Be on your guard against pickpockets and bag snatchers. Foreigners have had items snatched by thieves on motorbikes when walking along busy streets or travelling in open transport like tuk tuks. Bags with shoulder straps should either be carried with the bag towards the pavement rather than the road, or tucked under the arm. If you travel by bus or rail, make sure passports, cash and valuables are kept securely and out of sight. Passengers have had items taken from bags while asleep.
Don’t hand over your passport to third parties as a guarantee (eg to motorcycle or jet ski rental businesses). Unscrupulous owners have been known to hold on to passports against claimed damage.
If you rent jet skis or water sports equipment, satisfy yourself that adequate safety precautions are in place. Rent only from reputable, licensed and insured operators, thoroughly check for damage before use and insist on training.
Be aware of the possibility of credit card fraud. Don’t lose sight of your card during transactions. There have been incidents of ATM skimming in Thailand. Where possible use an ATM within a bank and always protect your PIN.
Be careful to observe demarcation lines between shops and stalls, particularly in market areas. Taking items from one shop’s area to another may be treated as suspected theft.
Gem scams are common. There have been reports of visitors buying gems for inflated prices from seemingly respectable establishments then later finding out the stones are worth a tiny fraction of the purchase price.
Beware of scams in popular tourist areas. A common example is the ‘tea tasting’ scam or ‘massage’ scam. You may be invited to visit a bar, to participate in tea tasting or for a massage, but then face demands for an exorbitant fee. This can be followed by threats or actual violence, and credit card fraud.