Asia is rife with scams because western people have no common sense and honestly, you probably deserve it. Here are some tips on how to avoid wasting time, money, and energy on scamerz.
1. Read the Wiki Voyage entry on common scams
Seriously, just read it and you will have the knowledge to avoid 90 percent of potential scams. There are more scams than you can imagine: Taxi scams, gem scams, visa scams, fake holiday scams, travel agent scams, etc. Familiarize yourself with the moves so you don’t get screwed by a fast talking Thai man with good English skills because you’re from Canada and everyone is nice in Canada. Everyone in Asia views you as a walking bag of cash and will pursue accordingly.
2. Know how to answer “Where are you from?” “Where are you staying?” and “What do you do?”
Sorry bro, but nobody in Asia actually cares. These questions are designed to determine how much money can be extracted from you. Name the cheapest hotel, and insist you are either a student or unemployed. As for “Where are you from?” just shout America and hold your head high. Everyone loves America.
3. Never hand over your passport as collateral for a motorbike (or anything)
At some point during your trip, you will want to rent a motorbike. You should do it, but make sure you use something other than your passport as collateral. Why? Because there is a very high likelihood that upon returning your bike, you will be accused of damaging it in some major way. The motorbike rental place will demand hundreds of dollars, you will freak out and tell the cops, the cops will LOL at you, and you will pay hundreds of dollars to get your passport back. I have seen it happen so many times and it never ends well.
4. Always count your change
I have been shorted a million times, and sometimes by significant sums, so always count your money. Especially if you’ve been drinking, which is when you will definitely not count your money. Thailand and India are the worst about this. Indian people will mean mug you to intimidate because they just don’t give a shit, but Thai people will quickly hand you the forgotten sum when they see you’ve noticed.
5. Learn to walk away
The walk away is your biggest asset when it comes to not getting ripped off. The vendor will try everything to convince you that your desired price is no good, from giving you fake wholesale costs, to laughing at you, to angrily shouting over and over “no way, not possible.” So just walk away. When they realize they’re losing the sale, what was just seconds ago “not possible” will become a done deal.
TL;DR - If it involves money, you are probably being lied to. Be smart or you will get screwed, or even scammed!