Vietnam 2019 - scammers paradise?

#1
I spent a lot of time in Vietnam from the late 1990s until 2013. I am here again after 6 years. I see a lot of change and a lot of progress....like a new country compared to earlier days. I don't claim to be an expert on Vietnam. I have been here 3 days and every day someone has tried to scam me. I work all over the world and all over SE Asia in particular so I am a bit savvy on these things but I am sure there are people more clever than I am and are able to scam me. IN short, I did not feel this pressure in Vietnam in the 90s and early 2000s.

So far, I feel constant pressure that someone is trying to scam me. Beginning with my taxi from the airport to District 1 the driver tried to charge me 2 million. Of course I refused. He would not drop me at the front of the hotel but I knew we were close from previous visits. I tried to get out. He had a special lock on the door and I could not get out. So I called the hotel and explained where I was sitting in the taxi and they sent 2 guys to me and made the driver open the doors threatening to call the police. I gave him 250,000 knowing he still won. I will not list all of the scams but it seems ongoing. I am white skinned American but it is crazy that no one seems to be hones
Even legit places (retail shops) try to add charges beyond the prices marked on the menu. Family Mart girl charged me 4 times for a coke (I purchased numerous items). I asked for receipt when I realized the price was too high. She was angry when I pointed it out and asked for refund.

Of all the crazy places for honesty was 112 NPK. Walked in, selected a girl, no one asked me for money. After all was over, I gave the young lady in charge 400K and the girl 100k and all were happy.

Yesterday I tried a massage place near my hotel, one with the pretty girls in native dress, price on the card was not what they wanted me to pay once inside.

I know many of you have great experiences here in HCM and other VN cities with the lovely girls. I did as well in my earlier years here. Obviously, the culture has changed.

As I read the threads in this forum it seems everyone is trying to find a good experience amidst the numerous options. For me, Manila and Bangkok are still the best cities to find really good service, fun beautiful girls, easily, at good cost, without all of the hassle - of course, this is my opinion based on my 25 years working in SE Asia. Sure there are scammers everywhere in every nation. But Vietnam just seems to have become a scammers paradise.
I hope during my next 3 weeks here that my perspective changes for the better :)

flysafe
 
San Jose, CA
#2
Let me guess...for someone who has flown into Vietnam over the past 25 (awfully round quart-centennial number!) years and you don't know that you're supposed to take a MaiLinh or VinaSun taxi with a meter?

I hope you are a real pilot.
 
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#3
Hllo Mate
I was in Vietnam a veek from North to South 5 -6 years ago and all tred to scam med - and when I refused they get rude - I have the same feeling all the time - they are communists country - thais laos try to over charge you but in fact they are mre honest..
But I was thinking of go to Vietnam Again to see if it has changed to the better but apprantly not- when o nthe street we was completly - unles we had top ay something then they because extremely greedy and not so nice attitude. .I dont know what to think abt that country - I like vietnamese food. they ladies with their Ao dai . and traditional hats beautiful lstunning but their personality. are hmm so and so.. I seen many vidoes on youtube from Saigon famouse streets with nice people and all seems to be ok,,but I am not so sure. they dont easy to smile. not as thais or other asians.
Philipines I dontk now Manila but I was there twice and a, not going there Again , had two nice girls but Filippine peole lie lie all the tiem and are extremely unreliable..
 
#4
I odnt agr
Let me guess...for someone who has flown into Vietnam over the past 25 (awfully round quart-centennial number!) years and you don't know that you're supposed to take a MaiLinh or VinaSun taxi with a meter?

I hope you are a real pilot.
- if I am ordering a taxi and the Price is 20 usd for example then I expect to pay that and not more - ! its not me WHO is the problem it is the driver..
 
