Criminal activity of this kind has always existed. There is probably not a town or city worldwide where some degree of bag-snatching/pickpocketing does not go on.
The key word is, of course” careful”.
It’s no wonder tourists are easy pickings, if they go around with a big handbag (sack!) containing all their wordly goods, while at the same time gazing around them absent-mindedly. It isn’t enough to be aware. LOOK aware. Don’t carry a bag at all. And keep the “bling” for other occasions. And for godssakes don’t put your handbag on the floor or hanging off the back of your chair in a café or on a café terrace etc.
That applies in Dublin, London, Madrid or Málaga.
There is no harm in talking to strangers (I often do), as you may have to ask directions, or whatever. Again, trust your gut.
An anecdote, to illustrate the crazy things people do:
A client of mine had about 4.000 pounds lifted from his account via his card.
Scenario: middle of day, Marbella area outskirts, he’s at the ATM, problem with ATM (probably set-up). Nice lady behind him waiting, offers to help. He accepts her help. End of story.
He tells me (and this man is no dazed tourist) “she was very well dressed, good jewellery, well spoken, helpful, good-looking (!).....
Who’d have thought..”