Top 10 Scams in Bangkok and Thailand

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To help you be more street savvy on your next holiday in Thailand, we have decided to put together a top 10 of scams in Thailand. It is by no means definitive. If you have any scams that you would like to report, then please post them in the comments below.

1. The Grand Palace is Closed Scam – This scam can happen near any tourist attraction but still happens a lot outside the Grand Palace. As you approach, someone will tell you that the palace is closed for various reasons. Ignore them as you will end up in either a gem store or a tailor shop.

2. Thai Gem Scam – If you are not an expert on gems then I strongly urge you not to take the word of other people on how much money you can make if you sell these gems on return to your home country. People are losing a lot of money every day. Don’t make the mistake that you are different.

3. Wrong Change Scam – A common scam at places like 7-Eleven and Family Mart in tourist areas is to give you change as if you gave them a 500 baht note instead of a 1,000 baht note. Many tourists are not familiar with Thai money and often give the wrong money or don’t notice that their change is incorrect. Most shops will say out loud the denomination of any paper money you give them. Check your change!

4. Jet Ski Scam – Many people in Pattaya and Phuket are being scammed after renting jet skis. When you come back after your fun, they will point out scratches and dents in the jet ski and they will demand large sums of money. What they fail to mention is that a dozen other customers have already paid for those scratches. If you rent anything, be it motorcycle, car or jet ski, make sure all scratches and dents are documented.

5. Patpong Sex Show Scam – Don’t believe the touts outside who say free sex shows and drinks for only 100 baht each. You will end up paying a bill in the thousands. Stay clear if you are alone as they can turn violent if you refuse to pay.

6. Hualamphong Scam – Outside the train station you will meet official looking people who will say they will help you book the seats. They take you to their nearby travel agent and pretend to ring the train booking office. They then say the train is full and your only way to travel is on one of their buses.

7. Long Distance Bus Scam – Many people have had things stolen from their bags on overnight bus trips. Some have even reported they were drugged and found their money missing when they woke up.

8. Airport Taxi Scam – Official looking touts will pretend that they are meter taxis and tell you that it is 500-1000 baht to go into town. The meter taxi outside is less than half this. The police have tried to crack down on them but they are back. Ignore anyone who asks if you want a taxi. The real taxi drivers are waiting outside by their cars.

9. Blackjack Scam – This usually starts when someone asks you where you are from. If you say, New York, then he will say he has a sister who will be going to study there. He then asks if you can go and meet her as she has some questions. At their house, you somehow end up playing blackjack with them. They then ask you to help cheat someone out of their money. Don’t get tempted as it is you who is being scammed.

10. My Girlfriend is Pregnant Scam – A popular scams these days is your long distance girlfriend writing to you to say she is pregnant with your baby. She either asks for help to pay for the aboriton or for money to raise the baby. What she doesn’t tell you is that she has already written to five other foreigners telling them that they are the father too. The latest gimmick is some medicine circulating in Isaan that swells their belly to make them look pregnant in case you fly in to visit them. The only way to know for sure is to go with them to the doctors to get an ultrasound.

Please remember, most scammers are successful because they play on the greed of their victims. If something is too good to be true then it probably is. As kind as Thai people are, they are also very shy. If you are approached by a well spoken Thai person on the street then the chances are high that this person is a scammer. Thai people are not normally so forward. However, please give them the benefit of the doubt unless, of course, if they give you the codeword “Big Buddha” or “Lucky Buddha”. This is then their admission of guilt. Finally, it is sad to report that there are now foreigners praying on helpless tourists. So, be weary of any unsolicited help.

44 thoughts on “Top 10 Scams in Bangkok and Thailand

  1. Bangkok resident

    scam nr.4 isn’t a BKK scam, nr5 is bullshit and only happens to people who want to be scammed.
    I live over 12 years in BKK and have never been in such a situation, and I roam the streets on a daily bases…

    Reply
    1. indonesian

      Yes it’s true. It just happened to me a few hours ago in patpong. I PAID FOR 2000 BAHT FOR VERY BAD SHOW.
      Im very dissapointed for what happened.
      for anyone who has any plan to BKK, please think twice

      Reply
  2. stanley

    Thai’s hate westerners with a passion…FACT!..what do most people go there and do? Get wasted,blow money,use prostitutes,peodophiles…so on ….They will do anything/everything to part you from your cash..including murder..DO NOT GO THERE…DO NOT BELIEVE THE HEDONISTIC BULLSHIT,IT DOES NOT EXIST..And when something does happen and you to to the police,what happens? NOTHING.anyone who has tell me that what I’m warning people about isn’t true and I’ll listen,gladly.

