Chiang Mai Locator, Chiang Mai Thailand
CHIANG MAI LOCATOR - Leading you inside Chiang Mai

Common scams in Thailand and how to avoid them


Last edited: December 17, 2015 at 09:35:44

Scams are very common in Thailand and they happen over and over again. It almost seems like all newbees fall into the same traps and even foreigners who have visited or lived in Thailand for several years aren't immune to being cheated. Moreover, lacking a proper judicial system and with the high corruptability of the society, even some foreigners are attracted to Thailand or are also tempted into engaging in scams.
Scams or unfair practices probably happened to you, whether you stay short term or long term, whether you know it or not.
 

Common scams and what you can do against them:

1. Asking for / borrowing money

A friend, girlfriend or someone you know is in trouble and asks you to help temporarily with money. Often, the amount is relatively low in western standards, something in the order of 2,000-3,000 baht to pay for the apartment rent or whatever, not the sort of money you would expect to loose a friend over. Not true for Thailand, some locals will cancel their phone number for that and you'll never see them again.
(Dishonest) Thai people always have some family member in hospital who they have to support with money.

How to avoid: Simply never lend money to Thai and don't overly show that you are wealthy, this attracts loan seekers. Tell them you lent money before in another country and lost it and that you made yourself a promise not to do that anymore with no exceptions. If you do, you may loose your money and your so-called friend.

2. Dating and marriage

Love makes blind and Thai women know it. (Some say men only have enough blood to let it rush into one place in their body at a time: their brain or another part of their body). Some Thai women are quick to take advantage of this. Problems arising from Thai women sneaking money from farang men, double dating foreign men who support the same girl, and kicking the guy out of the house or business after she has got it in her name are so common that in a way it's surprising that it can still happen.
Scams with online dating happen very often, typically the girl asks for money to buy a bus ticket to see you and then doesn't show up.
Some farang who decide to marrry a Thai girl after a while and travel to the village of the girl, even find out that the dowry he's just paid has been usurped by the entire village and she's not going to marry him anymore.
One of the worst scams ever heard of is a guy who supported a women for several years to take care of their daughter, only to find out during a fight when the women couldn't control her temper anymore that the daugher is not his. Disregarding the financial damage, consider the emotional damage done.
Of course, there are many exceptions and every guy thinks that his girl is different, but statistically you've got a high chance of being taken advantage of.

How to avoid: However difficult in Thailand, try to keep your love life separate from your financial life, don't put big assets in her name, and only give her as much as you are prepared to loose. Always double check her background and don't assume all that is said is true. Only engage in financial matters with a Thai when you're 200% sure.

3. Service price scams

Problems with prices arise especially when either the price or the service is left unclear before getting it. For example, take a tuc tuc and don't agree about the price upfront, or don't confirm an unclear destination. Or, more notoriously, walk into a karaoke, have a few hours of fun, and be confronted with an astronomically high bill (ten thousands of baht!). Some karaokes purposely try to rip off foreigners by overcharging, charging a lot of hidden costs and playing tricks such as letting a lot of different girls pass through your room for 10 minutes each and charging for each of them.
Another type of unfair practice happens when you walk into a massage parlour or an export shop that charges you more than the local Thai prices. Some shops even have 4 different menus: one for local Thai, one for farang, one for Korean and one for Japanese (prices go up in that order and can be twice or triple the normal price). There isn't much to do about this practice, as it's so widespread all over Thailand, even in musea, that it's not even considered unfair by Thai anymore. Some shops even mention on their menu in Thai that prices for locals are lower and not to tell foreigners. The best remedy is to speak (and read) more Thai, then often you can go for lower prices. 

How to avoid: Always ask for the price before you take a service. Let them specify all costs. It helps if you can read Thai numbers and are proficient in Thai, however if you still look like a foreigner, you may still have to pay foreign prices.


Dual pricing in Thailand is very common. Here in Art in Paradise, English prices are clearly advertised, however the prices for Thai are written in Thai numbers so as to hide them from foreigners. Most Thai don't think this is unfair. Price difference: Thai adults go for 180 baht, Thai kids for 120 baht.

