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3 common scams in Thailand

Scams are rather common here in Thailand and while it is easy to see and hear foreigners complain about being scammed by Thais we should not forget that Thais also scam Thais. Just as it happens in probably any other country as well. Since we’re an English speaking magazine though we simply focus on some of the most typical scams that could involve English speakers in the hopes to raise some awareness towards those issues.

1.) Text, Love, Buy

It’s just another lonely Sunday afternoon and you spend it, as usual, with one of those famous Thai dating websites & applications. Yes, come on, be honest, we all know you’re on there. Thaifriendly, Thai cupid, Thai love whatever. Don’t be ashamed. Thailand is the country with more women on those sites then men so to use a quote from Indiana Jones (in a paragraph about dating, props to me for that): You have chosen wisely.

So what happens next? You read through all those ‘you so sweat na’ messages and you eventually end up finding one that doesn’t look and sound like a hooker off the bat. Great. You talk a bit back forth and start to like her. Yay! You stay up late at night or wake up super early to get the chance to skype with her. And before you know actually know what’s happening she tells you that she likes you very much and probably even, shall I dare say it, loves you. OMG! You know it sounds crazy and you never thought that could happen since you know all those other creeps just using the internet for bullshit and hook ups but this girl is the real deal! You’re in love!

You save up all your money, fly to Thailand to meet your one, true love. She’s funny, beautiful, caring and even introduces you to her friends and ‘family’ (everybody here seems to be a brother or sister, but whatevs. You’re in love!). At nights she lets you do all the stuff that you want while making noises that you have only heard on adult websites (that are banned in Thailand, so how would she know how that should sound like) before. It’s awesome and you fall in love even more!

After two weeks of seeing life through purple glasses your honey says she hates the idea of you leaving her. You promise to come back and to find a job here and to make her happy. She smiles and says she can’t wait for it to happen. So since you’re already planning a future together why don’t you buy some land here so that she can start building a house and a home for the two of you while you’re back home and once you’re back it’ll be ready to move in. Sounds like a plan, right? Just too bad that you can’t own land here all by yourself since you’re only a foreigner. Bu they! Your girl can! Great idea! So you buy land (or a condo or whatever) in her name so that she’s the official owner. You now got your love nest ready! Yay!

Now there are two options at this point of your love story. You found a girl that still has some heart left. She will send you to the airport, wave goodbye and will only change her skype account later on or, you wake up the next morning, she’s gone and for some reasons her telephone number and line account don’t seem to work anymore. After a few days of crying you try to either go to or contact the police and tell them that her name is “Ploy” (typical Thai nickname) and that she’s ‘very cute and lovely’ and that she has an older brother (who probably isn’t her brother, but you might have figured that out by now). The police tells you they’ll do their best to find something out about it (which means they couldn’t care less since your just one more of those stupid Farangs that fell into the Thai love scam trap). But at least you’re not alone! Just check the Thai Visa forum for others that suffered the same fate and start posting hateful comments about Thailand. You’re home.

2.) Farang Price!

This one still pisses me off since you can’t avoid it. You’re farang (foreigner) and you’ll pay more. Almost everywhere. Dual pricing is what officials call it, f..k you is what I call it. Temples, taxis, food….depending on where you are (the more touristy, the more likely you’ll pay more) you will always have to pay more. The only way to avoid it: Be prepared to negotiate and to walk away from whatever you were looking to purchase. You always gotta think about whether something is worth the extra price or whether walking away and not having / seeing it would be a valid option as well.

3.) Flip reverse. Foreigners scam Thai girls

Now that we covered the two most common scams that Thais play on foreigners (with the Farang price thing happening in all shapes and sizes and locations) it’s also worth noting that foreigners aren’t always the poor victims. Thai news very often still show reports of Thai girls being scammed out of substantial amount of money by foreign scammers. That, quite often, sounds a bit like the ‘Nigerian Prince’ scam and makes you shake your head when hearing it.

Very often it’s like mentioned in 1.) just vice versa. Thai girl gets to know foreigner online, they talk. All is well and good until….he gets naked and…oh no wait. That’s something else. Also disgusting though. The scam however usually involves the foreigner being all complimenting and lovely towards the Thai girl that only wants to find real love from abroad. He promises her to visit her soon but until he can make it, he will send her a lot of gifts. To show his admiration those gifts usually are ‘very expensive and valuable’, of course! After all he is not only prince charming but also super wealthy. So at some point he will then approach the Thai girl that is blinded by love and promises and will tell her that he sent all the gifts that he promised but for some reason they are stuck at customs! Maybe because they are too valuable. Luckily however the customs officers agreed to pass the packages on in return of a ‘small’ bribe / fee. So if she could only pay 10k – 20k THB onto this Bank account…………everything will be fine and the presents worth 100k+ THB will be delivered straight to her home.

Just strange that right after she transfers the money his skype and facebook accounts stop existing. Hm. Must be coincidence. The gifts will certainly arrive soon….

4.) Special extra entrance just for you my friend

She might not be a ‘she’ ;p

3 Common Scams in thailand infographic
3 Common Scams in thailand infographic

 

Sascha Funk

Founder / Editor at My-Thai.org
Sascha is the publisher of my-thai.org and switched from an online marketing agency life in Europe to a teaching and education life in Thailand. He also writes about Teaching & Technology.

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