Be a victim of a swindle in foreign country can ruin your holiday. Be aware of the most common scams you meet during your trip in South-East Asia and don’t get spoiled the time of your life…
- A Taxi driver in Thailand drops your money, then claims you gave him 10.000 Baht, not the 100.000 bill, now under his seat.
- While chatting with you, the cashier slips counterfeit bills into your change…
- A woman spills a drink on you. While sopping up the stain, she grabs your phone.
- A man steers you to a shop where he says “you will get a great deal”. Instead you pay inflated prices – perhaps for fake products – and he gets a cut.
- A woman warns you about pickpockets in the area. You pat your wallet, reassured it’s still there, unwittingly showing her partner in crime where you keep it!
- Your guide tells you the temple is closed and offers to take you on a cheap tuk-tuk tour. Instead he drives you to his friend’s shop.
- An agent tells you, your hotel is overbooked, then takes you to a “sister” hotel, which turns out to be more expensive and not nearly as nice, than the one you booked
- A cute kid comes up to you and ask in good english for few dollar to buy books for school. As you refuse to give him the money, he will take you to the book store and there you will purchase the book for him. Few minutes after, the child returns to the store and sells the item back. The shop staff takes a cut, as does the cartel organising this scam all over the town. This encourages them to stay away of school and keep “stealing”.
- When visiting Bangkok, you may get approached by “local guide” who use’s King’s Birthday as an excuse for sight closures and will try to take you on a “shopping trip” instead. Thai King’s Birthday is only once a year on December the 5th!
- Avoid taxis without meters, or with “broken” meters. If you are left with no choice, negotiate the price before entering the vehicle or placing your luggage inside. Beware of the taxis in airports as well, as they cost more than taxis outside.
Do not reveal too much personal details and definitely do NOT take any offers from the driver!
What to do
- Use GPS in Google Maps in txt or tuk-tuk so you know which direction you going. You don’t need a local SIM or Wifi. Business card or written address of your hotel is also handy to have.
- Be firm and insist that your initial hotel reservation is valid as you original room is likely to be available. If not, find your own alternative
- If you are uncomfortable, simply walk away. Your tout may follow you for a while. Ignore him and he will soon turn to easier targets
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are more likely to pick a helpful citizen from the crowd than to choose someone with criminal intent
- If your belongines have one missing, you can report this to local tourist police. However, little can be done if you have no clear evidence if the theft or scam
- Always check your money, esp. currency you are not familiar with and don’t carry too much cash with you.
- Colour copy of you passport will become very helpful once you loose your passport.