 

4. Guarantees, guaranteed returns and lifetime memberships

Whenever you see the words "guaranteed return", be very careful. For example, there are many property investments that guarantee 10% return during a few years. What they don't tell you, though, is that some companies that give the guarantee may go bankrupt and that you may have bought your property too expensive.
Any verbal guarantee given by a Thai is as strong as his / her intention to keep it.
Lifetime memberships are infamous. A recent example is California WOW Fitness that issued many lifetime memberships, but that went bankrupt.

How to avoid: Mistrust any guarantees given and make your calculations based on not having the promised returns. Be prepared half of what is guaranteed.

5. Middlemen

Thai society and economy is one where it's accepted that middlemen who help to close a deal get a commission. This means that in many cases when you're being introduced to a shop, a karaoke, or a property, someone in between is probably earning on it. In a way, it's fair, but sometimes the commission is just ridiculous and the person in between is just taking a quick and dirty profit leaving you to pay the bill which is beyond reasonable.

An example is the tuc tuc driver who brings you to the 'best karaoke in town', they can be rewarded at several thousands of baht from your bill. Another example is the (freelance) real agent who quickly marks up the selling price with a few hundred thousand without the owner knowing it.

How to avoid: For tuc tuc drivers, if you can't find the place by yourself, let your driver bring you there, but don't go in yet. Then go back the next day and ask for the normal prices. For any deal you make, make sure you verified the facts from the seller's side.

6. 'Thailand gurus'

If you run into some problem, big or small, you may run into foreigners who are willing to 'help' you. Not of of them are bona fide, unfortunately there are quite some around who make a living off cheating on other foreigners. Scams can be incredibly ingenious, some even set up entire companies and become part of an expat organisation to give themselves a status and get a network and to appear reliable. These guys know what they are doing, they prey on easy victims in emergency situations and they pretend to have a knowledge about Thailand that you don't have.
Unfortunately, the many holes in the law and the ease to corrupt police attract many maffioso into Thailand.

How to avoid: Be wairy of so-called Thailand gurus, especially if somehow money is involved.

7. Business scams

Some foreigners go into business in Thailand. Unfortunately, you can't do that by yourself, you always need Thai partners although there are several ways to protect yourself. Many times it goes well, but there are also numerous cases where the Thai partner just kicks you out or cheats on money, and although you have the right papers they can mean nothing if your Thai opponent pulls the right strings.

How to avoid: Doing business in Thailand is quite difficult and problems are unavoidable. Read more about doing business in Thailand.

 

Leave a comment

Your Name or Pseudo
Your Email (not displayed)




