Thai dating scams and romance scams

April 19, 2021 - Reading time: 15 minutes

Data which has been published by the United States Federal Trade Commission reveals that consumers reported losing a massive $201 million to romance scams in 2019, which was almost a 40% increase since 2018. We see internet dating scams as a growing problem around the world, and as a leading detective agency we often deal with the fallout of Thai dating/romance scams, with many clients seeking to trace the person (or people) that have defrauded them.

When it comes to Thai dating scams or romance scams in general, we believe that prevention is always better than cure. Performing checks early on in a relationship is a better course of action than trying to locate the perpetrator of a dating scam after the damage has been done. We certainly encourage anyone that holds suspicions about their partner to verify their claims and check that they are who they claim to be.

Different types of Thai dating scams

Thai dating scams can take many different forms; however, we tend to see certain tactics being used more often than others. Here are some of the most common Thai dating scams.

1. The fake identity scam

Fake identity scams are often practiced by fraudsters around the world. Put simply, the fraudster will steal the identity of another person, and using their photos, will convince their victims that they are speaking to a Thai woman. The fraudster might not be female themselves, or even based in Thailand.

Thai woman

You might think that you could never be fooled by a romance scam where the scammer is using a fake identity; however, it's important to remember that many professional fraudsters are very good at their jobs, and can make scams using false identities appear very convincing. Thousands of people annually fall victim to romance scams which involve stolen identities.

In order to avoid this type of scam, never send money to someone that you have not met in real life. If you decide that you must send money to someone you have never met, let us check their story before you do so. We have protected many, many clients from this type of scam in the past, don't allow yourself to become a victim.

2. The multiple boyfriends scam

This is the classic "Thai girlfriend scam" which is commonly known around the world. Put simply, some Thai ladies aim to find several foreign boyfriends. Some of these men will send money on a regular basis, some guys will only send cash when the lady needs extra money. Some boyfriends will not send any money; however, they will visit Thailand and pay for lavish vacations for the lady to enjoy, and buy gifts for their girlfriend while they are in the country.

Lying signs

By having multiple boyfriends, attractive Thai ladies are able to earn themselves huge amounts of money, and it's easy to understand why some women are drawn to this type of scam.

3. The fake university student scam

What is the fake university student scam? Well, many ladies that work in the Thai sex industry will use online dating in order to find potential boyfriends and victims for romance scams. These ladies will not disclose their true occupation to their partners, and some will claim to be university students, while they in fact work in the Thai red-light areas.

Other ladies will claim to hold legitimate jobs at retail stores, restaurants, or companies, whilst they actually in the sex industry. 

In order for the fake university student scam to work, the lady will typically visit a local university and take many different photos there. If the lady is falsely claiming to be employed somewhere, she will typically take a lot of photos in that workplace in order to make the scam appear convincing. Borrowing work uniform from friends in order to make the photos appear convincing is another common tactic used for the scam. 

4. The "HELP I'M IN JAIL" scam

You are dating a Thai lady and one day she claims that she has been arrested, usually for an obscure crime. The lady will send you photos of her sitting inside a jail cell or police station, she might make a panicked phone call telling you that she has been arrested. Next thing you know, you are wiring wads of cash to one of her family members to pay her bail and secure her release from jail.

Asian lady behind bars in jail

This scam is a lot more common than you might think, and something which we deal with often. If a person claims to be locked up in Thailand, we can check to see if this is the case and often gather details on the situation. Typically though, we discover that the lady is not being held by the police, and that she has simply fabricated a story in order to demand cash from her boyfriend.

5. The ladyboy scam

Some men will claim that they can easily spot any ladyboy (or transgendered person), however, many ladyboys are very difficult to spot from women that were born female. Hormone therapy and cosmetic surgery can make some ladyboys virtually indistinguishable from regular females.

And with male to female genital surgery more popular than ever, many ladyboys have lost any reminder that they were born male. Believe it or not, some guys will struggle to notice the difference between a post-operative ladyboy and a lady that was born female.

We can help to verify the gender of your Thai girlfriend as part of our background check service.

6. The hospital emergency scam

You're dating a Thai lady through the internet, perhaps you've not met her in person yet (or perhaps you have), and one day she sends you photos from inside a hospital… She claims to be sick, through illness or an accident, and you guessed it, she needs help with her medical bills.

Hospital beds

The lady will usually take photos of herself in a hospital bed (or a clinic which looks very similar a hospital) in order to make the scam as convincing as possible. This scam is often successful, with many concerned guys wiring money to their girlfriends as soon as possible.

