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#1 Scams

Postby Gaybutton » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:52 pm

On the "Phnom Penh trip report" topic (see: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9295) the stranger-trying-to-befriend-you scam was discussed. Unfortunately, that is by far not exactly the only scam people fall victim to.

I think many of us are aware of the infamous jet ski scam. I don't know whether that has finally been cleaned up (probably not), but I haven't seen any reports lately about it still going on. Wait for high season . . .

But don't worry - there are plenty more scams where that came from.

Please post any additional scams you're aware of if not on the list of scams below.

Here's one from Bangkok:

Beware the Bangkok taxi turbo meter

September 25, 2018

Taxi Turbo Meter: A woman who claims she fell victim to the latest “turbo taxi” scam in east Bangkok posted a video online of what appears to be a suspiciously hyperactive taxi meter.

Maneerat Mook Wko said she hailed the cab in Bangkok’s Ramkhamhaeng area Wednesday night and noticed the fare made several jumps within a matter of minutes, convincing her it must be rigged.

She said the final fare was more than 100 baht for the short ride.

Reached for comment, Land Transport Department chief Sanit Promwong said he had not seen the complaint but pledged to look into it and punish the driver if he’s guilty.

He advised people who encounter the scam to alert authorities via hotline 1584 at any time. Complaints don’t require a license plate number: noting the taxi ID on the door is enough evidence, Sanit said.

That's just one scam. Want more?

Update: Popular scams to avoid in South East Asia

September 25, 2018

When visiting unfamiliar places with language barriers and different customs, travelers often find themselves the target of unscrupulous individuals looking to take advantage.

Scams in Southeast Asia are no different; most are based around the naive trust of tourists who are enchanted by the people and the place they are visiting.

The only way to avoid to scams is to know about them in the first place. Here are a handful of common ripoffs to be wary of when traveling around Southeast Asia.

Beggars, Monks, and Students

Some popular scams in Southeast Asia which appeal to your humanitarian side include:

Some women in northern Thailand smear grime on their baby’s face, then walk around with an empty bottle asking for money.

Popular in Malaysia, men dress in Buddhist monk’s robes and roam the city asking for donations for their temples. If you want to donate, do so at the temple itself rather than through an individual on the street.

Young people claiming to be students that are no longer able to afford their education ask for money to stay in school. In Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, many claim to be art students attempting to sell their work – cheap imitation prints – in order to pay tuition.

Scams While Renting Motorbikes

Be cautious when renting motorbikes from shady businesses in Indonesia and Vietnam. One common scam is to be followed by someone from the rental company who also has a key to the lock provided with your scooter. Once parked, they steal it, requiring you to pay for the missing bike.

Less severe but equally as tricky, some rental companies will have someone put a scratch on the motorbike or disable the engine once it is left unattended. You will be required to pay an outlandish repair fee for the damages or to get it started again.

Always check a scooter closely for existing scratches before driving away from the rental lot.

Cheap and VIP Bus Tickets

Particularly common in the route between Thailand and Cambodia, bus companies advertise low fares to undercut their competition.

Once booked, the bus driver deliberately stalls until either the border crossing is closed or the ferry boats have stopped running. Conveniently, the driver knows a good guest house which is doing business with the bus company and deposits the entire lot of passengers there.

Paying to upgrade to “VIP” buses is chancy; many times these buses are conveniently “broken” and you wind up on the regular bus instead – with no refund in the fare difference.

Scams While Exchanging Money

Always exchange currency in legal establishments rather than with individuals on the street. In some countries even calculators have been fixed to display wrong information. Money is best exchanged away from borders where rates are inferior.

Never accept torn or damaged bills, these are usually pawned off on foreigners and are difficult to spend later. Always count the money yourself before walking away rather than letting someone else do it.

Visa Offices at Borders

In some places – such as near the Friendship Bridge between Thailand and Laos – drivers will take you to an office for processing the visa paperwork before you cross the border.

These offices offer no real value and use the same forms that are available to you for free at the actual border; save money by doing the same paperwork on arrival yourself.

Easy Ways To Get Rich

Some scams are more obvious than others, but unwary tourists still fall for them. Con-artists approach visitors, earn their trust, then during friendly conversation begin planting ideas for ways to make money in a country. Usually these business ventures sound simple enough, but if they worked wouldn’t the same guys be taking advantage already?

Walk away quickly anytime the words gemstones, cards, or exports are mentioned!

Tourist Information Offices

Offices designated with signs such as “tourist information” are rarely legit; they earn commission by sending tourists to restaurants and hotels that charge higher prices to pay the middle-men. Don’t believe when they tell you that a place you mention is closed, it probably isn’t in their network.

Never ask a driver for recommendations about restaurants or hotels, they will inevitably suggest a place with a higher price where they have family working or receive a commission.