Nomad Guides Chiang Mai
Get a 1-year Thai visa from overseas
Tulou Chinese Restaurant
Save up to 89% on banking fees wiring money internationally
Rent an apartment in Chiang Mai
Latest members (All our Members)
Chiang Mai Communities
Mama Shamie
Lost love spells caster / psychic healer +27737053600
World’s no.1 female lost love spells caster Mama Shamie +2…
Mama Shamie
African traditional healer with black magic +27737053600 lost love spells caster
Lost Love Spells Caster /Spells Caster In Johannesburg,Canad…
Admin Locator
Chiang Mai Toastmasters Club
Speak English, Build confidence, Conquer your fear, Master t…
James Graneria
Chiang Mai Social Group Of Friends
Do you want to meet up with fellow peers in Chiang Mai? Are …
Peter Cook
Mahasiddha
Mahasiddha Yoga (tantrayogathailand.com) - Just north of the…
Simon Laroche
Language Exchange
Free of costs language exchange between farang and Thai…
Admin Locator
Couchsurfing Chiang Mai
Weekly meet up with local Thai and Couchsurfers, long stayer…
Steve Kramer
Chiang Mai Fencing Club
Dedicated to the sport of Fencing, playing Foil, Epee, and S…
Admin Locator
Latin Tunes @Meridien
Salsa lovers gather at the Meridien, salsa in style, every l…
Admin Locator
Salsa @Sahara
Salsa dance lovers swing it out on Thursday at Sahara, Nimma…
Admin Locator
Bird Watchers
Regular outings for bird lovers…
Admin Locator
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transsexual group (LGBT)
Our LGBT group aims to allow friendships between both Thai a…
Admin Locator
Monday Jam night @ Boy Blues Bar
Every Monday night is Jam night at Boy Blues Bar Bar. Many f…
Admin Locator
First Northern Thailand Toastmasters Club The Confidence Builders
Meets the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month at 6pm. 053-21…
Admin Locator
MahJong group
Saturday mornings 10 am. Contact Ruth at 085-615-1413…
Admin Locator
Hash House Harriers: CSH3 (Saturday mixed Hash)
Mixed family hash runs every Saturday. Pick up point is The …
Admin Locator
Al-anon
Support group open to those affected by alcoholism in a rela…
Admin Locator
OA (Overeaters Anonymous)
Every Saturday from 4-5 p.m. Please ask the guards or nurses…
Admin Locator
Film Space
Every Saturday night screening at 07.00 pm (Free Admission!)…
Admin Locator
Expat Club
General Meetings on the 4th Saturday of the month, except De…
Admin Locator
Open night @ Sangdee
All are welcome to perform. Sirimangkalajarn Soi 5 from 8 PM…
Admin Locator
Meditate with the Green Papaya Sangha
In the tradition of Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. T…
Admin Locator
Pool League
Every Friday at 9pm at participating bars in a home and away…
Admin Locator
Chiang Mai Expats Club Coffee Morning
Coffee meetings are on 1st and 3rd Friday of each month Frid…
Admin Locator
Alliance Francaise Films
Alliance Francaise Films: Every Friday at 8 PM…
Admin Locator
Trinity Baptist Church
Meeting for old-time worship and fellowship with Dr. Jack L.…
Admin Locator
Traditional 2nd hand market
A Traditional 2nd hand market - Every Saturday morning from …
Admin Locator
Big Day Out
1st Sunday of every month. Live music and BBQ, 080 1222561…
Admin Locator
New Beginnings group of Alcoholics Anonymous
Open meetings at 10:00am on Sundays.…
Admin Locator
International Group of Alcoholics Anonymous
Chiang Mai International Group of AA meets every morning at …
Admin Locator
Classic Cars of Lanna
Meets the last Sunday of every month…
Admin Locator
Softball
Every Sunday 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm We have bats and gloves… ju…
Admin Locator
Alcoholics Anonymous
Every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. Info: 084-485-0100, chi…
Admin Locator
Salsa dancers
Salsa dance lovers swing it out on Tuesday at Coffee Monster…
Admin Locator
“Informal” Expats Ladies Lunch
“Informal” Expats Ladies Lunch: The lunch buffet at the …
Admin Locator
“Formal” Expats Ladies Lunch
“Formal” Expats Ladies Lunch: First Thursday of every mo…
Admin Locator
Nicotine Anonymous
Nicotine Anonymous: Wednesdays and Saturdays, 1 p.m., 086-19…
Admin Locator
Quiz Night @ Garden Bar Lotus Hotel
Quiz Night at the Garden Bar Lotus Hotel Chang Puak. Teams o…
Admin Locator
Chiang Mai Photographic Group
Chiang Mai Photographic Group: meets every other Wednesday a…
Admin Locator
Open Microphone Night
Open Mike Night at the UN Irish Pub every Wednesday, from 8.…
Admin Locator
Co-dependants Anonymous
Co-dependants Anonymous: Support group for those having prob…
Admin Locator
Friends of Bill
Friends of Bill meeting (General 12 Step meeting, all addict…
Admin Locator
Swiss Lanna Society
Swiss Lanna Society weekly informal gatherings, 6:30 p.m. ev…
Admin Locator
Royal British Legion
Royal British Legion meeting has moved to Basic Line Hotel S…