7. The Thai girlfriend pregnancy scam

The so-called 'Thai girlfriend pregnancy scam' is another scam that we are tasked with investigating on behalf of our clients on a fairly regular basis. For this scam to work you will need to have had intimate contact with the lady at some stage in your relationship.

The pregnancy scam is often committed by ladies that work in nightlife venues (such as beer bars, go-go bars, or massage parlours), however it can also involve females from all different professions and walks of life.

Positive pregnancy test

It usually goes down like this: After having intimate contact with the lady, she will then get in touch with you after a period of weeks, appearing deeply worried and concerned whilst claiming to have missed a period. "I think I'm pregnant" - Remember, scam artists are often great actors. The lady might be crying or put on a great act to make this appear convincing. She might have even bought a positive pregnancy test in order to bolster her claim.

However slim the chance may be, most responsible men will not walk away from a woman that they think could be carrying their child. Many will return to Thailand in order to spend more time with the lady, or perhaps start wiring money so that the lady can put her feet up and take time off work while she is pregnant. After the relationship is further solidified, the lady will usually present herself in floods of tears and claim to have had a miscarriage... Most guys with a conscience will not walk away at this point either.

In some cases pregnancy scams can run for months, and may even involve fake medical documents to backup the claim. However long it runs for, the goal is usually to pull you deeper into a relationship and to prevent you from walking away.

How to protect yourself from Thai dating scams

It's important to understand that Thai dating scams are usually perpetrated by professional fraudsters. People that earn a living through romance or dating scams typically do so over a number of years. They learn how to convince you with their lies, and how to extract the most amount of money from each victim.

Thai lady video calling

Due to the sophistication of many scammers, discovering that you are being lied to is often extremely difficult or impossible in some cases. With that said, we have put together the following tips which might protect you from Thai dating scams.

1. Never send money to someone that you have not met in person

Scammers are excellent at creating situations where they are desperate for money – they may actually be desperate for money. However, sending money to someone that you have not met in real life is never a good idea. Before wiring money, why not jump on a plane and meet them face to face? This will give you a chance to get to know the person, verify their identity, and see how they actually behave in real life.

If you are not ready or willing to meet them in person, then we can help to verify their claims by conducting an investigation.

2. Don't share private information

Romance scammers will typically use information from social media websites, or information which has been sent to them, to better understand their victims, for identity theft, and even to use their victims' identity in further scams. 

By understanding more about their victim's personal lives, romance scammers are able to better understand how to manipulate them and commit acts of fraud. Private information is intended to be just that – private. Keep a tight grip on information that you are sharing through the internet and consider which details you decide to share.

3. Use video calling

If you are dating someone from Thailand, try to use video calling as much as possible. Ask yourself: Does this person match their photos? Do they sound the same during both audio and video calls? Do they speak in the same way that they write messages to you? Ask her to turnaround and show her surroundings, where is she? 

Some romance scammers can playback pre-recorded footage during video calls, so pay close attention during the calls. Mention subjects which you have previously discussed through text chat, does she remember your past conversations? Is this the same person that you have been speaking with via text?

4. Arrange to physically meet the person

If you are internet dating a lady from Thailand (or even a ladyboy or a man), then physically meeting that person in real life as soon as possible should be a priority for you. This will not only allow you to verify that they truly exist, but also to get to know them and understand if you are a match.

Speaking with someone over the internet, and physically living with them 24/7, are two different things altogether, and we would suggest meeting them in real life as soon as possible if you are serious about the relationship.

If you are not able to meet them in person, or would like further assurances before you decide to take that step, then we would certainly recommend hiring a professional to run checks.

5. Hire a professional to run checks

If you are dealing with a professional fraudster, then it will often take a professional detective that is experienced in romance scam investigations to help get to the bottom of a situation or confirm that a person is legitimate.

Due to the prevalence of Thai romance scams, it often makes sense to protect your interests by hiring a private investigator to verify claims that have been made by your partner. We can help to investigate Thai girlfriend scams, saving you time, money, and heartache. Indeed, we have prevented literally hundreds of our clients from falling victim to scams in the past.

Thailand background checks

Learn more about our background check service.

How we can help to prevent Thai dating scams

We offer a number of different services which can be used to detect dating scams, including:

  • Identity check (name, photo, age, gender)
  • Lifestyle checks (surveillance) 
  • Address check
  • Criminal record & arrest warrants check
  • Employment check
  • Marriage/divorce history check
  • Children check
  • Social media check
  • Decoy service check
  • Education checks

Don't allow yourself to fall victim to a Thai dating scam. If you require the help from an experienced private investigator, then contact one of our experienced team members for a free, no pressure quote, or visit the Bangkok Investigators homepage to learn more about us. Please include as much information as possible with your inquiry so that we are able to understand your requirements and how we are able to help.

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