Incredible gem scam story – December 22, 2005

Incredible gem scam story: 'Finally, she became tired and really went crazy, not pretendedly, by her body language such as her short breadth, shaking shoulders, beating desk hands, and angrily opened eyes' - December 22, 2005


I want to report you that I am a new victim for the gem scam, too. (2005 Dec 4 afternoon) The scam shop is S.S.S. Jewelry Limited Partnership. As the content of the email about S.S.S. Jewelry published on your website, I also met a nice Thai who can speak good English but the location was Ratchadamneon Road, near Khao San Road. He very friendly talked to me, asking many questions such as where I am going to, where am I from, how many days have I stayed in Bangkok, how many days will I stay in Bangkok, etc, and finally suggested me a visiting route, and circled them on my map. That first site is Wat Intharawihan, second site is Wat Benchamabophit, third is an Thai Export (at that moment, I don't know what he meant), and the forth(final) site is Wat Sunthon. He said that some of those wats are free visited today for King's birthday also brought me to a Tuk Tuk driver and automatically help me to bargain the Tuk Tuk fee from 40 baht for 20 baht and claimed 20 baht was the true price. Unfortunately, this is my first time taking Tuk Tuk in Bangkok, I don't know the actual and reasonable fee for such sightseeing. I stepped into the trap.

In the first site, Wat Intharawihan, nothing happened. But in the second site, Wat Benchamabophit, I met a 3 touts. The first one, weared like a manager, told me that it was noon rest time for the Wat and asked me to sit down in a chair to wait 10 minutes until the Wat opened again. On the chair, another tout sat already, he can speak very good English and claimed that he run a Thai restaurant in USA. In fact, he played the role to explain details, to answer questions, and to lure victims to S.S.S. Jewelry Limited Partnership. The baits (lies) are that 1. the shop is on sale now, only once per year. 2. The shop is the only one controlled by government, so it is much cheaper than any other jewelry shop. 3. Besides, Thailand Ruby's export tax is 195%, very high. 4. I can resell it in my home country to earn my the traveling money. (It is the main reason I hooked) 5. He has done it every years more than 10 years. ( He claimed that he wait for the shop's discount every year and comes back to this home country Thailand for vacation.) 6. He showed his purchasing receipt by S.S.S. Jewelry from his wallet to make an image that all he told to me was true. He even prepared a Thai newspaper full of photos of gems and gem workers and claimed it is the advertisement for the discount of that S.S.S.

He emphasized many times that I am very lucky to know this news on the last day. After hearing his story, the first one who looks like a manager came to tell me the Wat opened again, I can visit it. When I entered the Wat, another tout, a white man, weared completely like a tourist, appeared in the entrance at the same time to visit the Wat. It seemed occasional, but in fact arranged. He talked to me naturally and claimed that he came from London and often visited Thailand. He controlled his speed of visiting the Wat to go with me together, seems occasionally. During visiting the Wat, he chatted many things with me and mentioned he also bought jewelry from the S.S.S. Jewelry shop every year and resold them on other countries to earn traveling money. Similarly, he showed his purchasing receipts form S.S.S. Jewelry to enhance the those lies. When visiting Wat Benchamabophit, I felt a little strange. In the wat, many children plays and many adults chat. It didn't look like just taking a noon rest. After visiting this Wat, the second tout, who claimed he runs a restaurant in USA, still sat the chair and I went to say good-bye for him. I felt another thing strange, why did he talk to another tourist, a black women, very happily, and his purchasing receipt is on the chair, not in his wallet?

Although I felt something strange, I didn't find that was a big scam. Thereafter, I went to the S.S.S. Jewelry shop and heard every details from the clerks the same as the touts. For example, 1. it is the last day of the discount week. 2. Only foreign tourists can buy. 3. Every tourist only can buy three times. 4. The ruby in their shop is really much cheaper than my nation's shop. 5 Any items sold from this shop only can be for personal use, not allowed for reselling. Those clerks even emphasized that they wished me to buy less or cheaper ones at the first time. They want to make friends rather than making money.

