How the scam works:
If you are traveling to Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar) you might be approached by a monk. After he has introduced himself and you have enjoyed a pleasant chat, he will tell you about his temple. He will then ask you for a small contribution towards his studies or the building of a new pagoda.
On the other hand, in Australia there have been reports that fake monks approach you randomly giving out “happiness cards”. After initially letting you understand that they are free, they ask you to sign them. Once signed, they take out a book with various prices for these cards, from $20 to $100. Since you signed it already, the scammer might cause a scene in order to convince you to pay.
How to avoid:
Don’t give him anything, as real Buddhist monks do not approach foreigners in this way. The scammer just waits for tourists who don’t know much about their culture.
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