If You Fall for a Scam, Here’s Why You’ll Do It


Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer beware.

Unfortunately, Sam, a young American man on a dream trip to Bangkok, forgot this familiar Latin phrase. While walking towards a planned tour of the famous Grand Palace, a short, thin, local man with a toothless grin stopped him, saying the Palace was closed for renovations today. However, Sam’s new friend knew of another must-see temple: The Lucky Buddha. Patting Sam on the back, the local waved to a nearby tuk-tuk driver and negotiated a bargain ride of 20 baht (about $0.60). For no extra charge, he was told, the driver would be happy to show Sam the Shiny Miner, the place to find the best deals on precious Thai gemstones.

As Sam admired the remote shrine, another 20-something American man approached. It was refreshing to see a similar fellow traveler, so Sam relaxed into a conversation. He asked if the other man had heard of the Shiny Miner. Yes, he learned, you can get great deals on quality gems there. In fact, this young man pays for his adventures by selling gems back home for over twice what he pays for them here.

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