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Phuket Jet Ski Scam - How To Avoid Becoming Another Victim
The Jet-Ski Scam
In recent years there have been an alarming number of reports out of Phuket regarding jet ski scams, mostly in online blogs and on YouTube. The mainstream media in Thailand often is reluctant to report incidents of violence against foreigners, theft or any other crimes that the police are not interested in investigating. Jet ski scams fall into a category of crimes that police in Phuket often turn a blind eye to. Other such crimes include scams involving rental motorcycles, petty theft, assault, and in some cases even murder! This is nothing new in Thailand, these things have been going on for years, only with the increase in social media and online travel blogs has such information come out in the open.
Over the years, the local beach boy mafia has been running several scams along the beach of Patong. Along with the common jet-ski scams, there are also similar scams involving rental motorbikes and jeeps. The scam normally involves mysterious damage that was not caused by the person that hired the vehicle. When the vehicle is returned, there is a demand for financial compensation for damages and repair costs.
How To Avoid Scams
Well the obvious answer to avoiding a jet-ski scam would be simply to decide not to rent a jet-ski, but of course there are many young Aussies that won't even give that option the slightest consideration. In many cases the foreigners that fall victims to these scams have gotten what they deserve. If you come to Thailand looking for trouble, you will find it, and it might be a little shocking when you do. You can avoid a lot of problems, by behaving in a respectful manner, as apposed to being a loud and obnoxious drunk.
If you do decide to rent a jet-ski, or any other vehicle, you should give it a thorough going over before you take it. If you make yourself appear to be the type of person that pays close attention to detail, then you are less likely to be a target, or a "mark". If you are confronted about damage when you return the vehicle, you should remain calm. If you panic, it shows that you are weak and likely willing to pay to avoid a problem. The best way to handle the situation is to politely refuse to pay, and offer an apology that you haven't got the money, and you really don't feel that you are responsible. The more time that passes, the more likely they will be to settle for less, or forget about it all together.
If you become aggressive or confrontational, this will only make matters worse. There is no way you will win a physical confrontation against Thais, it is a lose lose proposition. They might threaten you with police, and you should welcome this. The police they will involve will of course be working with them, and part of the scam. Just remain calm, and continue to refuse to pay, stating that you are not responsible.
If you did crash or damage the vehicle, then you will be responsible to pay for the repair of the damages. Undoubtedly you may be quoted well over and above the actual cost of repair. You will have to negotiate a fair price by remaining calm, and refrain from panicking. As mentioned above, "f you make yourself appear to be the type of person that pays close attention to detail, then you are less likely to be a target".
Famous Jet-Ski Scam
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