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Scams In Thailand

If you've lived in Thailand long enough 99.9% chance that you have been scammed. You may not even realize or know that you've been scammed either. Because Thai people are great at fooling you, even making you believe it was your fault you got scammed, people here can be devious. You might even think that it's only Thai's that are scamming you too but don't be fooled. There are plenty of foreigners involved in Scams in Thailand.

Some of the greatest scams in Thailand are those that have involved foreigners while the Thai's tend to lend themselves to petty scams.

Thai owned scams

Fake tour bus scam

This is my most hated scam of all in Thailand just because it's been going on for so long now no one has found out who did it. A bunch of tour operators in Kao san road must be being the scam that involves selling bus tickets to Chiang Mai for less then 400 baht. Everyone thinks it's a deal and they all get picked up right there on kao san road no need to go anywhere it's a bloody deal mate! That is until they pack their ipads into their luggage only to be dumped off at a gas station outside of town (i've been on the bus before but nothing was stolen at least of mine cause i didn't keep anything in the luggage). But many other people do, no one knows anything about the bus and the crime goes unnoticed. The little Thai guy that goes through 50 backpackers bags pulls out all sorts of cameras, phones, money, passports you name it! Don't get stung by this and go to the damn bus station!

Fake or blatantly criminal Tour operators

This is the most expensive scam, and why you shouldn't book anything at a tour operator, especially high ticket items. I've heard hundreds of people have booked an airline ticket through an agency, only to get to the terminal to find that they have no ticket, they have to pay for a flight because they have no time left to go back to the agent hence they get away with it. Another tour scam is to open a front shop wait to get enough customers then in their busiest time book everything a week in advance and just leave, this happens a lot.

Tuk Tuk Free Trip Scam

There are many variations of the Tuk Tuk scam, the most well known is the free ride scam where a Tuk Tuk driver will say he'll take you anywhere for free, but you end up driving around to a bunch of Tailor shops so he can get a commission just for bringing you to the door. You won't see anything interesting but you'll be stuck in the back of a Tuk Tuk for a few hours.

Take you to the wrong place scam

Another scam Tuk Tuk drivers like to pull along with Taxi drivers is to take you somewhere completely different to where you want to go in order to gauge you when they actually do take you where you wanted to go often blaming you for telling them something different.

Tuk Tuk Drug Scam

A scam that could end you up in jail maybe even dead is the dreaded Tuk Tuk Drug Scam. This kind of scam isn't as common as most but does certainly happen. Actually the only time you ever really hear about this kind of scam happening is when something goes terribly wrong and someone dies like this poor fellow. How it works is a tourist hits up a Tuk Tuk driver for drugs, or possibly the Tuk Tuk Driver is looking for customers and asks everyone for marijuana. Someone takes the bait and a minute after buying the drugs the cops show up and find the drugs and take you to the police station. Typically he will hit you up for a bunch of money by taking you to a safe location for him where he can try get some money out of you before you go to the station, it'll be a lot of money and you're so happy to pay. I know of a certain popular expat this had happened to and he paid 30,000 baht to get out of it. If you don't have money on you it'll go to the station and you'll need 10 maybe twenty times that to get out of it. Don't pay up and you end up in jail.

Dual Price Scam

Two price system or dual pricing is not exactly a scam but it feels like racism. Charging foreigners up to 10 times the amount of the normal ticket feels like your being cheated. Often the signs are clearly racial even clubs get in on the act letting some foreigners (Asians) in free and white or black people have to pay.

Karaoke Scams

These scams can happen at any type of karaoke or gentleman's clubs in Thailand there are many variations but the most profitable is to bring in drinks you didn't order or have girls take a sip of one drink then have the server order another immediately.

Marriage Scam

The oldest scam in the book and the amount of guys seeking romance in Thailand it's easy to see how it continues to be a problem. The marriage scam is not always intentional either, but the scum sucking bitches who actually go out their way to do this are trash and honestly if you didn't see it in the first place well suck shit. The girls who i've known to do this over and over again are beer bar girls in their later twenties early thirties and speak English fairly well. They will fuck you and do make you feel like a god meanwhile asking you for $70,000 Sin Sod (Thai Dowry). Sometimes they will just go through the whole wedding before splitting but if she gets the money sooner you won't even make it to the wedding.

Wet napkin scam

This one annoys the hell out of me because it's just sly. I've only seen this scam at open seafood restaurants of Pattaya, Phuket, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai. After eating your mean the waitress will come up to you with a plastic wrapped wet towel. She will come straight to the table right in front of you and open the plastic. Now right away you think well she wouldn't open it if i had to pay for it right? Think about it, noones going to come up to you with a beer open it in front of you and present one to everyone at the table. After cleaning your hands you get a bill with an extra 200 baht or more for wet towels you thought were free.

Foreigner Owned Scam

Dating Site Scams

This scam is my favorite scam because i know several people who have done it before and it really worked. A foreigner uses his girlfriends photos online and posses as a distressed young Thai girl needing an older man to take care of her, a few emails later and the scammer convinces the guy that she is going to go meet him in Chiang mai Bangkok or wherever the person they are scamming is located. The only problem is she has no money for the bus so can he wire her a few thousand? Need a phone call for proof no problem, the scammer gets his girlfriend to call to close the deal, the guy is now convinced and sends the money to her bank account. Sound familiar? And it works really good as their is an abundant supply of guys in Thailand looking for cheap thrills and the thought of sending a young school girl bus money to go meet then for a weekend is something that appeals. The girl will never show up though and you'll be left wondering what happened. What's funny about the guys who get scammed is when the girl calls after they have sent the money and tells them that her friend wants to come too can you send money for her too they almost always send more.