    Reply
    1. farang

      You absolutely right !
      I leave Thailand after 6 years. Thais are just robbers and they jealously HATE farangs.
      Just an example : My owner just disappears after 2 years of rent contract that I always paid on the day, just to avoid give me back my 2 months deposit (68 000 b) !
      But You have to understand that they are also dangerous and can KILL for money.
      Just BOYCOTT Thailand.
      They are many other places with sun and bitches !
      WE DONT NEED THAILAND

      Reply
      1. Semi Pro

        Many Thai get into bad habit of taking the easy/non-ethnical/cheating way out.

        I have two ladies at the market where I am a semi-regular customer, cheated me out of 5 baht and 10 baht respectively.

        It was so obvious and yes they knew exactly what they were doing. Not buying from these two any more.

        Reply
  3. Vivi

    Also in Phuket at karon beach, the Seven eleven workers, don’t give you a receit, and add 50-100thb every customers total sum. And funniest in here is, that if you want to contact tourist police, guess where you can do it? In seven eleven :) seven eleven workers in karon are helping the tourist police.

    Reply
  4. Rsp

    i been scam before in thailand bangkok…
    5. Patpong Sex Show Scam
    -tht guy say :Free Show not need to pay but end up pay for 60,000 baht..but No choice!!!
    *First lady show 5000baht
    *Lady Drink 5000baht
    *Heineken 15000baht for 1 jar…
    *Lady Dance 5000baht
    *bla bla bla
    REALLY NEED TO BE CAREFUL….
    And also Be careful when tuktuk driver or someone show naked girl picture…
    Please Do Not Follow, Once you follow it may cost you thousand Dollar…
    If you don’t have enough money, I have no idea what will happens..

    8. Taxi Scam
    *Some taxi driver don’t even switch on the meter just say the price and the price will be more that normal fare maybe double or triple or even more…

    Reply
  5. Sukhumvit Scam

    Another scam to be wary about is the katoey’s (lady boys). They roam the streets looking for tourists with either bulging wallets or gold chains. They give you a hug and ask to be taken to your room; while all the time removing your gold chain and wallet. They are quick & effortless and before you know it you are relieved of your valuables. They work in pairs or 3’s and the other either flash you or hold your hand on their breasts. Lost my gold chain in about 12 seconds flat!

    Reply
  6. Tiger@lawyer

    WE HAVE GOOD PEOPLE AND BAD PEOPLE EVERY WHERE IN THE WORLD
    SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT..!

    TAKE CARE YOU SELF
    GOOD LUCK..!

    Reply
  7. glenn haffner

    how about the thai seafood scam from taxi drivers?-Never ask a taxi driver late at night for him to recommend a good restaurant to go to. Taxi drivers will often take you to a seafood restaurant on phaya thai in the middle of nowhere, that inflates the prices of the food by a measure that is off the radar screen. The billing comes up as SD SEAFOOD on your credit card bill. You have been warned. Eat street food late at night, do not ask taxi drivers a damn thing, they are IN with the restaurant. GOT IT??

    Reply
  8. Masha B

    New scam! You walk down street and nice Thai man starts talking to you, very nice, shows you on map good temples to go to and says today is holiday! All tuk tuk are only 20 baht for two people, suddenly tuk tuk appears and man is nice and you get in… you go to all the great temples in Bangkok ( Black Buddha, is it even real?) you go to one temple, then go to second one (black Buddha) and man there asks how you find this temple since only locals know. Then he talks your ear off for ten minutes about history about Blck Buddha, how best tailors are in Bangkok and about Color Gem store being the best and how much money you can make by reselling jewelry you buy now in a few years. He pretends to not know your driver. Then next stop, driver takes you to factory.. A thai tailor shop. You get a good deal but who knows if the suit will be good.. Then tuk tuk driver takes you to Color Gem.. Basically tuk tuk is getting a cut out of every place you go and spend money, but he says since its special holiday, he gets free gas tickets from these businesses for driving you around. Be careful. They are so good at lying! They keep trying to take you anywhere they can to get you to spend money, but say it’s just for their free gas cards.. They will show you a card in their wallet that says Free Gas Today! But the card is old and you can tell it’s been in the wallet for years! It’s not real. And black Buddha story is a scam.