#5
I spent a lot of time in Vietnam from the late 1990s until 2013. I am here again after 6 years. I see a lot of change and a lot of progress....like a new country compared to earlier days. I don't claim to be an expert on Vietnam. I have been here 3 days and every day someone has tried to scam me. I work all over the world and all over SE Asia in particular so I am a bit savvy on these things but I am sure there are people more clever than I am and are able to scam me. IN short, I did not feel this pressure in Vietnam in the 90s and early 2000s.

So far, I feel constant pressure that someone is trying to scam me. Beginning with my taxi from the airport to District 1 the driver tried to charge me 2 million. Of course I refused. He would not drop me at the front of the hotel but I knew we were close from previous visits. I tried to get out. He had a special lock on the door and I could not get out. So I called the hotel and explained where I was sitting in the taxi and they sent 2 guys to me and made the driver open the doors threatening to call the police. I gave him 250,000 knowing he still won. I will not list all of the scams but it seems ongoing. I am white skinned American but it is crazy that no one seems to be hones
Even legit places (retail shops) try to add charges beyond the prices marked on the menu. Family Mart girl charged me 4 times for a coke (I purchased numerous items). I asked for receipt when I realized the price was too high. She was angry when I pointed it out and asked for refund.

Of all the crazy places for honesty was 112 NPK. Walked in, selected a girl, no one asked me for money. After all was over, I gave the young lady in charge 400K and the girl 100k and all were happy.

Yesterday I tried a massage place near my hotel, one with the pretty girls in native dress, price on the card was not what they wanted me to pay once inside.

I know many of you have great experiences here in HCM and other VN cities with the lovely girls. I did as well in my earlier years here. Obviously, the culture has changed.

As I read the threads in this forum it seems everyone is trying to find a good experience amidst the numerous options. For me, Manila and Bangkok are still the best cities to find really good service, fun beautiful girls, easily, at good cost, without all of the hassle - of course, this is my opinion based on my 25 years working in SE Asia. Sure there are scammers everywhere in every nation. But Vietnam just seems to have become a scammers paradise.
I hope during my next 3 weeks here that my perspective changes for the better :)

flysafe

As a Vietnamese, sadly i have to admit this is true. These scams happens almost on daily basis even happen to Vietnamese coming from different city, they get scammed too.

But in my experience, i am not sure, Bangkok is any better. I visited Thailand and got scammed often as well whether foods, taxi.... i would consider its "foreigner tax"

South East Asian is generally safe( no terrorist etc or serious crime) but petty crimes are common. Butthe same goes to many parts of Euro. I got my wallet stolen in Barcelona while taking some photos. I got my sun-glass snatched from me in broad daylight in Italy.

Kudo to you for not paying that extortion price to taxi driver. To prevent things like this, you can use Grab, or Vinasun, Mailinh Taxi, very reputable.
 
#6
Vietnam is a relatively safe country, yes you might get scammed here or there but you don't have to worry about getting kidnapped like in the Philippines (check your travel insurance for ransom cover, it lists certain areas of the Philippines as off limits) or have gun problems (mass shooting/terrorism) like in America.

No matter where you go in the world you're gonna meet people less fortunate than you who will try to take advantage of you. The aim is to be alert and understand that it's not personal. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose it's all part of the adventure.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.
 
#7
I spent a lot of time in Vietnam from the late 1990s until 2013. I am here again after 6 years. I see a lot of change and a lot of progress....like a new country compared to earlier days. I don't claim to be an expert on Vietnam. I have been here 3 days and every day someone has tried to scam me. I work all over the world and all over SE Asia in particular so I am a bit savvy on these things but I am sure there are people more clever than I am and are able to scam me. IN short, I did not feel this pressure in Vietnam in the 90s and early 2000s.

