Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Scam - Thailand Jewellery Scams
This is a Bangkok scam which has been operating for many years and still may be.
Attempts to educate visitors in recognizing the scam have been made by the Gems and Jewelry Association, as well as the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Tourist police.
The scam works on the reputation that Thai people are friendly, warm and easy to chat to.
The scenario is that a tourist will be at a location such as The Grand Palace or one of any number of places where tourists go.
A tout will start up a conversation in the usual "Hello, sorry, where are you from"? The natural reaction is to reply and continue the conversation.
The conversation is developed by the tout, chatting about the visitors home country, but also will casually mention that one of the places the visitor will be visiting is closed on that day- but they are happy to help see other places.
Again trust is normal unless proven otherwise. As the chat goes on, the tout will point out a Tuk Tuk, whose driver is positioned to be ready and waiting for the victim.
The tout will explain that the friendly Tuk Tuk man will take him around Bangkok at a really cheap price, and so they leave together, the tourist believing he/she has hit on a real friend.
The Tuk Tuk will then go to one of the lesser known temples where someone will be at 'prayer', but this person is also in the plot to defraud.
Finding this person in a temple, and praying, makes the victim assume they are trustworthy, so when they are told that the government has a scheme to help foreigners buy gems at duty free prices, and then make a profit on the sale in their home country, it all sounds very plausible.
They may be taken to a second temple where another person tells the same story, just as backup to the first one.
Explanations are given and the tourist is convinced that this is as real a deal as the new friend.
They tell him/her that the gem will be packaged up and shipped directly to the home address and all this can be verified.
There is even an extra element whereby the visitor is encouraged to go to a gold shop over the road, so payment can be made in gold.
The deal is done and everyone is happy, there is a lot of Wai, and when the tourist arrives back in their home country, and tries to sell the gems bought on holiday in Thailand, they find they are worthless.
Surprisingly there are still some tourists who fall into this trap, and the advice would be that even in Thailand, friends do not appear and become your close friends in such a short time.
There is a reason behind the charm, and it’s usually money.