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Old 09-17-2012, 03:23 AM
Location: Whittier, CA
494 posts, read 1,604,902 times
Reputation: 452


Just fell into the trap of the Beijing tea scam, feel like such an idiot. I've traveled so much should have known better... lost $100, thank goodness it wasn't more but my ego is in the sewer right now.

Part of the reason I got conned was that I let my guard down. You can read about the scam on the net as it's a common one.

Anyone else fallen for similar scams when traveling?
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:23 AM
32,079 posts, read 32,986,776 times
Reputation: 14951
I was in Beijing and I didn't fall into any scams although I know of some of the common ones there (without knowing what exactly happened to you).
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:58 AM
1,176 posts, read 2,760,564 times
Reputation: 455
You meant scam not scum, right?

Why not include at least the gist of the scam rather than telling people to do a search?
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:06 PM
Location: Guangzhou, China
9,779 posts, read 13,359,093 times
Reputation: 11309
To sum it up: someone starts chatting you up in English, usually telling you that they are an English student; possibly, they are very attractive on top of it and are being flirty. They offer to help you find locations, etc, build rapport with you, and then invite you to eat with them at a tea house or restaurant. When you get there, you either aren't shown a menu, or you're shown a menu without the prices on it. When the bill comes, it's a thousand RMB. The "student" who brought you there is probably either a relative or employee of the business, or they get a kickback whenever they get someone to come in and buy tea at 3,000x its value. As a foreigner, don't expect too much sympathy if you call the cops... You just got hosed.
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:28 AM
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
12,408 posts, read 16,481,392 times
Reputation: 8777
I'm sorry that this happened to you. It's easy to let your guard down, as a tourist. Sometimes it's a good idea to travel with a group where people watch out for each other and a tour guide acts as a mama hen.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:57 PM
Location: Sunny Bay Area, CA
1,566 posts, read 1,782,482 times
Reputation: 3250
I know someone this happened too also, just recently also. It's definitely a known thing - good thing you were only out a $100 bucks, my friend is out way more than that. But he did sign the bill without even looking at the amount being charged - I can't imagine doing that. Also, I can't imagine ordering off a menu that's not showing any prices, since I base my decisions on pricing always, but who's to say when you're in a foreign country and caught up in it. Thanks for posting this, more people need to realize this scam is out there and happening all the time.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:45 PM
Location: Vancouver
216 posts, read 360,681 times
Reputation: 177
This sounds almost like the Greek cafe scam. Someone chats you up, girl is hot and flirty. Order a drink, and they overcharge you 100X.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:22 PM
Location: Whittier, CA
494 posts, read 1,604,902 times
Reputation: 452
I usually am super wary of scams like this but I let my guard down for a few reasons... I had a very long day and wanted to relax somewhere, I thought having company with some locals would be interesting, I did not recall the scam at that moment (amnesia!) even though I had read about it prior.

The reason I was out "only" $100 was because I reached a point when I was about to leave and they realized I was getting very suspicious it was now or never to get the bill otherwise they were going to run up much more of a tab.

The reason I meekly paid was... at least this was the logic in my head at the time: I am in a corrupt communist country where I do not speak the language... I can decide to cut my losses and pay $100 or try to fight my way out of paying with unknown consequences...I may be robbed (I had more than $100 on me) or worse I could be accused of some false crime (like I assaulted someone and the cops being in on it may take me to the clink)... the joint could be run by the chinese mafia and f-ing with the mafia, well you know how that would go...i figured it was already too late once I entered the tea house.

Now maybe I could have got off paying but for $100 is it worth taking the risk and possibly ruing my entire holiday?

Whether these people are harmless cons or linked with dangerous criminals I had no idea.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:49 AM
5,823 posts, read 10,156,163 times
Reputation: 4536
It happened exactly the same thing to me in Paris several years ago with an American tourist I had just met while browsing some books at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in front of Notre Dame . The guy wanted me to show him " Paris at night" , I asked a taxi driver who unfortunately who brought us to a weird place, it was a night club who scammed me . I had the same train of thought as you did (and was facing two muscular ushers who even extracted my credit card from my pocket). The clever guy I was with escaped paying playing the idiot tourist who doesn't understand French!
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:07 PM
Location: City of Angels
2,935 posts, read 4,767,656 times
Reputation: 2236
it happened to me in shanghai in 2005. sexy girl approached me on nanjing rd, said she wanted to hang out with an english speaker, was very flirty, etc. when we got to the place her friend was there, so ordered drinks for both of them, after their second drinks arrived without my consent, asked for the bill, was like 1200rmb or somethin.

lesson learned. nowadays i just insist that i pick the place we go to, eliminates the problem.
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