Shanghai Scams – Assisted Shopping – Part 1/3

While researching another topic, I discovered the Shanghai Scam Series produced by a 30-year-old expatriate that goes by the on-line name of Serpentza.

Although I’ve been to China many times, I’ve never experienced the scams the narrator of this series talks of.

However, to be fair, the reason I haven’t experienced these scams is that I don’t drink (gave it up years ago) and do not frequent the popular nightclubs and bars.

In fact, my wife is Chinese and usually warns me of suspicious behavior. It also helps that I’m the distrusting sort.

In Serpentza’s video, he takes us for a walk in the rain in Shanghai to show us how the”assisted shopping scam” works.

He says, while shopping, you will be approached by a number of people who speak English that will tell you where the best bargains are.

Hmm, this has never happened to me. Do I look that forbidding? While in China, my wife isn’t always with me. I have gone shopping alone and no one has asked if I needed help and I do not buy anything from street vendors.

However, I have been approached by street vendors selling watches, which Serpentza warns of, but I don’t wear a watch and don’t want one.

On one trip, a Shanghai street vendor followed me for several blocks trying to sell me watches, wallets, dark glasses, etc.  He didn’t know what the word “NO” meant even when I used the word in Mandarin my wife taught me. Maybe he didn’t speak Mandarin. After all, there are about 60 different, spoken languages in China.

Had to go into a bank to get him to leave me alone.

I even found a trip advisor Website warning of Shanghai Scams, which says, “The majority of these scams happen at tourist spots around People’s Square, on Nanjing Pedestrian Street and at the Bund.”

General rule: Shanghainese are very friendly and always willing to help if you ask them, but they would seldom approach a foreigner without being asked (as probably anywhere in the world).

On his Blog, Serpentza calls himself “forever an expatriate”.

Discover Shanghai


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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