It was strange, too. But I didn't understand Jewelry shop clearly, especially in Thailand, not my home country. I was very worried at that moment. Was I making a mistake? I didn't bring my credit card, so I ask them to let me consider what to buy when I come back to my guest house taking my credit card. All of their employees are female, and one of them went with me to take my credit card. I felt very regretful that I didn't consult Internet when I came back to take my credit card and did it after purchasing. After coming back to the S.S.S. Jewelry, I meet the black woman again. I am still very worried, so I asked her if she know ruby's price in her country, but she didn't know. All of those employees who promotes their items to me saw I was very worried, but they claimed that I should be happy, not be worried, because their price is really low and really good. Their ruby is local product, and really worthy for the price. But I still could not make a good decision. I was still very worried because I knew my information is not enough. Finally, they claimed that it was the last day of the discount week and they had to close early to check all items and pressed me on to make a decision. So, after purchasing 2 gems in S.S.S., I came back to an Internet Shop soon and found your website, read the similar story as mime. I knew I was unfortunately hooked. I soon came back to S.S.S., but it did close, all items are not on the desk. For my most effort, I notified my credit card bank immediately, but they said they can't cancel the payment because when I bought those gems, I was on my willing, not forced.

I carefully read the gem scam articles in your website, and felt much thankful for you for providing information for victims such as me to get some help and to prevent next victim. I know that I had been hooked already and what I can do is merely to notify TAT, tourists police, and my nation's agency in Thailand. Today is Thailand King's birthday(DEC 5 2005), so both TAT and S.S.S. Jewelry are closed. My nation's agency has emergency call and have promised that one of their employee can go with me to S.S.S. Jewelry
tomorrow but I have to suffer some money loss for the shop's return charging, maybe 20%. They said I was the 2nd unfortunate person who fell in such trap this year from my country, Taiwan.

The final result was that I took back 91.86% (135000/146960). One of my embassy's employee called to S.S.S. this morning with pure speaking in Thai language and get a promise to return gems with full money but charge additional 3~5% credit card fee. However, it was not true. When I went to the shop alone, the process is very terrible. The manager, a woman, denied any promise of 3~5% and claimed no any refund because I had singed on a agreement listed that. Besides, she also threatened me for any possible claims such as She claimed she would call the Police to kick me out of the shop, she claimed she didn't want to talk to me any more and call her lawyers to talk with me (with handing up her cell phone), she claimed that she even can close the shop immediately and not to waste any time to negotiate with me. However, she didn't do what she claimed. But she did call in a very huge Thai man to force me to talk to her in a small room in 2rd floor and she claimed she couldn't guarantee my body's safety if I didn't follow. Sometimes she was even so angry that she told me openly that this is a gem scam and everyone who told to me in the trap can get a commission totally 40% of my payment immediately after I sign my name on the credit card receipt. About the percentage and the time touts get money, maybe it is a lie, maybe it is a truth. I mention this only to emphasize the process was very very unreasonable.

I spent more than 3 hours in the shop to beg her to uplevel the refund started from 70%. Of course, she threatened me and always claimed the amount is the final limit. But it did become more and more when I consisted to beg her and continuously apologized to calm her anger. From 102870(70%), to 110000, to 120000, to 130000, to 135000. Finally, she became tired and really went crazy, not pretendedly, by her body language such as her short breadth, shaking shoulders, beating desk hands, and angrily opened eyes. She claimed they loss more than me because they have paid those touts and lost more than me so she can't uplevel any more. She claimed I have to decide immediately to accept this amount or kicking me out of the shop. I thought the best record 95% report by other victim for S.S.S. was hard to reach again and agreed with her in 135000. After I singed the refund sheet, she even apologized to me for make me loss so much, and told me "business is business, I can't understand". (now I get the idea what she meant is that to threaten victims during the negotiation is the unavoidable way to make more money in such business) She even sincerely kindly (not pretended behavior as 2 day before when I got hooked) linked my arm downstairs and told me to be careful before I walked out the door.

After leaving S.S.S., I took the copy of the refund sheets to my embassy for confirmation because most of the sheet is printed and written in Thai characters I can't know so I have to ask for a believable person rather than S.S.S.'s employees and manager to confirmed it. My embassy's employee confirmed it and told me that I can get the refund.

By the way, I am writing my complete experience including every detailed conversation with everyone involved and the scanned images of every documents involved. I want to publish it as a paper book exhibited in bookstores and libraries to prevent next victim in my country. Now, I have written the story down almost 75% but in Chinese, not in English.

More on the Gem Scam & maps to the scam stores

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