The holiday-shopping season means a field day for pickpockets, and SEPTA is working to protect its riders - and their cash and belongings.

"We're definitely trying to get the word out to make sure people safeguard their purchases and their pocketbooks," SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said yesterday, adding that the transit authority does a campaign like this every year.

SEPTA employees will be distributing pamphlets titled "Eight things pickpockets don't want you to know" along the Market-Frankford Line and the Broad Street Line.

The pamphlets will cover tips for riders on how to avoid becoming a victim. SEPTA police compiled the information, which was released yesterday.

The top tip from police and SEPTA officials is "don't flash your cash."

SEPTA is cautioning riders to keep fares separate from the rest of their money.

Commuters are also instructed to avoid carrying wallets in their back pockets; to remain alert waiting for the bus, trolley or train; to beware of strangers, and to avoid being overloaded with shopping bags. *