    Reply
  9. Cathrine

    I wish I had read this before going sightseeing in Bankok. We just experienced scam number 1 outside the grand palace. The tourist police said the palace was closed because of Buddhist prayer until midday, but recommended to visit to a couple of temples he highlighted on the map and afterwards the export center. We got into a tuk tuk outside the palace, and the driver confirmed the information. At the Big Budha temple we met a “random tourist” from Singapore who confirmed the information. Afterwards followed by a trip to a gem stone center and a tailor shop. And we were foolish enough to buy. Can’t believe we fell for this. Just want to warn others because the scams are well coordinated

    Reply
    1. m

      Hey, i just fell into the tailor shop scam and bought a suit for 6000 bhat. I wanted to pick it up there later, could you please tell me what I will expect? Will it not fit? Will there be any suit?

      Reply
  10. Al

    Many scams in Thailand. I’ve been here for many years now and see everyday tourist getting scammed.
    Best advice I can give is to use common sense. Keep your valuables safe and never hand over your passport for bike hire etc.
    Also the ATM scams are usually done at non bank atms i always try to use an ATM inside a bank branch with good camera coverage.
    I rarely take a tuk tuk but if I do I have a specific destination and agree a price before we go.

    Bangkok has lots to offer the tourist, its a great city. Sadly can be spoiled by the scammers who see westerners as $$$$$$

    Reply
  11. GLENN HAFFNER

    There is good and bad everywhere—treat people with respect, you in turn will be treated with respect.-Easier said than done, but the people of Bangkok are great. Key point, go find the great people and stop complaining.

    Reply
  12. theguest

    There are so many SCAMS in Thailand, I wouldn’t know where to start. The ones shown on this website, are but a few.

    If foreigners knew the ‘real’ truth about Thailand they would totally avoid it !

    I have lived in Thailand for over 20 years, so I have been subjected to first hand experience of SCAMS, and the Thai system.

    Reply
  13. Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com

    I personally know someone who became a victim of a pregnancy scam. He got picked up by a Thai prostitute and they were together for a week or so, then she later told him she was pregnant with his baby. He sent money for 2 years! He even wanted to bring her to his country to marry her. Good thing the Belgian embassy was aware of this and asked for a paternity test. The baby wasn’t his after all. Who knows how many men she’d asked for money? Or maybe the Belgian was just particularly stupid? I mean, why wouldn’t you use protection if you’re doing it with prostitutes??

    Reply
  14. Osazah

    I ve been scammed today with my husband twice. My advice for Bangkok tourists is to ignore all Thais who approach them first and follow the plan of the trip. I already hate it here in Thailand.

    Reply
  15. Michael Hill

    In two different Big C stores, though I had handed over a 1,000 baht note, I was given change for a 500 baht note. Each time when I complained I was given the rest of my change without a murmur. This was a clear attempt at theft.

    Reply
  16. Jens

    Many things happened to us during our stay in Bangkok, most of them did not work, as I’m generally very doubtful. But they are perfect and one of it worked, but we avoided the worst things that could happen, to loose all the money and to loose your freedom of travelling. So we were brought by Tuk Tuk (20 bath, first ride, so we didn’t know the prices) to the travel agency Tiger Travel Group, We were looking for a flight to the south, because we wanted to go Koh PhiPhi and unfortunately told them, that we want to go to Koh Phangan for the FullMoon Party a week later. They booked us a taxi transfer, a flight to Krabi, a transfer to the port and the ferry, further a bungalow on Phangan with AC, fortunately I’m blocking, when people try to force me to do something, they tried to plan and book our complete stay. So we just booked these things, about 50 % more than usual, a loss about 100 Eur/person. But we kept our freedom to decide, how long we want to stay on PhiPhi island and where to go after the Full Moon Party. The bungalow in Phangan was very nice, but at first they tried to give us a Fan Bungalow far from the beach. After long discussions and some threats from us, we were 2 guys, 2 m tall and 100 kg weight, they decided to let us have the beach front bungalow we booked. But all the other things we booked worked well, the transfers were on time and the tickets were valid, but the price was too high.