Admin Locator
Badminton
Badminton group meets every Tuesday from 2-4 PM at the Munic…
Admin Locator
Judo
Judo group meets at the MMA club near the Railways station o…
Admin Locator
Money Club
CM Money Club meets last Thursday of every month. Info: Don …
Admin Locator
CM Geeks
The Chiang Mai Computer Club meets every Tuesday. It is open…
Admin Locator
Chiang Mai International Rotary Club
The Chiang Mai International Rotary Club meets on Tuesdays a…
Admin Locator
On-location Sketching Group
On-location sketching group: Monday mornings from 8:00-10:30…
Admin Locator
Karate Practise
Karatedo Federation Wado-kaj organises free Karate practise …
Admin Locator
Tai Chi - Chi Kung
Every Monday and Wednesday 8am at Suan Buak Hat Public Park …
Admin Locator
Women's Book Club
CM's International Women's Book Club meets every last Monday…
Admin Locator
Gentleman's Club
The Gentleman's Club for real gentlemen and males approachin…
Admin Locator
Back to Basics Group of AA
Back to Basics Group of Alcoholics Anonymous meets Monday to…
Admin Locator
Hash House Harriers CH3 (male only)
Male runs every alternate week on Mon/Tue. Pick up from The …
Admin Locator
Jam night @ Boy Blues Bar
Swinging music with live jam, every Monday from 9pm…
Admin Locator
Ball hockey by CM Highlanders
CM Highlanders plays ball hockey every Monday.…
Admin Locator
CM Travel Club
Chiang Mai Travel Club gathers at Sangdee every 2nd Monday o…
Admin Locator
Upstairs at Sangdee
Performing artists every Monday at Sangdee. For those intere…
Admin Locator
Hash House Harriers CSH3
Mixed family hash runs every Saturday. Pick up point is the …
Admin Locator
Sri Sathya Sai Baba Group
Study and discussion group for CM devotees of spiritual mast…
Admin Locator
Gay and Lesbian Club
Regular meetings…
Admin Locator
Readers & Book discussion group
Monthly over lunch to discuss a previously agreed book, cmre…
Admin Locator
Dining Out Group
Once a fortnight, alternating between Asian and Western food…
Warren Lee
Racquet Ball
Though there isn't a proper racquet ball court in Chiang Mai…
Alan and Melanie Kornfield
Circle of Light
The Circle of Light Group is a reading & discussion group fo…
Roland Mogg
Chiang Mai Beach Volleyball Club
Welcome to CMBVC! We are one of Chiang Mai's most active spo…
Amy Dapice
Urban Sketchers Chiang Mai
Urban Sketchers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to rai…
Jenny Jung
Maum meditation
Maum meditation is throwing away the false mind,and is Chan…
Skylar Santian
New Life Foundation Thailand
New Life Thai Foundation is a unique international, mindfuln…
Cinlada Srisuparat
WED ZOUK BAREFOOT at Birds Nest Cafe
We would like to invite you all for our regular zouk meet up…
Ken Lang
Tons of Time!
Weight being a problem for us all these days, but truly bein…
Rod Savvides
Tai Chi Chuan
Tai Chi Chuan step by step.. Daily weekday classes every …
Claudio Caselli
Yin Yoga with Claudio
Price: 200B - Contact Claudio: 0847 744705…
The Yoga Tree Chiang Mai
DANCEmandala
This movement meditation practice is for anyone that is insp…
Natha Yoga
Esoteric Integral Yoga
The Esoteric Integral Yoga course is an in-depth course prov…
Soragarn Sangsai
Football Club
Football Chiang Mai - Football fan in Chiang Mai…
Ratthawisutth Klomchitt
Chiangmai AutoCAD Training
AutoCAD for Engineering and Architecture drawing training…
Documentary Arts Asia
Documentary Arts Asia Monday & Thursday Showings
The Documentary Arts Asia Theater has regular screenings of …
JAY LEE
Income Tax discussion
How to legally claim tax rebate as a foreigner working in Th…
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Backgammon
Anyone interested in forming a group?…
Elf B
Tantra Yoga Community
A unique course about the extraordinary spiritual adventure …
Chiang Mai Improv Theatre
We are all about PLAY! Come and regress to being 5 years old…
Laughter Yoga
A laughter yoga class and circle at the Yoga Tree Chiang Mai…
TEFL 360
TEFL
TEFL Courses…
Bambi Rabid
Comedy Workshop
Think you're funny? We're looking for people who'd like to…
Jessie Q
Chiang Mai Jugglers and Prop Enthusiasts
Wanna meet and play with other Prop Manipulation geeks? Lear…
John Bales
Chiang Mai Chess Club
Welcome to Chiang Mai Chess Club…
Warren Lee
Squash Players Chiang Mai
There are 2 main groups of squash players in Chiang Mai. …
Warren Lee
Salsa
There are a few groups in Chiang Mai that gather for salsa, …
Writers without Borders
If you're an expat in Chiang Mai, Thailand, or, more specifi…
The Yoga Tree Chiang Mai
livingBIODANZA
An exploration of dance and movment, the BIODANZA way, of ho…
Steve XiengMieng
Green Papaya Sangha
Meditation in the tradition of Vietnamese Zen Monk Thich Nha…
Simon Laroche
Bridge Chiang Mai
Welcome to Bridge Club of Chiang Mai…