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Published: July 2022
 Wetzkaz
Scams and rip-offs in Thailand
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Scams and rip-offs in Thailand

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One of them will certainly happen to you. Testimonials about typical rip-offs from recent years from holidaymakers and emigrants: If you know some, you save yourself a lot of trouble, because you can easily recognise them and give them a wide berth. This way you can save yourself the trouble that can ruin your day.
Scams and rip-offs in Thailand
Scams and rip-offs in Thailand
Scams and rip-offs in Thailand
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The term scam is used when a lie is told with which the scammer gains a financial advantage over the victim without providing anything in return or an overpriced, usually not equivalent, service in return. Most of the time, the scam is not obvious but cleverly staged and adapted to the victim. In the transaction, the victim receives no consideration or an unusually poor consideration. In the best case, the victim receives the expected consideration, but overpaid. Scammers in tourism mainly aim to relieve tourists of their cash. For example, they exploit the travellers ignorance about the country they are visiting.

TIP: If you think you are being ripped off, you can pretend to film everything, e.g. for Youtube. If something happens that the rip-off artist would be ashamed of, he will give up trying to rip you off because he doesnt want to "lose face". This also makes it easier to get your money back. But this does not always work. In a PingPong show, you must not film at all. I also have to warn you. Filming while you catch a rip-off artist in the act can very quickly make him aggressive.

Do not let yourself be ripped off. Even if its only a few euros here and there. The rip-offs add up. By doing so, you support these scams, which quickly turn out to be promising. The number of rip-offs is constantly increasing. With taxi rides, this has been normal for years. You will almost always be ed a price that is x times overpriced as a fixed price. There have been countless complaints in recent years that taxi drivers no longer drive at normal prices at all. They simply refuse your ride. Because the rip-off artists simply wait 10 minutes longer for the next ignorant tourist.
1. taxi + TukTuk + scooter
Normal price: 1-10 kilometres = 5.5 baht per kilometre
Rip-off price: 1-10 kilometres = 1000 Baht per kilometre

Example of a fixed price: From KhaoSan Road to the Grand Royal Palace
Start address = Khao San Road, Bangkok
Destination address = Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Distance = approx. 0.9 kilometres
Estimated travel time = approx. 3 minutes
Taxi price during the day = approx. 36.90
Rip-off price as fixed price = 1500

By far the most common rip-off in Thailand takes place countless times every day. It already starts at the airport. This problem has been going on for ages and there is little positive in sight. At least from the airport there have been official taxis for a while at a fixed price + tolls. Besides these official taxis with official prices, there are just as many black sheep.

You want to get from A to B, even if it is only a very short distance of 2 minutes, and the driver of the means of transport charges a price 10 to 1000 times higher than it would be usual. When a ride would cost only 1€, the driver charges 50€ (prices in baht) and the like. Taxi drivers charge overpriced fixed prices and refuse to turn on the taximeter. The fixed price which they try to rip off knows no limit. TukTuk drivers offering a ride worth less than 1€ will also charge 20 to 200€. Often even per person, instead of the usual total. If you are travelling in a group, you can easily be charged 300€ instead of the usual 2€ or similar. Be especially careful at tourist hotspots. There, the drivers coordinate with each other. So it makes no sense to ask the driver behind. He will e the same overpriced price. This applies to taxis, tuk-tuks and scooters all over the country. The solution is "Grab". There you can see the prices directly on your mobile phone. Grab taxis are not welcome by these local rip-off artists. That is why they are not so common yet. Grab suppliers, on the other hand, are already common. TukTuks are generally a bad solution for trips. However, for about 6€ you can get a ride within a radius of 1 kilometre. However, the probability that a price of 20€ or more will be charged first is very high. Trading is the solution here. You dont need to have a bad conscience, the normal price for locals is 10 times lower than the tourist price. However, a large number will not drive you to your destination, but to a "fake temple", a jewellery shop or a carpet shop (applies to Bangkok). It is agreed with the shop owners to unload the "stupid tourists" there in order to sell fake goods at rock-bottom prices. On boat trips in Bangkok, tickets are available for less than 1€ to get to the other side of the river. At the jetty to the boat, the scammers are already waiting and selling a tour that doesnt exist. No matter where you want to go or what you want to see, the scammer tells you that they will take you exactly there. Price 150€. Yes, 150 times more expensive than such a trip would cost. However, you are not driven to your desired destination, but are driven around the nearby area for up to 30 minutes, depending on the rip-off. You wanted to see the floating market and the small LongTailBoat takes you to a small fishing jetty for 150€. There is nothing to buy there, and certainly nothing to see. You can also get off in the middle of nowhere. A waste of time. Basically, if the price is high and has nothing to do with luxury, its a rip-off. In a luxury area, e.g. on a high-rise building with a view, a bottle of water can easily cost 8€. But if you are charged 8€ for a water in a normal restaurant on a street, it is probably a rip-off. It is the same with the small old converted motor scooters that have been turned into TukTuks. The price per kilometre would be 40 baht, even with a surcharge for tourists "only" 200 baht. But if you are charged even 2000 baht, you are really being taken for a ride.
2nd Patpong Permissive Show for Adults
Ping-Pong show? In the nightlife hotspots of Bangkok, Patong or Pattaya, you will be asked if there is interest in shows of various kinds. Watching is supposedly free of charge, the price of drinks, e.g. beer, is a little higher there but would be acceptable. At least that is how it is shown on the price list in the hands of the representative. Its still a rip-off.
If you are interested, the gentleman or lady who approached you walks in front of you. You follow the person to the entrance of the ping-pong show. If you enter now, you have lost. In the worst case, this is where your personal nightmare begins. You watch the show, which was quite interesting for the first few seconds. After 2 minutes youve actually had enough, you dont really need to have seen it, you think to yourself. But you finish your beer. Now you want to pay. You had a total of 1 beer. The lady comes with the bill: "180€" (prices in Baht), the lady says seriously and firmly.