Watch Out For the Drivers

Never trust the drivers in any country! Most scams happen near borders and at transportation hubs such as train and bus stations where only locals may know the correct fare to a place.

The best rule is to always agree on a price before getting inside of any wheeled vehicle; don’t be afraid to negotiate prices in Southeast Asia. Catching a ride from a smiling local may seem like an act of kindness until they demand money at the destination.

Even finding a “working” meter in a taxi may not mean that you are getting a fair price. Drivers regularly take the longest route or pass up hotels on “accident” so that you will be charged to go around the block

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#2 Re: Scams

Postby fountainhall » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:35 pm

I have had several scams with airport taxis over the years. All have been a result of rigged meters. Since I travel in and out of BKK a lot, the first time it happened, I had not been paying any attention to the meter. It was only when I was close to home after a late night arrival that I realised the meter was a good Bt. 150 more than it should have been. I argued with the taxi driver (I don't speak much Thai) and he insisted it was correct. Eventually I put the normal fare rounded up to the nearest Bt. 100 on the passenger seat and just left the taxi. Since my condo has a security guard, there was no trouble with the driver.

Since then I always pay attention to the meter. As I am normally coming in with little traffic, I know what the fare should be by the time the taxi gets to the left turn on to the expressway, by the time it gets to the first tollbooth and the Rama 4 turnoff. If the meter is clicking over faster than it should, I tell the driver his meter is fucked. That will always elicit the response "No!" I repeat my comment. If the driver persists, I make a show of using my phone to take a photo of the meter, the driver's ID, the taxi number and then lean forward to get a photo of his face. By that time - every time - he will either tell me to just pay what I normally pay, or switch off the meter altogether and say the same.

Once in the city I did have a dodgy meter. I informed the driver who said "No, no!" So I called the hotline and actually got someone who understood English. After hearing my complaint, he asked to speak to the driver. There was a slightly heated conversation after which he handed the phone back and turned off the meter. He'd drive me for free, he said.

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#3 Re: Scams

Postby Dodger » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:51 pm

I stopped at the watch repair guy who operates a stand right as you walk into Big C Pattaya Klang for a battery. The guy checked my watch and said the problem was not the battery it was some other miniature gizmo inside my watch which stopped working which would cost 1,200 THB to repair. I told him no thanks and asked him for my watch back. Before handing it to me he put his test meter on the battery again and said "oh, maybe you need a battery."" Without even asking me he proceeded to install a new battery which is when I stopped him and told him firmly that I wanted my watch back. He got openly angry and asked me what he should do with the new battery he had pulled out of a plastic sleeve. Once my watch was back in my hands I told him to stick it up his ass.

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#4 Re: Scams

Postby loke » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:36 pm

Plenty of nice "tourist guides" outside the Grand Palace, the same people as I saw there 10 years ago . Their official looking badge is not official , they are all working a scam operation , will tell you temple is closed etc.

They will use all the tricks in the book to persuade you to take a tuk tuk and it will be very cheap , of course it's all a lie.

Strange that the Thai government and Prayuth are not trying to get rid of the scammers, when you have all this armed security and many Wats nearby.

But a lot of money changing hands here.

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#5 Re: Scams

Postby fountainhall » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:18 am

loke wrote:They will use all the tricks in the book to persuade you to take a tuk tuk and it will be very cheap , of course it's all a lie.

The reason these scammers usually give is that the Grand Palace complex is closed or about to close for a special event. But not to worry. They will give you a cheap tour to see other parts of the city and be back just before the complex opens again. My sister fell for this some years ago. Many others still fall for it.

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#6 Re: Scams

Postby Gaybutton » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:44 am

fountainhall wrote:Many others still fall for it.

Of course. That's why they're still out there doing it. My guess is their favorite victims are people they have pegged as inexperienced travelers who are the most likely to be naive and fall for their bullshit.

The part on my "I Don't Get It" list is the police seem to do nothing about it, or at least nothing effective in putting a stop to it. Meanwhile, news reports constantly contain all about how the authorities are concerned that these kinds of scammer crooks hurt Thailand's "good image." Maybe they just don't worry about it quite enough . . .

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#7 Re: Scams

Postby tree » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:33 pm

When I visited the Grand Palace a few years ago, there where loudspeakers along the wall telling you that the GP is open and to ignore people who say its closed (something like that).

A woman explained to me that today is a special day and although the GP is open it will be extremely crowded and better visit it another day :)

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#8 Re: Scams

Postby Jun » Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:45 am

I read quite a lot about scams in Thailand and Cambodia before ever traveling to the region.
So on the first full day, when someone told me the grand palace was closed, I just smiled and said I will go anyway.

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#9 Re: Scams

Postby Gaybutton » Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:49 am

Jun wrote:I just smiled and said I will go anyway.

I wouldn't even do that. I wouldn't say anything or even smile. I would simply ignore him and walk on as if he didn't exist. Let him try it with the next person he thinks might be a potential victim.

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