Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Apparent scam targetting solo female tourists, what is it about?

Posted by Katty on 1/3/2012 at 07:40

Hi there,

I am a solo female traveler and I have had the same spiel given to me from 2 different people in 2 different cities, the first one was in Siem Reap, I am a photographer and had my camera out as I was doing some photography, a male came up to me and said 'nice camera' I said thanks and smiled, he asked where my accent was from, I said Australian, he went on to say he had a niece planning on coming to Australia to study and could I come back to his hotel to speak to her to give her advice on best universities, I said I had no idea and her best bet would be to go online and suggested one uni to look in to, all the while being polite but knowing he was up to no good, he said he was from Malaysia and that his family was with him but he had gone for a walk to have some time alone away from them, he was really well dressed and looked to be well off. For the record, I actually had my video camera recording at the time so caught the whole convo on tape. It was very dodgy

Tonight I was walking along the river in Phnom Penh out the front of my hotel, I had my backpack with camera in it so it wasnt visible at the time, (this man asked what was in my bag) a man was sitting down on a park bench watching the people dancing, I had stopped to look for a minute then walked off, as I waslked past him he commented on the dancing I replied politely then he asked where I was from, as soon as I said Australia an almost identical conversation started as with the first guy in Siem Reap, same deal as well, the guy was well dressed, clean cut etc. this time he wanted me to call his female cousin in Vietnam as I had mentioned that was where I was going tomorrow and if I could meet with her to speak to her about where to go etc.

If it does happen again I will be blunt but still smile and ask what it is they are trying to do here, I am sure they wont tell me but at least it will save the whole conversation again, does anyone know what it is they are trying to do? Is it a known scam? I cant find anything on the net, perhaps it's just pure coincidence but they seem to have the exact same spiel and they ask the exact same questions about who I am travelling with and why such a beautiful girl doesnt have a boyfriend blah blah........... then asking me to help out a female relative wanting information about Australia

If there are any girls who have the same experience or do have the same experience I would just say beware of these people as they seem really nice and I think some people would fall for their trick, whatever it may be

#1 Katty has been a member since 1/3/2012. Posts: 6

Posted by tyler on 1/3/2012 at 08:13

It is about getting robbed...or worse.

#2 tyler has been a member since 7/12/2010. Location: Canada. Posts: 257
 Send tyler a private message   Where has tyler been? 

Posted by MADMAC on 1/3/2012 at 10:19

"Who are you travelling with?"
"My boyfriend and another couple"
"Where are they?"
"Back at the hotel."
"Can you come to my hotel"
"No - I have to get back to my boyfriend now."

#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by wanderingcat on 1/3/2012 at 12:35

seen lots of reports of similar stories on another forum (the tale always begins with some relative planning to go to the tourist's country for higher education)...but the scam was not targeting female tourists in particular (male tourists & couples were also targeted), & most incidents took place in Malaysia.

what MADMAC posted is useful :) no stranger on the street needs to know the truth about who you're travelling with.

#4 wanderingcat has been a member since 21/10/2006. Posts: 730
 Send wanderingcat a private message   Where has wanderingcat been?   Website 

Posted by busylizzy on 1/3/2012 at 13:06

Madmac is on the right track. I often have to make up a whole persona when I'm on my own!

Yes I'm married. My husband is at home working / back at the hotel. Yes, I have 2 kids, age 19 and 20, etc, etc. (Thanks to my sister for lending me her kids!)

The sad sorrowful faces that I receive if I say that I don't have kids is well... worth the guilt that I feel when lying about it!

The other thing is to maybe wear a cheap band on your wedding finger. Not sure exactly what it will achieve.. but it's more 'info' backing up your story of a partner in the background and it might just put off a few people targetting you.

#5 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,153
 Send busylizzy a private message   Where has busylizzy been? 

Posted by idreamofdurian on 1/3/2012 at 21:16 TF writer

I travel solo a lot too and have had similar experiences. It's happened in China, India, Thailand, Egypt, Vietnam - I say I'm from Canada and they (or their sister/cousin/neighbor) is planning to study in Toronto (it's never one of the smaller cities!) and would love to talk to me about it... or invites me to their home to translate something for them (without specifying what language!!) My exit-strategy is to say I have to meet my (imaginary) travel partner in 15 minutes, so can't, but wish them luck.

I never really felt like I was any physical danger, but they're definitely up to no good. It could be the lead-in to so many kinds of scams.... I imagine I'd get invited to the home for dinner, they'd be really nice, then tell me some kind of fake sob story and ask for money. Or just rob me then.

#6 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
 Send idreamofdurian a private message   Website   Twitter   Flickr  

Posted by Rasheeed on 2/3/2012 at 00:29

Rob them before they rob you. That'll teach them.

#7 Rasheeed has been a member since 4/11/2010. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 311
 Send Rasheeed a private message   Website   Twitter 

Posted by 9preciousGems on 2/3/2012 at 10:57

it sounds like the scam where you get embroiled in a card game. When you visit to talk to the relative they are out but will be back soon - meanwhile uncle bob has some time to fill, he works in a casino and knows a way you can make loads of money in them. A card game starts and some other person turns up and you end up owing them loads of money..

steer clear or rob them first lol

#8 9preciousGems has been a member since 13/1/2011. Posts: 82

Posted by Katty on 22/3/2012 at 03:09

Thanks for the replies everyone, thankfully I havent had it happen again but have come across a few people who have had similar experiences, wont watse my time talking to these people again if they strike up the same conversation

#9 Katty has been a member since 1/3/2012. Posts: 6

Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.