Scams: How to Outfox the Fox

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Terry Cox captured his luggage just after it dropped onto the carousel in the Bangkok airport. Weary from the very long flight, he stepped into the bright sunlight looking for a taxi. A smiling young man immediately appeared at his elbow.

"Sir, taxi cost you twenty-five U.S. dollars. You come with me. I take you into town. No charge. You see my hotel. Very nice. If you don't like, I drop you at Royal Palace, no problem. I take your bag?"

Terry gave him the heavy bag and wound up staying at a wonderful hotel set back about fifty yards from the bustling Chao Phraya River. Not only had he avoided the $25 cab ride but he paid one-fourth what he'd budgeted for hotel expenses.

That decision worked out for Terry, but would you have accepted that ride into town? Well, I've done just that—and more than once.

Many people make their living offering to "help." They have to hustle to attract travelers to their picturesque small hotel or safari van or dive boat.

In my experience they have usually been legitimate, provided useful service, and earned a generous tip. On the rare occasion when what someone promised wasn't what he delivered we've parted with no hard feelings.

The fact is that the moment you walk out the front entrance of the airport in a faraway land everyone is happy to see you.

Unfortunately, a tiny minority may express their happiness in ways that are definitely not in your best interest.

How do you tell them apart?

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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