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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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  • Hi, nice articles.

    Can I invite you guys to post your articles in in a facebook grpup and in a google plus community? Both are about Thailand and you are very welcome there.

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1183129375072339/

    G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/103795873465974591355

    Thanks!

  • Kondin Choeychom

    The last one though lol. My friend got a problem with the 2nd one too, The Farang price. She is half Thai-Canadian, and every time she goes to the museum or the zoo, they would charged her more. She would get so pissed off and curse them in Thai. She had to show her ID so that she got the Thai price. May I recommend fake IDs? I’m just kidding.

  • #kidding #notkidding ;-) I once went to the grand palace with the school I was working at as a volunteer. It was during the king’s birthday celebrations. 150 people in our group. I even wire the school shirt in pink to honor the king. 149 people got free admission, I had to pay 500something thb. Those incidents make me learn swear words faster though ;-)

  • Will check it out. Thx!

  • Thanks!

  • Haha

  • Aim Nitchakul

    No.2 happens everywhere not only in Thailand, but I also faced this problem in Ukraine. I had to pay higher price than the Ukrainian when I visited museum or the gallery as well.

  • Wow really? We could never do that in Germany. If we would do that in Germany people would call us racist.

    My dad lived in Spain and tourists also had to pay more there. However when you lived in that place, even as a foreigner, you would pay local price. In Thailand that is not the case. Even though I’ve been living here for a long time and can speak (somehow) Thai, I still have to pay an (often extremely) higher farang price. That’s at least my experience. But I’ve never been to Ukraine.

  • Ing Ptnl

    hahahaha all what you say are real.
    especially, Farang price!
    I used to see the situation like this and I think It is quite unfair to reach the price to all foreigner, well, I think if it happens to me, I would be pretty angry.

    By the way, I suggest you to avoid going to place like platinum mall because those drivers be like waiting merely for the foreigner, also not accept Thais and that’s really pissed me off!

    Also, they rise up the fair tooooo high, I would say.
    however, I still believe there would be some good driver in this country tho. ;o (please)

    fighting! ;3

  • Fully agree. I never take cabs from those tourist areas. I usually walk further away and then take a cab from somewhere more quiet. Overall I think I met more good than bad taxi drivers though :)

  • Karnchana Hongsirikun

    I brought my foreign friends to grand palace and they had to pay 500 bath each! I was a little bit shock since it is not a tiny amount of money compared to Thai’s price ( FREE ). I do get it though that we need the money from the tourists. Still I think that it is too unfair.

  • Atiwat Radsameekobkul

    My friend went to Pattaya last month and bought a snorkel from the shop. The shop tell him 800 baht but Thai people can buy it for just 200 baht. I think it is very unfair to Farang or foreigner. How would you feel if you go others country and face the same problem?

  • Jamie Chowpradith

    :-( This is scary true! As a Thai citizen, I do feel bad about these scams and racism. But well..it is how it is and that is just too bad. I understand that having foreigners around is an opportunity to gain profits but hey! We’re humans, we’re suppose to support each other, aren’t we? I noticed some of the tourism area charged them tourists by using Thai Numeric which is so unfair! I would recommend them to explain why they should pay a higher rate than the locals. Such, “tourism tax” maybe? yes, it sounds shady..but, it’s better than not explaining and simply just charge them extra money! Also, about text, love, buy topic, I’d say that it depends on people’s personality but also yes, most of the Thai girls are like that. They love talking to a western people especially when they’re white. Some of the Thai people have the belief that Western people or Farang are rich and they will be able to take care of the girl. It’s just a stereotype, though. This post was very well written! Thank you so much. I wish more of the Thai people will realize about this unfair acts in the near future and eliminate them to make everyone equal ! :-)

  • Beam Palakarn

    this is sad, but the truth is the truth and we can’t deny on that it was, and will continuously, happened in
    Thailand. In my experiences about the Farang Price’s topic, when I travel to another province, landmarks or so, I had always seen the sign says in Thai: kids 10 baht, adult 20 baht, with the Arabic numbers of course, but another sign says in English: kids 100 baht, adult 200 baht, with normal numbers. This totally annoyed me very much and it happen to almost every landmarks that I was visited. Hope they fix this unfairness soon.