BANGKOK – Police have warned local businesses in Northeastern Thailand over foreigner gang running a short change scam. They have been reportedly tricking cashiers out of cash while making small purchases in Nakhon Ratchasima province.
A coffee vendor said a suspect had cheated her out of Bt950 after buying two soda bottles and claiming falsely that he had given her a Bt1000 banknote.
The woman said she was alone in the shop when the suspect bought two soda bottles. The suspect reportedly flashed a Bt1,000 note and then took it back leaving her confused and tricked into returning Bt950.
The owner of the shop told reporters that three separate complaints had been lodged with Ratchasima police for similar crimes. The tricksters all appear to be Middle Easterners, or South Asians, whose image has been captured by closed-circuit cameras.
The Short Change Scam
Everyone’s heard the term “short change scam,” but very few people know about the actual street con for which it’s named.
This scam is performed by con men by using a few simple verbal tricks…
The name of the scam is pretty accurate. A “short change scam” trickster attempts to extend a cash transaction with the till drawer open. They make oddly specific requests for denominations and changing their requests as the cashier is counting.
Typically, the person begins by trying to pay for a low-priced item or asking to make change. Using a large denomination bills most commonly. After the cashier has opened the drawer and begun to count out the change, the scam artist will interrupt and request different denominations.
As the cashier goes back to the drawer to get the correct bills, the request will change again. Often, at this point, the con artist will produce another bill – a small one – and ask for the original large bill back.
This is where the tricksters scam usually occurs.
Cashiers counting out multiple denominations will often do so right on the counter, to keep track of things separately. This sounds good in principle, but relies way too much on trust. When the con artist asks for the bill back, the cashier may not immediately pick up the bills which have been counted. The con artist picks them up.