Different scams in Thailand

Thai money

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This article covers some of the common scams in Thailand

People in Thailand are known for being friendly, honest, and polite but scams and rip-offs are just as commonplace as anywhere else in the world. Scams in Thailand come in many forms and schemes.

For instance, the city of Bangkok has very high levels of safety for both locals and visitors compared to many cities in Asia and the world but you’ll often come across people, especially tourists, claiming to have been taken for a ride by the locals.

Some of the tricks used by scammers look pretty obvious but anyone who feels a bit lost or jet-lagged will easily fall prey to the fraudsters. Well, it even happens to the best of us at one time or another.

Besides the usual tourist scams, Thailand is known for other complex fraud cases. Most of the high-level scams are not unique to Thailand because they happen in most parts of the world too.

If you should victim of a complex scam, it is highly recommended to engage the services of a professional scam investigator or private investigator to help you recover your losses.

To help you navigate your way safely both physically and financially in Thailand, here are some of the most common scams and fraud schemes to beware of.

The Fake 1000 Baht Bill

This is another common scam usually played on tourists and unsuspecting visitors. It is a simple scam that happens when you pay for goods with a large banknote such as the 1000 Baht note, which is worth around US$33. The shopkeeper simply claims that the note you paid with is counterfeit.

He does this by pretending to examine the note carefully but secretly swaps the genuine banknote with a counterfeit under the counter. You will then have to pay the same item with another note and leave behind your genuine 1000 Baht.

You’ll not only pay twice but remain with a counterfeit note for fear of getting reported to the authorities, especially if you are a tourist away from home in a country known for taking stiff action against smugglers and counterfeiters from outside.

To avoid falling victim to such scams, always check the serial numbers of large banknotes before you hand them over to shopkeepers.

Make sure the shopkeeper sees you taking note of the serial number so he knows that he is dealing with an informed customer. Never let the note you have paid with out of your sight when you hand it over to the shopkeepers.

The Marriage Scam

Marriage scams are found everywhere in the world including Thailand. In such scams, one party enters into a marital union with a hidden motive of fleecing the other partner.

Most fraudulent marriages are conducted for the sole purpose of gaining a Green Card or Visa to live and work in another country such as the United States. Sadly, Thailand is well known for visa marriage scams propagated against UK, Australian, and United States citizens.

A good private investigator can help you do a thorough background check and due diligence of your partner before you get into a fraudulent marriage without your knowledge.

Online Dating Scams

The outbreak of the dangerous coronavirus seems to have accelerated the number and frequency of online dating scams.

In Thailand, COVID-19 has given many scammers a platform by claiming to be in need of financial relief. Normally, it starts with the scammer pretending to be an attractive, wealthy foreigner.

The online dating scammer, under a false online identity, then engages the victim in a flirtatious conversation which may continue for days or weeks. At a certain point, the scammer asks for money, promising to pay back with a huge self-imposed interest.

Most scammers also claim to be very wealthy or are family members of well-known rich families. As such, they will insist that they require a modest amount of money to secure a large fortune. Others claim to know of investment shortcuts with enormous returns.

The rise of cryptocurrencies has also given scammers an avenue to boast of non-existent wealth. Whichever they turn, innocent people are robbed of their money in the long run.

Business and Consumer Scams

Business scams generally involve falsely reported opportunities to those planning on start-ups or established small business owners.

Business scams are often attractive, for example, by advertising non-existent franchise purchases or pyramid schemes with a promise of abnormal profits.


Con artists and scammers are just as commonplace in Thailand as anywhere else in the world. If you find yourself a victim of an elaborate scam, your best option is to enlist the services of a professional scam investigator.

A good private investigator provides a wide range of scam combating services such as background checks, fraud verification, surveillance, and assistance with recovery of stolen items or prosecution of the scammer.