With the growth of the internet marriage scams are becoming a major problem for authorities worldwide. These scams could be financial or worst end in human trafficking. The scams listed below are some of the most common scams in Thailand when it comes to marriage scams which are mostly financial in origin. There have over the years been numerous articles written on the issue of dowry in Thailand and how lovelorn foreigners find themselves out of pocket in Thailand with regards to dowry.
Most expats will agree that dowry has become more of a gesture of goodwill when the marriage is between a Thai and a foreigner. It is still big in Thai culture and an integral part of the marriage process. It does however get abused.
John met his girlfriend on the internet and he has fallen in love. He comes to Thailand and wants to get married. They have a small ceremony in a local village in Issaan and the parents are looking for 1million Baht as a dowry. He pays the dowry and does the ceremony. He believes that he is now married to Lek however Lek does a disappearing act and the parents are not her parents but her friends who got paid to play their part.
What he does not understand is that the ceremony is not legally binding and he is now out of pocket. These are not uncommon and many times it goes beyond dowry payments but involves property as well. If you are not certain about the laws in Thailand or the traditions you are always best served sending an email to a law firm to ask questions. Most law firms will give you an answer without any cost. Remember litigation and recovering debt in Thailand is a long and expensive process.
She is not a woman:
If you have ever been to Thailand you will know that many transgender people look much like a normal Thai women. Now add in the internet and things can and usually do get out of hand. You met her online and she wants money. There could be one of a thousand excuses for this need for the money. Wedding arrangements paid for and he is off to Thailand only to find out that Lek is not Lek but Somchai. Heart broken and money spent on a fantasy is that he will get. It might sound ridicules but once you have lived in Thailand for a number of years – you have heard it all.
The Dead Buffalo
There was a good story doing the rounds in Thailand a few years ago. A foreigner who was moving to Thailand met a woman in Pattaya and fell in love with her. He went back to the US to pack up his life to live in Thailand. She was going to arrange their marriage in the village and asked him for 30,000 Baht to start the process. The story goes like this:
Richard was asked for the 30,000 Baht by Nui to go back to Issaan to prepare for their wedding in Thailand. He agreed and gave her the money. While he was away she sent him and email asking for another 30,000 Baht as her father had an accident. After much thinking he sent her another 30,000 Baht. It was not long after 2 weeks later that she asked for another 30,000 Baht as father is going to prison and she needs to bribe the police. He hesitated and asked her to explain why he should send her money again. She explained that the 30,000 Baht he gave her in Pattaya she used to buy a Buffalo as a gift to her mother. The Buffalo died and she thought it a good idea to sell the meat to the local market. Father had an accident on the way to the market and the dead buffalo fell on him. This is why she asked him for money again. She thought the sale of the meat would make up the money but the people who bought the meat all became ill and now the police want to arrest them. Could he please send the last 30,000 Baht.
Safe to say when he returned to Thailand he never saw Nui again. She had disappeared into thin air and the legend of the dead buffalo still lives on in Thailand in the expat community. If you are in doubt then more likely than not you are correct. When in a foreign country always use your head and not your heart. When in doubt, seek legal advice. There are many stories about how men have lost their pensions, property and sanity in all types of marriage scams.
You have been warned.