Boiler Rooms

These are big operations and I suspect there are more than 100 groups working in Thailand mostly because of there theft by phone laws make it easier to conduct. Not all the people they target are in Thailand either, many live overseas and are being conned out of big money. Call enough people and you'll find some idiot who is willing to hand over 100 g's for a chance of a lifetime opportunity.

Timeshare scams

Another big scam going around that Foreigners are becoming apart of is the Timeshare Scam in Thailand. Where they are bleeding millions of unsuspecting tourists.

Romance Scams

So the Thai's have the marriage scam well we have the marriage scam in fact so many guys are scamming now that there's a group of Thai ladies out there actively involved in a Thai Anti Scam movement. Basically the guy develops a relationship with a woman online who he is preparing to come and marry the lady. On arrival at the airport the unsuspecting victim get's a phone call from a Thai lady who sternly informs the lady that the guy needs help paying for custom duties to enter the country. She wires 30-50,000 baht after some convincing then they are never heard from again. The Thai Anti scam movement even have a phone app that blocks the con artists from calling.

Jet Ski Scam

Notorious in Pattaya the Jet ski scam even has a dedicated website here. Also has 27,000 results on google for the same thing. Basically they cover up the existing damage with something that'll fall off or erode while you're riding it, then when you get the jet ski back to the beach you have all this damage that you didn't know existed. Now you have to pay, don't even bother asking for the cops to help either, who do you think they are going to believe?

How to not get scammed in Thailand

If you go to Thailand there is a 100% chance that someone is going to scam you out of your money, you need to be sharp and on your toes and just like back home, treat strangers as strangers. You wouldn't give a total stranger total trust your money nor should you when you travel to Thailand. Don't get totally drunk you can't walk either. Just keep your wits about yourself.

The best advice i can give you is "ask the price of everything". Before you buy a drink "ask the price". Before you go with the lady "ask the price" before you get in a tuk tuk "ask the price" before you buy anything or use any service "ask the price". Some scams lead off other purchases kinda like an upsell on clickbank. Scrutinize everything before you commit to pretty much anything. Also if it's too cheap to be true, it's probably not.

Have you been scammed in Thailand? How did it happen? What other scams did i miss?

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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.

7 Responses to Scams In Thailand

  1. John Metcalfe December 11, 2013 at 2:11 am #

    Myself and 2 friends on our first visit to the resort of Patong on the island of Phuket got ripped off in the first bar we visited on bangle road. We walked in and was shown to a seat and asked what we would like to drinkl cause there was a ping pong show about to start..

    I ordered 3 bottles of Chang beer as it was my round and when the drinks arrived was told that the bill for 3 chang was 1,200 baht which is about £24 ($39)

    When i questioned the price they produced a board with all the beer prices on and chang was 400 baht each bottle. Then a few thai male bouncers who worked for the bar appeared who put pressure on me to pay the inflated rip off price

    We decided to pay up and move on to the next bar and make sure in the next bar the price of the beers before ordering. Apparantely this is a well known scam to rip off first time visitors to Patong

    Take note


  2. chad byers July 19, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    preety thi women graps my hand pulls me into bar top soi 8 pattay buy me a drink buys drink then other play pool more drinks i shout then a watere shot drink next it get up dance dance then spew out like a light on the couch wake up outside hotel room with girls takin me home not shore if took money some still in pocket ,other blokes say stay out beer bars so its takeaways from 7 eleven and beach rd

  3. davo August 17, 2015 at 2:36 am #

    Well, when I was in samui I had a brass, and she was paying for me……. “work that one out” And thats the truth.

  4. KennyN March 17, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    The shittiest part of this is Thailand’s econemy basically depends on foreigners and tourism and they treat them all like shit… Go down Khaosan Road… it feels like every vender there hates you… They act like they dont even want you as their fucking customer… When their whole livelihood depends on your foreign money!!!

    Same thing with the taxis and tuk tuks… They act like they hate you, like they are better than you, especially around the tourist places… While also asking you for 500 or 1000 baht to go 2 km down the road…. So these motherfuckers sit and wait at khaosan rd for 3 hours to rip off 1 farang for 1000 baht to go down the road to his hotel… and they treat him like shit while doing it. I also how they get so fucking pissed off when you ask them for meter… Or even offer them a super reasonable price to go home… Where a meter will be like 80 baht but I offer them 150 and they literally tell me to fuck off.

    These people need a serious fucking reality check.

    As for scams… The tour shop scam hit me once in Chiang Mai, never heard of this one before it happened, but caught on really quick and told him to take me the fuck home.

    Wet napkin happened to me so long ago I cant remember where… Was with a Thai girl as well… got us both. Those dirty fucking cunts.

  5. Alex April 13, 2016 at 7:52 am #

    99.9%? I’ve lived in Thailand for over 1-2 years in the different parts of it and never been scamed by any trick you’ve described here.

  6. Sky March 22, 2018 at 10:05 pm #

    Beautiful Thailand, the land of smiles!

  7. William MacCormac February 10, 2019 at 1:15 am #

    Not a scam, but something to be v careful of.. the motorbike bag snatch. This usually happens late at night, after closing time. The thief will be positioned, already knowing someone will be walking home thru that dark soi pissed as a fart. Sometimes they will strike you on the head.
    To avoid this scam, avoid dark sois as best you can, keep your bag secure after hours, on the inside, not hanging loosely off your shoulder. Just keep your wits about you.

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