It’s said “there’s one born every minute”, but let’s face it, if you fall for the UK passport scam targeting British expats, you probably deserve everything you get.
The latest UK passport scam aimed at Brits in Thailand comes about due UK public-sector workers downing tools, fed up with their government’s refusal to raise wages, not just in line with inflation but to keep pace with workers in the rest of the country.
Strikes cause disruption, which is their main aim, and this causes delays in passport applications and renewals. Quick-thinking conmen have moved fast to make a buck and pray on lazy British colonial attitudes, assuming (rightly) everything in Thailand can be got for a price.
With the value of the pound plummeting against the Thai baht, things have been really tough for Brits on £UK pensions since Britain took back control (sic) and promptly fell off the main stage in 2016, and struggling Brits have been sitting ducks for fraudsters.
Sometimes you sense these guys leave their brains on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport and arrive in Thailand with minds warped by the ancient history of empire. So, when some guy appears out of the blue, saying he can speed up your UK passport application for a fee of course you’re going to believe him, because you’re Papa Falang Jaidee and can buy anything you want, right?
And you’ll cough up your hard-earned pension and fall for the UK passport scam because your attitude has been moulded by the assumed superiority you’ve convinced yourself you have over everything and anyone Thai, even though the rapidly declining value of your post-Brexit pension possibly puts you on the level of a Grab rider.
But you believe it when they tell you you’re a “han-sum man” have a “big heart naa”. Your invested cultural knowledge has you wai-ing bar girls, making merit with fake monks, and crossing the local cop’s palm with silver so you can carry on drinking your Leos in your aluminium-walled dive bar after 2 a.m.
And despite watching the clock and waiting for the barfine rates to drop, this doesn’t necessarily mean the guy on your shoulder saying he can do you favours actually has convinced the UK authorities to suddenly start accepting bribes from their citizens in Thailand.
How UK Passport Scam Works
In fact, the opposite is often the case. And following the recent “investigation” at Thai immigration following the uncovering of a lucrative Chinese visa scam recently, it’s possibly harder than it’s ever been to find an agent to assist you in your visa process, opening the door to the UK passport scam.
Many agents have increased their rates by 100% since the immigration investigation, which has left a lot of guys on the ground struggling to afford to extend their visas while finding a bar that sells Leo for under 70 baht, and a girl to accompany them for the evening who is under 50 and without a ya ba addiction.
This latest UK passport scam is a bit more, err.. sophisticated, in that you’d need a good few brain cells to see straight through it. It involves fake websites such as UK-renewpassport.net, complete with targeted emails to suggest this con-trick isn’t being cooked up by Somchai and his mates from the local Thai pool hall after a few too many marijuana-infused evenings on the Hong Thong.
Naturally, the UK government advises British nationals not to be fooled into thinking it’s possible to pay to queue jump when applying for passport renewals and only use official application centres. However, with the amount of dodgy cash for contracts exchanging hands at the very top of government in the UK, we can’t imagine there are many Brits left who actually listen to UK government advice and will fall for the latest UK passport scam.