    The second scam which nearly worked was a guy who came to us north of Sanam Luang park close to the KSR.
    He told us he was a teacher and came to Bangkok to see his family. He was praying at a monument nearby and asked us, what we are looking for, because we stopped to look around where to go and what to do. (Our tipp, NEVER stop walking!) He was talking to us about 5 minutes, just talking about his Family and Thailand and how we dicided to come to Bangkok, it felt very familiar, then we told him, that we are looking for a boat trip to see the klongs. He was warning us to go to the river near the KSR and he knew about some cheaper provider a few minutes to drive to the south. Then a TukTuk came across by chance… we thought. He brought us to a smal dock near the Wat Pho. 240 Chakphet Rd, Bangkok, they were really forcing us to do the trip, it was about 50 €/person, they went down later to 40 Eur and after we left to 25 Eur, but we noticed that this price is also very expensive, so we and felt very unsafe in this area.
    Then we left by foot, because the TukTuk was gone. But we met him again after ¼ mile, the ride to the Wat Pho costs about 100 bath then, 5 times more than the ride to the boat trip provider, for half of the distance, we knew, we just avoided another scam…
    But we also knew we would have to avoid hundrets more.

    Make fun of it, or maybe it will become the best drinking game in the world! Have a shot when revealing a scam!

    Reply
  17. kiwi tourist

    Yes same story as catherine. We got off the boat at about no 10 pier maharaj. Man stops us to say he is from the tourist police and to keep bag close for safety. Draws on our map 2 temple location happy buddah and the big buddah. He had been sitting at s & p restuarant waiting for a sucker to target. The man had a police badge and there was photo id inside as well. Not sure if it is real id.He calls a tuk tuk and negotiates a good deal. He then walks off and tuktuk drives off. Tuktuk driver does not speak english.
    We get to a temple and walk around. Then go to next temple where man with a photo id around his neck approaches us. He talks about jewellery export shop. He is full of it. Said he is a cancer survivor.
    Off we go to to the jewellery shop. Told we get a good discount. To get ring resized it takes a few hours so pay and return after seeing the palace. Jewellery shop is called first jewellery. Outside the door is a sign that said export centre.beware it is not real jewellery only fake. You are given a certificate as well to go with the items. The tuktuk we went on hangs about on the road down the lane from where and boat pier and his registration plate number is yellow plate with 2 charcters but number 778. Seat is green and purple and green. sides of tuktuk are green. Beware there are many players in the scam. We did not know about it until we checked on the internet later and had been done for $3500nz.
    We went back the next day and found the players there still so butted into every conversation they had with tourists and scared them away. Still had my kidneys and wallet but hubby though it might have gone bad. Please warn others of this scam and dont be shy in educating tourists if you recognise any of these signs. Have taken photos of the players. Feel free to take photos of policeman and his baxge then post it to the site.

    Reply
  18. Harman

    BKK is the worst place in the world to visit. I have visited BKK twice. Every corner of BKK you are vulnerable of being scammed. It starts the moment you land in the airport-
    1.The taxi scam
    2. Then the hotel guys in the concierge recommend to take the taxis waiting outside the hotel, who will never run the meter.
    3. The hotel staff will casually ask what’s the plan for today. If you tell him that you have plans to visit Safari World or any other place( GEMS Shop), then he will suggest I know a tour operator who can book tickets at a cheaper price. Actually he will be expecting commission from this. He will also say my taxi driver will take you there and bring you back to the hotel for free. Both the taxi driver & the hotel guys get commission including fuel.
    4. If there is an extra fee in the zoo or any park, then in all probability the guide would say, that section is closed for maintenance and pocket that money given to him/her by his/her tour operating company.