Now you can complain and grumble, but the waitress hears this all the time. You pay 2€ for the beer as promised before (price list) but 178€ because you have seen the show briefly. You can only pay now, because the lady and 6 other gentlemen wont let you leave the dark shop before that. But you can take the bill with you if you succeed and would now have to have a loud discussion with the doorman. Only if you are loud enough and thus warn other potential victims with your shouting will the money be returned to you with growling. If you see a policeman, you can also talk to him instead of shouting. Sometimes it is enough to remain stubborn and threaten them with the tourist police. It doesnt always work, because corruption of the officers is possible. However, it is not worth getting involved in these offers. It destroys your good mood, is dangerous (violence + brawl) for you and getting your money back takes longer than you were in the show. It also doesnt matter how much muscle you have, how well dressed you are or even if you are in a larger group. It happens every day.
3. bill money fraud
Wherever there are many tourists and it is therefore hectic, there is at least one waitress or salesperson who tries to rip you off. In short, you get back less money than you gave. "Oops, I lost count". The TukTuk drivers in Bangkok are very fond of doing this at the Grand Palace. The driver says he cant give you the 1000 baht note and calls a colleague over. He is very talented at counting out the change while you watch. At the last moment, however, he pulls some notes away again. Impossible to see. The only thing that helps here is to count the money again yourself as soon as you have it in your hand. Happens all the time, but is rarely noticed by tourists. At the end of the day, you wonder where all the money went. The rip-offs add up.

But it starts inconspicuously in the small restaurant on KhaoSan Road. You have eaten and hand over a 1000 Baht note. The bill is 100 baht. You should now get 900 baht back. The waitress comes back and gives you the stack of "Monopoly money" (large banknotes). You do not count and pocket the money. However, you only got back 800 or 700. 100 have "disappeared". In the next few days you go to eat there a few more times. Each time the same game. After the 10th meal you notice it. Each time you have been cheated out of 100 baht. Unfortunately, you rarely notice it because you often dont want to count it out of charm. But I can assure you that Thai people count their change very carefully. There will be a reason for this.

