Every since www.bangkokscams.com started up, the site has been flooded with reports (3 today!) and a lot of them, since they’ve stirred folk’s anger have been popular with commenteers. More so in fact than www.thai-blogs.com. After receiving so much feed back, we have decided to do something about it and started investigating some of the reports. The first of which last week led to a waitress getting fired from her job on Khao Sarn Rd, she’s moved to another restaurant doing the road, but we’ll be on her shins soon. Using a couple of contacts, we had also decided that for more serious scams, to get the cops in on the action. All reports, of course, have to be verified as true as possible before we’re gonna get involved. The waitress above had, according to colleagues, a history of cheating.
So, just for a bitta practical fun and worthy advice, I’ve decided to write up on some ‘beating the scammers’ hints and also some on ‘scambaiting’ techniques. If you haven’t the faintest to what scambaiting is, it is in fact when you turn the tides and the scammer ends up the victim, serving them right or as they say in Thai ‘Som nam nah’.
There are loadsa variations to how these scams work, but I’ll write the script for the more popular ones
Scambaiting the Scammer 10 Baht Tuk-Tuk driver, Cheating Indian Tailor and Over-Priced ‘Supposed’ Government Jewelry Store.
Now, this is really easy and it can be quite a bitta fun. After your tuk-tuk driver has explained that the Grand Palace is closed due to repair or some other bull story and advises you to visit The Big Buddha or Lucky Buddha Temple for the likes of 10 baht, just say ‘Sounds Great!’ So, after seeing a couple of mediocre temples, your scamming your thieving scruffy tuk-tuk driver will lie to you about getting fuel coupons if you pop into a tailors shop for 10 minutes (he gets commission whether you buy or not but you have to look a bit interested or the tailor will think the tuk-tuk driver is trying to scam him!!). After walking in the shop, the pot-bellied tailored will ask if you would like a coffee, advised him that you would prefer a beer and make it quick. If you’re lucky you’ll get one. Next, when he gives you a set of greasy catalogues to look at, seem interested but explain that you are living on a budget of 250baht a day and anyway you don’t need a suit as you a student back home. Then, just for cheek of it, ask for another beer.
After you get booted out the door, the tuk-tuk driver will be well pished-off that he didn’t get any commission. Next up, he will be saying that to get his ‘fuel coupons’, you will have to pop into a phony ‘government’ jewelry store. On arrival you will be approached by a nice polite womn who will offer you a drink, sure you can get a free beer and perhaps two here. In the meantime, flirt with the girl for fun and keep the tuk-tuk geezer waiting for half an hour while you are having a laugh. Next, while walking around with the sales woman, pretend you’re more interesting in taking her to a discotheque or even a hotel room for a quick bonk than you are of buying gems.
After you leave the shop, your tuk-tuk driver is gonna be completely pished-off! No commission again for bringing in a couple of sex-tourist drunkards. Tell him to get lost and hail over a taxi otherwise you will call the police.
Scambaiting/Beating the Scamming Scummer Airport Taxi Drivers
When walking out of arrivals and some scammer tout comes up to you and offers you an over-priced taxi into town – no meter of course, just say ‘Sounds Great!’ On the way downtown, ask your idiot taxi driver to stop off at a couple of 7-11s (spend 10 minutes each time looking around, wasting his time) and then at a garage for the toilet. All this time, the scammer will be getting pished-off and perhaps put the fair up, if so just reply ‘Sounds Great, no worries Mr Isarn!’. On arrival at the hotel, jump screaming out of the taxi shouting ‘Scammer, refused to turn the meter on!’ The driver is in trouble here, he has nothing over you. If the hotel security guard calls the police in, he could get a heavy fine even arrested. Afraid of this, he will ask how much you wanna pay. Agree to 200 Baht, that will do – if you are in a stinking mood, just refuse to pay altogether. Unfortunately for him, he’s gotta give the tout at the airport who found you a 100 Baht commission.