    5. Then I was scammed in Chatuchak market. An Arab family ( A man, woman and a small boy ) will come and distract you and your family by saying about your country and telling you that they will be visiting your country very soon . All three of them will keep your companion or your family busy by asking various questions in short bursts , so that you are confused. Usually the male will tackle the male and the female will tackle the female. Then he will ask to show your countries currency and the moment you show them , they flash you and they disappear. I lost 8000 bhats and when I went to police next day, they made me to go from one police station to the other and finally my complaint was registered and I was told that I was the third one to be duped on that day in Chatuchak by the Arab gang.

    So please be careful and avoid going Chatuchak.
    Warning : Please do not take Chidren.
    This is even more dangerous. Generally in Chatuchak the police keep anouncing in Thai language, which as foreigner, we will not be able to understand. On the day of my visit, a couple had lost a 04 year old girl child and the mother of the child was announcing on the mike, pleading for help. Imagine the plight of the mother who has lost the child in an alien nation.

    So please avoid Thailand in all probability and be safe!!

    There are many many better places in the world other than Thailand, which is Land of scams.

    Reply
  19. Callicallter

    You people are all retarded. Jesus, do you even know how to travel properly?
    Heaven forbid you do some research about a place before you go.

    I have been to bkk many times and I never have any issues. Do you just stop using your brains as soon as you travel? If you were in a city in the US, and some random dude just walked up to you and started talking about this awesome casino he started would you go there?

    Grow up and get some goddamn culture.

    Reply
    1. Lloyd

      Finally the most sensible post , I work in the travel industry and cannot belive how dumb some people are , so dumb they don’t have Internet , I just want too challenge em to a game of chase the pea bring plenty money

      Reply
    2. World Traveler

      I could not agree with you more. Educate your self and travel worse can happen to you in in your own city,hometown or village without some common sense!

      Reply
  20. Mike

    Another thing to be wary of

    I fuelled up at Bangchak petrol station near Krabi airport. I paid 900 baht credit card and drove a meter before realizing my indicator is still showing empty tank. I reverse back then the boy looks surprised and fills up my petrol. It cost only 800 baht and they give me the change. Remember
    1) check your fuel gage after filling up
    2) check to see if the fuel is actually flowing (I did this the second time)

    They couldn’t speak English (or at least they didn’t say anything Iin english) when I questioned them what happened. So I’m not sure if this is a scam or a genuine mistake but I didn’t have enough time to sort it out with the police!

    Reply
  21. Stan

    Well needless to say me and my wife fell into a scam today. It was the Grand palace is shit down scam. Let me tell you they are so good and you can be so naive. So relaxed enjoying your vacation you won’t even realize it.

    After I got back to my hotel and realized it was a scam. I stopped trusting anyone here including Bangkok police.

    That might as well call this Scamkok

    DO NOT TRUST ANYONE. BETTER OFF STAY AWAY FROM THIS CITY.

    Reply
  22. John Boy

    I have to agree with Calicallter, Thailand is simply like any other country in the world. If you are stupid and greedy and carless you will get scammed. The way to prevent it is to use some common sense, if it looks too good to be true, it usually is. Agree taxi and tuk tuk fares before getting in, or insist on metered fares, keep wallet or money in secure pockets, check the change you receive etc etc, pretty standard behaviour anywhere to be honest – and I’m afraid I just can’t really understand why a traveller would spend thousands of dollars on gems …

    Thais are actually very friendly, warm people if you don’t spend all your time in sex shows or overhyped tourist traps – enjoy the place, its actually a beautiful country.

    Reply
  23. Denis

    I got took to a gem factory with the free gas scam
    Had a look round had a few free drinks and bought fuck all
    Sometimes it’s good to be a tight Yorkshire man

    Reply
  24. chloem

    You guys are retarded. If you had some street-smarts, you would not get scammed. If you don’t like BKK or Thailand, then jog on.

    Reply
  25. R Wild

    The one thing that annoys me the most in Thailand is the duel price structure for Thai locals and Foreigners. I wanted to get a hair cut my wife (who is Thai) walked into the store and asked for a cut for me and they said 100 Baht, I walk around the corner and into the store and the hair cut is 300 Baht. If you go to Thailand I suggest starting off at 10% of what they are asking for and working your way up to around 30/40%.

    Reply

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