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October 11, 2007





There are common scams that occur in many places that the traveller should be aware of. They fall into three categories: overcharging you, deceiving you or coercing you into paying for a service you don't want, and outright theft.

Taxis not using the meter
        In cities where the taxis have meters, drivers will often try and drive off with tourists without turning the meter on. When you arrive they'll try and charge fares from the merely expensive (2 or 3 times the usual fare) to fares of hundreds of US dollars, depending on how ambitious they are. If you're in an area known for this scam, and you know where you're going and want them to use the meter (rather than arrange a fixed fare), ask them to turn the meter on just before you get in. If they say that it is broken or similar, walk away. They will usually concede: a metered fare is better than no fare.

Passport as security for debt or rental
          You rent equipment like a jet ski or motorbike. You are asked to give your passport as a security guarantee. After returning the rented goods, the owner claims you damaged them and will ask for exaggerated prices to compensate or claim to have "lost" your passport (later the police or lost property office want a substantial "donation" for its return). If you do not agree, they threaten to keep your passport. This scam is used in almost all Thai tourist resorts, and is very effective.

Never hand over your passport as a security or guarantee in any circumstances.

More entries: Common Scams

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