Beating the Private Jewelry Stores
There are variations to this worst-of-the-worst scam, but I’ll stick to one of the more popular. You have just got out of The Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Erawan Shrine and you are approached by a well-dressed man (may be a woman even). After acting all kind and perhaps taking you for a drink, he then explains to you that he is in the jewelry business and knows where you can buy amazing bargain gems (often to sell for a profit to his brother’s shop in the likes of London). And these scammers are selling big – you invest 50,000 and sell them on to their make-believe partner shop abroad for 70,000!. You end up buying crap quality gems that would cost the fraction of the cost back home. If you are dumb enough to buy/invest in them, go to the tourist cops straight away with your receipt, there’s a chance you’ll get your money back. Sorry, but like one guy who posted on BangkokScams, there is no way you’re gonna get a refund if you find out back home. The Thai Embassy can do nowt on your behalf. If the tourist cops are slow or uninterested go to the Tourist Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Head Office on Phetchaburi Road and explain the scam to them. The TAT loathes these jewelry scammers and they’ll be on the phone to the tourist cops telling them to get their backsides into gear. For a complete list of these scamming scheming swindling shops see www.2bangkok.com
Beating the Scamming Restaurants (this advice was given to Bangkokscams by the police)
If your scamming smelly tuk-tuk driver advises a delicious seafood restaurant, just say ‘Sounds Great!’ You will be given a menu with no prices on it. Order loadsa food and enjoy. In the meantime spot where the Thai language menus are kept. When you have finished eating, you will be given a bill for an extortionate amount of money. Refuse to pay before you see a menu with the prices on (perhaps see if the Thai language menu has prices on it). In the event the boss threatens to call in the police, say you don’t care and tell them you know the law. The law states that all menus in Thailand must have the prices written in them (owner has theoretically broken the law). If there is no price in them, that means the food doesn’t cost anything! The owner has nothing over you, if the cops come, explain that your Police Colonel friend had explained the law to you while he was holidaying in England a couple of months ago. The cops will believe your connection as otherwise they wouldn’t believe you know about such law. Finally, the cops will probably ask you to pay the equivalent (may be cheaper even) of the usual price elsewhere.
Go-go Bar Scam
You are walking along Patpong Road and some pathetic looking tout invites you to an a go-go bar upstairs performing ping-pong, darts and horny snake shows. You are told a beer is a 100 baht, but when you get the bill it is for 1,500 (tout downstairs forgot to tell you there was a huge cover charge). The scammers in there are violently dangerous, don’t get into a fight (a Japanese guy was murdered a few years ago in one of those bars). Tell them politely that you need a receipt to get your money back from the company (entertainment expenses). Act dumb and play it nice, like it’s not your money they are ripping off. Outside, go straight to the tourist cops, there is a good chance you will get your money back.
Anyway, if you do want to see such a sinful show (or any a go-go bar that is) only go into one that is managed by King’s Group Co. Ltd. All there bars have a huge plaque outside saying so. King’s Group upstairs a go-gos are the only non-scams on Patpong. Their downstairs a go-go are also by far and away the best.
Card Game Scam
You are at Chatuchak Weekend Market and approached by a middle aged women (perhaps man). After befriending you she invites you to play cards (she knows how to cheat). At first you win loads but after that you lose it all. Sorry buddy, the cops can do nothing – gambling is illegal and you’ll end up getting fined a 1,000 baht. Anyway, serves you right for trying cheat in the first place.
(For men only) Beating the Scamming Scheming Ladies of the Night who Claim they are ‘Proper’ Thai Ladies (this advice was given to Bangkokscams by the police)
You are in Khao Sarn Road or Ratchadaphisek and some girl comes to chat you up. She claims she is a hair-dresser or office worker etc…. (This makes her even worse than a bar-girl as she’s not admitting she’s working the game) If she asks you to a hotel and you fancy her, state which hotel you want to go to. Ensure beforehand that the hotel requires you to check in with ID. Inform the scammer that you didn’t bring your passport and tell her to check-in with her ID Card. That means she has invited ‘you’ to her room and she is entitled to no financial compensation (that’s what they call it in Thailand to get around the law and prostitution). She can do absolutely nothing.