Talking to a Thai girl today at dinner – a friend of my girlfriend… she used to date a Canadian guy that was scamming people online everywhichway for usually hundreds and often thousands of dollars on Ebay and through other means.
As foreigners in Thailand you MUST be careful. In fact, when online I’d be much more careful about foreigners scamming you than anyone else. The scumbags of the world arrive here in Thailand and set up shop.
They sell property that doesn’t exist. They sell cars that are stolen. They sell computers on EBay, BahtSold, Craigslist and other online sites.
If you’re going to buy something from someone that advertises in one of these places, I’d suggest a few things…
1. Try to meet in person to make the exchange – cash for product. Know what 1,000 baht looks like and feels like, and the verification checks you can do to ensure you have real baht.
2. Take your time to test it when you do. You only have a few minutes. If it’s electronics – turn it on and do something with it. Shake it… make sure it works whether it’s sitting still on your desk or moving in your hand.
If it’s a notebook computer you should try the CD-ROM drive, the usb ports, check the system icon in control panel and make sure there aren’t any yellow exclamation marks. Test whatever you’re buying and make certain it works because if someone’s scamming you – even in person, they’re betting you’re not going to do the one thing that doesn’t work with whatever they’re selling.
3. Google the email address the seller uses to list the item on the websites. If you get nothing – that’s a clue that this is a fresh email address that is too clean. If the person lives here and is advertising online some expensive item probably there’s a history attached to their email address. If you can’t find at least a few posts in Google that the person with that email address made – be VERY cautious. I always ask for the person’s main email address so I can get some results in Google. Otherwise – I don’t do any business with the person.
For instance… google my two main email addresses, “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org” and see what you get. Surely there’s a hundred results. Probably more – I haven’t done it in a while. Ask the person if he/she has any blogs or websites or anyone of repute that can vouch for them. If not don’t get into any deal with the person.
4. Ask the seller for the serial number of the item – and look it up on the manufacturer’s website. Digital cameras and other items can often be found this way. Perhaps it’s stolen and when you Google the serial number you find out it was reported stolen and if you ever send that item into the manufacturer you’re going to get screwed and lose it – the owner will get it back!
5. Meet the person in person to close the deal. Honestly I don’t think I’d ever send money through ATM transfer or Paypal to another foreigner here in Thailand unless that person was well known and I could track him/her down in the case of getting ripped off. I don’t like to get ripped off. I really don’t like it.
I’ve sold a number of 20,000 Thai baht and higher items while here in Thailand. I’m amazed at the trust buyers have in buying my items. They readily transfer money Atm to Atm and it ends up in my bank account.
I usually attach a signature to my email when responding to buyers that lists like 6 of my websites. It wouldn’t be hard to track me down. I hope that’s the reason why – and I hope they aren’t just that trusting.
I know there are some very trusting people here in Thailand though. I’ve met some of them.
Are you a trusting person – or a cautious person?
I’m way over the edge with being cautious – and it’s served me well in Thailand. I hope you choose that option too – you’ll be happier for it.
How can you stay safe in Thailand?
You can start by getting “the book”.
For a current state of the country because it’s updated often – see the ultimate Thailand Guide – Thai Black Book – your guide to staying safe in Thailand
Thai Black Book information site- >