BLOGGED: Scams in Korea

The beauty of South Korea cannot be questioned. Personally, I think that it’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth, even though I haven’t been there. However, immaculate beauty does not always equate perfection. South Korea still has its flaws, and as someone who wishes to travel to the country someday, it’s worth knowing these things.

Like in any other countries, there are cases of scamming in South Korea, particularly in Seoul. Here are some of the most usual con activities which tourists experience:

1.       Taxi Scam – We cannot deny that the taxi system in Korea is definitely reliable and efficient. But there are always exceptions, which especially position themselves outside Incheon Airport. The drivers will look like a casual driver, but in actuality, has no connections with any taxi service company. Chances are they will extort you money by bringing you around the city and then charge you with ridiculous amount in the end. What you should do then is to make sure that the taxi you’ve flagged has meters. Flat rate is 2,400won, and 100won is added per every 144 meters added or 35 seconds. When you flagged a deluxe taxi (black taxi), you’ll have to pay more. Also, the rate can be higher at night. I will be posting more about taxis in Korea soon.

2.      Dating website Scams – Online dating is quite usual in Korea, and with the presence of many social networking sites there like LINE and KakaoTalk, tourists are usually convinced to join the hype too. The scam here though is that some ‘possible partners’ are actually con artists who will befriend you, and then later on, ask you for loans. Many kind-hearted tourists fall for this, so to avoid this, better use common sense. Why would you lend money for someone you haven’t met yet, right?   

3.      Pojamangcha Scams – Pojamangcha are street food carts usually seen in shopping areas like Nandaemun and Dongdaemun. They sell local delicacies which are hailed as must-try foods when you go to Korea. However, some vendors can be quite offensive as they sell their products for ten times the original price. It’s not even just double pricing. To avoid this, you should have at least a brief idea as to how much everything is in Korea. Or if you don’t, just don’t buy anything from carts which do not display the prices of their products.

These are just three scam activities tourists might experience, and things you must know about before you fly to Korea . There are lots of ways to avoid these, but topping the list would probably be constant vigilance and the use of common sense. If you need help though, you can call the tourist complaint department at 02-735-0101. If you are fluent with Korean, you can call the police hotline directly at 112.