Some of the rip-off artists claim that even if you pay with a 1000 baht note, you only gave them a 500 baht note. In the meantime, however, this only happens where drunken tourists are partying. Of course, this is then exploited.
4. beer tower fraud
The "Beer Tower" scam is a problem in KhaoSan Road and Patong nightlife. The large 3-litre jar actually holds only 2 litres of beer. Inside the glass is an even thinner glass. Only this one is filled with beer, the rest is ice and water. Even in the thinner beer tower, which should at least be full of beer, there is ice and water. So the 3 litres of beer ordered quickly become 2 litres. Better to order one beer mug each.
5. tour rip-off
The Grand Palace in Bangkok is the temple that pretty much every tourist in Bangkok visits at some point. On the way there, you will be asked where you want to go. Or you ask a taxi driver if he could take you there. In both cases you are told that the temple is closed today or that you cannot go in because you are wearing shorts. Then an alternative tour is suggested to you. First to temple A then temple B etc. In fact, you end up at several rip-offs. The first temple is a small hut where more rip-offs are already waiting for you. From investments to fake gold jewellery, you can be ripped off there. Most often you end up in a tailors shop for suits. In addition to defective products, you also pay an often overpriced price. You did not see the temple at first. It is important to find out in advance whether the temple can be visited (opening hours), as well as the approximate distance and direction. Google Maps is very helpful here. Also, the ticket for the temple or the attraction should only be bought at official places, namely at the attraction itself. That means at the entrance. A train ticket is only bought at the station or at one of the travel agencies. People who intercept you on the way there are scammers.
6. damage to the scooter
If you rent a vehicle in Thailand, be it a motor scooter, jet sky, car or boat, it is best to document all scratches and damages in the rental contract. In a rip-off, you will be held responsible for damage that you did not cause. The claim is often 1000€, 2000€ and more. Most of the time, the victim almost despairs and the rip-off artist settles for 100€. No matter how much, it is a bad experience. It is really no fun to insist and nag about having the previous damage documented in the rental contract, but there are many black sheep. The best thing to do is to take a video or photos with your mobile phone while the landlord is watching. If he sees you snapping and filming, he may not even try. Be especially careful with JetSkys. In Pattaya you can rent them for half an hour each. However, they are hired out for the sole purpose of ripping you off with trumped-up damages. The same rip-off artists have been sitting on the beach for years and you constantly hear loud discussions. Unfortunately, the policeman gets a small commission in the worst case. Calling the police does not always help. In the end, you are forced to pay 500€ to a fraudster.
7. theft
If you very obviously leave valuables lying around, they will also be stolen. This happens on the beach while you go into the water and leave your wallet on the sun lounger. This happens when you put your mobile phone on the table in a nightclub or other evening entertainment and go to the toilet. This happens when, on a bus trip, you all leave the bus during a pee break.

Tip: You should only ever take as much cash with you as you roughly need for the one day or evening.
Tip: Do not take credit cards or even your entire wallet with you to the beach or to the discotheque. Withdraw cash at the ATM and then bring the credit card back to your hotel room.
Tip: Take a second, possibly your older or cheaper mobile phone with you. Preferably one without personal pictures and logins to bank and email.

If you are unlucky and lose your mobile phone or wallet, everything is only half as bad. That way nothing can go wrong.

The fact is that its not necessarily the locals who are the thieves. It is not uncommon for other tourists to be lying at the table or on the beach lounger next door.

Tip: Do not leave any valuables lying around. Neither on the beach nor in the hotel room.

There are also official rip-offs. The entrance fees to national parks and attractions. For example, there MuayThai boxing stadium in Bangkok. 180 Baht for Thais. 2000 baht for foreigners.

8. Overpriced

Always exercise some caution in tourist hotspots. If you drink more than 2-3 beers, they will quickly try to take advantage of your drunken state by presenting you with a bill for more drinks than you actually ordered. So on the bill, 4 beers can easily turn into 6 beers.
What ALWAYS happens is that the bar girls try to get lady drinks from you. This is of course justified. The ladies are in the bars for your entertainment. Drinking and playing games together. In return, a lady drink can be bought for that lady. The lady receives a commission from this. But the prices are steep. About 200 baht for the ladys drink, whereas your own beer costs only 60 or 80 baht. The rip-off starts when they ask for such a drink right after you have sat down. And then another one for the girlfriend and another one for the barmaids boss. After 60 seconds the lady drink is gone and they ask again and so on and so forth. That would be 1200 Baht (33 €) in 2 minutes. Your relaxed beer will then cost you a whopping 35€ instead of 2 €. Ladydrink = tequila, beer, juice, doesnt matter which, 200 Baht per drink.

