something specifically designed to be stolen!  Note that this is not for use if you are being robbed!

Step 1: Supplies

  1. You need some sort of a wallet.  The one I have pictured was a gift from my brother and I honestly would be sad about losing it.  I'll make a replacement decoy or keep an eye out for a cheap one to use.
  2. A singing card.  This isn't critical but sure does make the project more fun and the decoy much more enjoyable to show friends.
  3. Low-value currency.
  4. Business cards, expired gift cards, or other junk to thicken up the wallet.
  5. Anything else you would like to stuff in there to further prank the thief.  I used some relevant cards from a game of Apples to Apples, some cards from a deck, and a page from my daily bacon calendar.
You may also need scissors, glue, a translation book, and a pen.

Step 2: Some Money

Of course, this step is completely optional.  You might not want to give the thief any money at all!  Pictured is one USD which is of almost no use in the places I usually travel (bills must be over $20 and totally crisp in order to be exchanged), 23 cents worth of Chinese currency, and about 20 cents worth of Mongolian currency.  It is just the right mixture that the recipient will surely know that the wallet was intended to be lifted.

Step 3: Filler

I added some playing cards, business cards (some of use to me but duplicates of ones that I really need), and relevant cards from Apples to Apples that describe the wallet.  Having the wallet thick enough to be noticed is important.  You want the thief to focus on it instead of your bag, your friend's thinner wallet, or the bills and cards you have tucked elsewhere.  This thing should look like the mother-lode! 

Step 4: Useless Cards

Save the fake credit cards from junk mail, membership cards you get once for the 10% discount, SIM card packaging, dead phone cards, maybe even expired credit cards if you want the thief wasting time trying to use them.

Step 5: Make Your Wallet Play a Song for Them

I would love to see someone wire a piezo alarm to their wallet but just using a cheap card will likely give the thief a real surprise.  Just cut out a piece of a singing card that will fit into the wallet.  A bifold wallet works quite easily - you just need the piece to fold just like the wallet does.  Measure or trace the wallet, cut out and insert it.  Try not to wear the battery out with your excitement over this delightfully simple addition.

Step 6: Leave Them a Message

I cut out some more pieces of the card and used my multi-language phrase book to leave the thief a message.  I tucked the message in with the cash since they are likely to grab it even though it is nearly worthless.  I doubt they would go through the bogus cards too long!

Step 7: Deploy!

I can't wait to have my wallet stolen!  Below is a video of the wallet.

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    i think that this is too good for thieves, try hiding a detontor in the wallet to blow of their hand when they open it ,lol. maybe something else nasty could be included as an alternative/accompanyment. try a 400 volt capacitor or something(to shock them), get it from a camera flash.

    1 reply

    Some rude people just ought to get robbed some time...

    Congratulations on being a finalist in the DIY Audio Contest!! Good luck to you!

    1 reply

    BTW, this tells me there are a lot of people out there who want to nab people with sticky fingers. :) Two finals, I think that's pretty awesome.

    wonderfully thought creation, a must try for frequent travellers

    Congratulations on being a finalist in the be prepare contest!

    1 reply

    Thank you - I'm surprised!

    very cool

    I don't understand why anyone would steal an airmail letter.
    You are making a wallet that looks like a letter to disguise it, then hoping someone will steal it?
    I am not putting this down, just don't understand yet.

    4 replies

    Actually, those are wallets that are sold as made from recycled materials, which tend to be ridiculously sturdy and are somewhat common. I prefer to use duct tape wallets for this purpose, since they're almost free.

    You wear it where a pick-pocket can see it (inside your clothes, where a wallet would be), then when they pick your pocket, they get the fake wallet, not your actual wallet.

    Thank you. Maybe I should take new photos with a more traditional looking wallet as less of a distraction.

    you can make the fake wallet look like anything

    All I can say is that if I were bumping around in a large crowd at some big event and off in the distance I heard Lovin' Spoonful, it would make me smile like I've never smiled before. Bravo! Very very cool.

    I feel like it would be more amusing to stick a recording of this:
    in. Good old oblivion guards....

    lol not bad! but is it short enough to go on in xxx different langauges?

    probably not, but if you just get it in the local language of the country you're visiting, things should work well enough. Of course, since you're not going to be seeing their reaction anyways, I suppose its more for your benefit in the first place.

    Giving someone your membership card anywhere is potentially giving them your personal info as well. Almost every card out there requires some form of personal info for them to track, and it's not hard to get some unsuspecting cashier or whatever to let you know the info on the card. (assuming of course the thief wants payback, and the store in question is within distance.)

    1 reply

    Good point. Perhaps just using things like the fake cards that come with credit card offers would be best.