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roddy

The Beijing Tea Scam (and a few others)

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gougou

Not being used to having significant amounts of fake money circulating, I have received several fake bills already. All of them have been new style, and all of them have been hundreds (with the exception of one 50 of which I'm not too sure).

The quality in most cases was pretty poor, the paper was very different from a real one - which did not hinder me from accepting the bills just like any other. I'm not alone on that, though, some Chinese would accept the bills even after checking them (which, of course, I read in the paper and did not find out by passing on fakes!!! (sh) )

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roddy

Can I ask where you got fake 100s from? I only ever get 100s from the bank, or occassionally from clients if they pay me cash, but again they would be taking them straight out the bank most of the time. Can't think of any situation where I'd get a 100Y note from someone I didn't know.

Roddy

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gougou

That's exactly what I thought each time people rejected my money: how can it be, I get all my bills from the bank!?!

But later I remembered where they came from. One was from a taxi driver, who said he didn't have enough change for a hundred, and thus handed me back "my" bill (I came back from Sanlitun at the time, so it might not have been my sharpest of moments...).

The other was from a friend who chipped in for dinner. A "friend"? No, unlikely, I don't think it was on purpose.

There should be one more, but I forgot how that happened.

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johnd

I think the most common way to get a fake hundred is when someone does a switch. You hand them the genuine cash, then they give you it back whilst saying they can't accept it. Of course, they changed it for a fake. I often check the last 3 numbers of the bill before paying in a dark taxi.

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roddy

That would make sense - never had that happen to me yet.

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heifeng

I've heard that ATM's are the best way NOT to get fake bills. I have seen some news reports where people get fake 100's even at the bank when they are taking out large amounts of cash at once. I can definitely understand even this happening at a bank because as far as I understand bank tellers are held responsible if their cash counts are incorrect. (Once a bank teller waited for my friend at her dorm for several hours after he was told he shouldn't have accepted her traveler's check and would have to cough up the cash himself )

I usually look at the green 100 or 50 in the corner of a bill. When you angle the bill it should change from greenish to blue-gray....you can also ask shop attendants how they spot a fake since I'm sure they have to do it all day long....

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imron

Buy a little UV light for your keychain :mrgreen:

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roddy
(Once a bank teller waited for my friend at her dorm for several hours after he was told he shouldn't have accepted her traveler's check and would have to cough up the cash himself )

Yeah, once many years back I went to pay a phone bill and it was something like 163.54. I somehow completely misheard and got confused all at once and handed over something completely irrelevant, like 203.12, and the clerk (who seemed to be on his first day anyway) got equally confused, but gave me change and I left feeling somewhat sheepish.

Halfway home he comes running up behind me and explains breathlessly he made a mistake but I can't figure out whether he's saying he gave me too much or too little. So I hold out my hand with a bunch of change in it, figuring if it was too much he'll put some more in, if it was too little he could take some away. He very carefully took out something like 1.2Y, apologised profusely and ran back off to work.

Have also heard of fake notes from banks, although never suffered myself. I've seen people trying to pay money in be told some of their cash is fake - it got stamped with a big '假币' and given back to them. Try getting a taxi driver to take that!

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mr.stinky

"it got stamped with a big '假币' and given back to them"

great collector's items. you can probably make a fair profit selling these on ebay.

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roddy

I was actually going to try and catch up with the guy and buy it off him (5Y for a worthless 100Y, bargain) but he'd gone by the time I cleared the bank.

What would be amusing is to get one of those stamps and mark all your friends' money as worthless.

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adrianlondon

Wow, in any other country they'd take the counterfeit cash off you and dispose of it.

I guess they don't trush the cashiers to not pocket it.

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selfconstruct
Wow, in any other country they'd take the counterfeit cash off you and dispose of it.

I guess they don't trush the cashiers to not pocket it.

I wouldn't be inclined to believe some one if they told me my money was fake and they would have to confiscate it.

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gougou
What would be amusing is to get one of those stamps and mark all your friends' money as worthless
Combine that with non-permanent ink, and your Y5 for a hundred might turn into quite a profitable scheme (given a neverending supply of new friends, which you will need)

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sebturner

I am writing to you from Beijing, where today I fell victim to the horror of receiving a Y1780 bill (£140 or $250) for trying various teas with some "English" students.

I met the students on Tian'anmen Square, where they claimed they wanted to practise their English and asked if I would like to accompany them to the old town, south of the square. Not knowing much about the city, I thought it could be interesting. Indeed, it was. They showed me around several famous shops, gave me some tips, and eventually suggested going for tea. Of course, for a tourist, especially after building up trust over 2 hours, I joined them.

An hour later, I received the bill. Y1780. Not having that much cash on me, I was forced to pay with my Visa card. I told them simply that I did not have that much money on the card, and eventually they donated Y300 to my cause. Still, a Y1480 bill (£110 or $200) made for a disasterous first day in Beijing. I ran to the nearest McDonalds to escape for half an hour, before promptly returning to my hotel and cancelling my Visa card just in case it had been copied. It was then that I realised that was the least of my worries, quickly reading hundreds of reports of exactly the same thing happening. I have had enough of Beijing for today, and have stayed in my hotel since the late afternoon, which is a shame. I am travelling alone and now realise that you can't trust anyone.

