Jewelery & Gem Scams, Bangkok
Even though I wrote this tip years ago, I still see it happening on the streets in 2004, so please read the following:
Bangkok's infamous gem scam has ruined the holidays of many, many visitors to Thailand and it is an important thing to be aware of beforehand if you want to avoid becoming yet another victim.
The scam is no secret - there's warnings about it in every guidebook and in posters put up around Bangkok by the Tourist Authority, yet many people are still caught unaware of it.
Though it does happen occasionally in other parts of Thailand, the vast majority of incidences take place in Bangkok.
I have received a no. of warnings regarding this from friends and relatives before I left for Bangkok. But I was not prepared for a very elaborate scheme involving a 'policeman', a taxi driver, an 'architect' from rich family and a man from the 'united nations' office. All these 'resources' just to get me to the doorstep of a gem factory (apparently called the Royal Factor) just north of the Chitralada Palace.
Just be careful. There seem to be so many con men on the Bangkok streets that I have learnt that the rule of thumb is to treat everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) suspiciously. Asking around for directions and suggestions of eating places will likely get you into trouble. So read up and do a lot of research before going to Bangkok, unless you have friends there who can help you.
Beware of scams by people inticing you into believing that your lucky to be in thailand at the time and you are fortunate because the government is allowing tourist to buy jewells tax free at the very time you are there for one week only , your led to believe you very lucky and you can double your money back in westernised countrys , sounds great huh yeh well i got ripped for about 4000$ u.s. call me a sucker but there very smooth ..its not isolated to one company its very common ..
Be very wary about buying jewellery and antiques - the market in Thailand is rife with fakes. If you think you're being asked to pay a lot of money for an inauthentic item, or you're being overcharged for a service, report the incident to the tourist police. Be careful if someone offers you a free tour of the Chao Phraya,it's likely that at some point, in some remote location, you'll be asked to 'contribute' some large sum of money to the venture. Watch your handbags and camera cases when you're shopping in the markets.
Watch out for over friendly, well dressed Thai's approaching you near the Grand Palace, Sanam Luang, or Wat Pho that are telling you about special holiday prices on Gem Stones!! Unless your an expert you will be scammed!!! Read my travelogue on Bangkok. I don't have any pictures of these scammers!! Hhahha Next time if I remember I'll take a photo of them.
*#*Beware of Conmen!!!*#*
In Bangkok,there are several situations where you might encounter:
Visitors are approached on the street by respectable looking men who speak good english and they will be freindly and offer their assistance or services free, or at a very low price.At some point of the conversation,they will suggest that you go to a jewelry shop.After purchasing some jewelry,the visitors found out that they have been cheated.
1.Beware of any encounter with strangers!
2.Note that there are no government promotions and special sales at any time of the year.
We came across many scams in Bangkok.
1) Well-dressed young men may stop you in the street and say something like, 'Didn't I see you in the hotel this morning? How are you etc.' This is a ploy to get you talking. When they find out where you come from, they will say they have been there and reel off a few local facts so that you almost believe them. Then they will tell you they trade gold/jewellery/perfume/, whatever, and that if you go to their shop ... do I need to go on?!?
2) As you make your way to your destination (e.g. a temple complex), someone will stop you and ask if you are going to your destination. When you say, yes, they will tell you it's closed for the holiday. Then they will tell you that instead you should go to some shopping complex where there is a one-day sale (today!) where you can get bargains galore. Don't believe them - just carry on to your destination.
3) Your tuk-tuk driver may nod when you tell him your destination and then take you to a tailor's shop where he will try and take you in.