9. Looking for a partner

After a party and non-committal togetherness, it often develops into something more. In Thailand, this mainly concerns men travelling alone. In particular, the relationship with female partners who work in tourist strongholds develops in the majority of cases on the part of the man of a relationship. At the latest when returning to the home country, contact with the lady is still sought. Messages are written and the second holiday is already planned. This leads to financial support for the lady. The reasons are usually the same. The average salary in Thailand is much lower than in Europe. This means that with the salary of the foreigner a good life in Thailand would be possible. Thus, from the Thai ladys point of view, it is a logical step to expect financial support. Because the foreigner has the money, that is the general assumption. The man hopes for a relationship and often love from this. The lady, in addition to possible love, a lasting financial support. No one would object to the man-woman image where the man is the provider. The danger is that the lady is playing to the man, for the sole purpose of another source of money. "Further source of money" is the brazen thing in this case. For it is not improbable and also not to be blamed on the lady that she makes eyes at several men in the same period. Of course, the freshly in love gentleman knows nothing about the other gentlemen. In quite a few cases, this kind of holiday relationship between a man and a lady develops in the red light district. Which in turn means that the man is well aware that there can be many physical relations between the lady and other men. Furthermore, the work of the lady is usually not an easy one and the lady does not want to do this work forever. Therefore, there is obviously the possibility to replace the salary from the bar and to pay the lady this amount so that she does not have to work there anymore. These monthly payments are a well-intentioned gesture in love. The man is then ripped off when there are several men who make this monthly payment, all in the belief of a regular monogamous relationship.

10. Medicines

There are things that are not worth your money. Do not buy medicines on the street from private persons. These people sell a small number of different medicines which they sell on a portable tablet. In Bangkok, they are street vendors similar to a flea market. Basically, you have to store medicines in a cool and dry place. This destroys the effectiveness of the medicines. The origin of the medicines is as questionable as the ingredients. Please buy medicines only from pharmacies.

11. roses

In tourist areas, especially at evening hours, you will come across flower and rose sellers. Mostly females, female sellers. In quite a few cases underage children. Please do not buy flowers from these children. The sympathy ploy is common. Even though there may be a sad fate behind it, the child has to pass the money on to a third person. Who the third person is is always unclear. But here we are dealing with criminal gangs. Through your financial support, only more children are "persuaded" or even forced to sell objects to tourists on the streets at night. The same goes for jewellery, like glow-in-the-dark ribbons at parties, hair ties on beaches, etc.

12. Are the beach vendors scammers?

No. This is a private person. The prices are of course overpriced, but within reason. They sell ice cream, drinks, food like melon etc., towels and water toys. All are normal products that the beach vendors have bought themselves from the nearest supermarket. If the way to the next restaurant or supermarket is too far for you, you are welcome to buy something from them. Note, however, that if you buy from pushy people, word will get around quickly and more locals will try to sell in an annoying way.

13. street food

Street food in Thailand means a private vendor of pre-prepared food on small tables that have been converted into a rolling handcart with a roof. These carts can be found everywhere in Thailand. They usually serve fried food or typical dishes like PadThai (noodle dish). With a few exceptions, the prices are very low. Be careful with fish, fried food or other perishable food. It is important to know that the goods as well as the oil for frying or the fat for deep-frying are always used for several days at a time. After closing time, oil and fat are each poured into a bucket and reused the next day. Stomach problems cannot be ruled out, although this does not have to be any different in restaurants.

14. hotel - online booking

Every hotel has at least one room that is worse than the others offered. Be it by a bad location to the noisy main street or with a view to the wall of the neighbouring hotel or a bit smaller etc.
If you book a hotel room on an online platform and the "bad" room is not already taken, it is not unlikely that you will get the room. If it is a special offer from Agoda, Booking, etc. then the probability increases even more. Unfortunately, this cannot be avoided. But this is only sometimes noticeable. This also sometimes explains the different opinions about a hotel.

If you only book in high season and do not pay in advance, you may well have bad luck on arrival. The manager will tell you that unfortunately everything is occupied. The reason is that a hotel guest has extended his stay. The hotel manager prefers the paying customer to the reservation. In Thailand, the general principle is that its better to earn 10 euros now, but it doesnt matter what happens tomorrow. However, it is not completely incomprehensible, because quite a few reservations are not cancelled, but the guest who made the reservation never shows up.
Scams and rip-offs in Thailand
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Scams and rip-offs in Thailand
Source: own research, Image: urf/ indivstock
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Scams and rip-offs in Thailand
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Scams and rip-offs in Thailand
Scams and rip-offs in Thailand
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