It seems that the scam is getting more expensive as well. It is clearly working and with every tourist that is trapped, the price goes up. I read on one website that if you contact the police and are lucky enough to find an English speaking officer, they can help you get the money back. Whether I do this or not I do not yet know. A Chinese speaking colleague is heading out here next week so I may follow it up then.

On a different note, I was also scammed at the airport. I DID join the taxi queue, after reading in the guide book that it was safe. I ignored the fake drivers as warned. Then I discovered that to get from the airport to the third ring road cost Y75, or £5. Still VERY cheap by London standards, and nowhere near the Y600 scam that someone else has mentioned here, but still, I noticed that the taxi driver was charging me Y3 per km (it SHOULD have been Y2 per km, AND it was one of those tatty old red taxis!) and for every minute we weren't moving, another Y1 was added.

All in all, this is becoming an expensive trip, and ALL through scams. Beijing better get its act together by the Olympics in 2008 otherwise there will be many more outraged tourists to join me and all others that have posted here and elsewhere. I have learnt my lessons the hard way and tomorrow I am heading back into the city to enjoy it, on HIGH ALERT for ALL scammers.

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self-taught-mba

Sebturner,

That sucks!

But you are lucky!

You paid with your CC.

1. Dispute the charges immediatly with the cc company. You made the purchase under duress or threatening circumstances right? That's a kind of fraud regardless and can be disputed.

2. There's a record now. Good. If you can get someone to investigate you have your proof---something the poor sap that paid cash will never have.

good luck

ps walk around tiananmen til you find the punks

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sebturner

Thanks for your reply.

That's not a bad idea. Problem is, it's a debit card so it's linked directly to my bank account - the money has already gone. I was indeed trapped though so if I speak with my bank they may be able to help - once you are there there is basically no escape, you pay or you don't get to leave the premises! In that case, it's easiest just to pay the cash and get out with the rest of your possessions still on you!

I have three receipts in total. The first one is my card swiped for Y1780. I then said that I couldn't pay that much - one of the fraudulent students then offered to donate Y400 to the cause, so I got a refund receipt for -Y1780 and a new receipt for Y1480. Note the flaw already - they only took of Y300! Anyway, these receipts can be used to directly trace the company responsible and my bank did offer to investigate anything I am concerned about. I think I will take them up on the offer - especially if that Y1780 doesn't wing it's way back into my account!!!

Within about 5 minutes of being back on Tian'anmen Square, I was approached TWO MORE TIMES by pairs, one claiming to be showing a friend, classmate, girlfriend etc around the city. In ALL cases they commented on how much they liked my sunglasses, and that they were heading into the old city to look around.

Rule #1: ANYONE who visits Tian'anmen Square MUST be careful. TRUST nobody. If ANYONE approaches you pretending to be friendly, assume they are scammers - they probably are.

Today I spoke to the police, well actually a policeman spoke to me to 'practise' English (a bit like the original event!) - I explained what had happened, he looked shocked and said, "that's very expensive for tea", I said, "I think it was a scam, is there anything you can do?", the reply was "yes it was probably a scam, we are sorry for you" - and that was it. The next question was "where you go now?".

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got_no_jaffas

welcome to china! hahaha! meant in a light hearted way, everyone gets scammed in china, even the chinese, but foreigners around downtown are prime targets. i've been scammed here & in other countries like thailand & egypt. it's the same game.

watch out also for pimps in sanlitun & beijing's walk of shame around the hard rock cafe, do not go to touted lady bars!! do not give money to people who have not got enough money for their train fair home in stations. if buying things from a market like clothes, ask a chinese friend what price they will pay then you will know what you should be paying & not the price they first offer you.

if you get approached by attractive girls asking to practice english again, take them to a place you decide on, they will order loads of food, then on pretense of going to the bathroom, leave & leave them with the bill. that's what my friend did. it brought great satisfaction!!

generally the chinese are a nice bunch but you do get the cheeky ones that you got to watch out for. still it's better than having to avoid gangs of hoodies back in the UK & gangs of teenage steamers on the london underground!!

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self-taught-mba
if you get approached by attractive girls asking to practice english again, take them to a place you decide on, they will order loads of food, then on pretense of going to the bathroom, leave & leave them with the bill. that's what my friend did. it brought great satisfaction!!

I don't think that'll help make any progress with the ladies. not all are scammers and if you are wrong you will be the jerk. but agree with the first part--you decide the place. (and saying "a, a zhi" doesn't hurt either)

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anonymoose

I think the worst thing about all this scamming is the opportunities of genuine interaction with locals that are lost because you have to be too suspicious of everyone who approaches you.

The worst one I fell for was buying some crappy art for about Y140, which I later sold on eBay and got all my money back. But on the other hand, I've had many more priceless experiences with locals without an ulterior motive (though none of these were in Beijing).

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gougou
and saying "a, a zhi" doesn't hurt either
But even then, YOU choose the place. If they have to pay half of the RMB 1800, they'll be reimbursed the minute you left. So just insisting on paying separately (which BTW is what AA zhi means) is not sufficient to make sure those people are being honest with you.

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