So far, I feel constant pressure that someone is trying to scam me. Beginning with my taxi from the airport to District 1 the driver tried to charge me 2 million. Of course I refused. He would not drop me at the front of the hotel but I knew we were close from previous visits. I tried to get out. He had a special lock on the door and I could not get out. So I called the hotel and explained where I was sitting in the taxi and they sent 2 guys to me and made the driver open the doors threatening to call the police. I gave him 250,000 knowing he still won. I will not list all of the scams but it seems ongoing. I am white skinned American but it is crazy that no one seems to be hones
Even legit places (retail shops) try to add charges beyond the prices marked on the menu. Family Mart girl charged me 4 times for a coke (I purchased numerous items). I asked for receipt when I realized the price was too high. She was angry when I pointed it out and asked for refund.

Of all the crazy places for honesty was 112 NPK. Walked in, selected a girl, no one asked me for money. After all was over, I gave the young lady in charge 400K and the girl 100k and all were happy.

Yesterday I tried a massage place near my hotel, one with the pretty girls in native dress, price on the card was not what they wanted me to pay once inside.

I know many of you have great experiences here in HCM and other VN cities with the lovely girls. I did as well in my earlier years here. Obviously, the culture has changed.

As I read the threads in this forum it seems everyone is trying to find a good experience amidst the numerous options. For me, Manila and Bangkok are still the best cities to find really good service, fun beautiful girls, easily, at good cost, without all of the hassle - of course, this is my opinion based on my 25 years working in SE Asia. Sure there are scammers everywhere in every nation. But Vietnam just seems to have become a scammers paradise.
I hope during my next 3 weeks here that my perspective changes for the better :)

flysafe
Hello bro,

I recommend you to check my topic here (Friend in HCMC for good local plans/spot 2019 )

That can help you
 
#8
I spent a lot of time in Vietnam from the late 1990s until 2013. I am here again after 6 years. I see a lot of change and a lot of progress....
My experiences broadly chime with yours, but I'd add some caveats.

Firstly, everywhere has got a bit tougher, notably in the bigger cities. There are scammers in every country. Some scammers in Vietnam are not Vietnamese. I've been robbed in Saigon, but the last time I was robbed was in Naples.

I've been treated well on multiple occasions in Vietnam, being invited to dinner, into people's homes, helped in finding my way around. Connect with decent people there and you will not find better anywhere.

But it's true that Vietnam has a justifiably terrible reputation and it hurts tourism. I have asked many first time visitors if they would go back. 90% say no, and all reference the attitude of the locals and how as they see it they are all out to cheat them, either by overcharging or outright theft.

For example this year:

Two Americans in their 70s, one of them visiting the region for the first time. On arrival at SGN they took a taxi to Ben Thanh. The driver demanded 1.5M vnd. He refused to open the locked doors or let them get their bags. They debated it, it got heated. Finally the new guy gave in and handed over three 500k notes.

With a conjuror's flourish the driver said 'Look, you just gave me three 20k notes'. They debated more, it got more heated. Finally the other American gave the guy another 500k - he's well-off, 'It's only money' - and he let them go.

After checking in and calming down they took a walk in the 23/9 park. An older lady sat beside the new guy, and offered a massage. He declined, but she persisted in rubbing his leg - he was wearing shorts.

Yep, he lost all his cash and cards as they were in his button down pocket.

The next morning they flew back to Bangkok.

OK, they should have known better about airport taxis. And refused to pay. But these guys aren't young. Is there no respect for the elderly ? And why did the new guy go to the park with all his cash, instead of leaving it in his room safe ?

Because they had just flown from PNH, and when they checked out of their mid-range hotel there he discovered that several hundred dollars were missing from his safe. In Cambodia they ofen replace hundreds with fake bills.

He said he will never go back to Vietnam. Or Cambodia.
 
San Jose, CA
#9
And just sometimes, there is another side of the story:

1) On my 1st trip this year to HCMC Saigon, i stayed at Rivergate Residences. I befriended several of the Security staff there, working the roundabout. They knew i was Viet Kieu, a rich and cool one from Cali. In came a VinaSun taxi dropping off a drunk white fool (don't know whether he was American, or European, or Aussie or New Zealander. But he was drunk and spoke English. The VinaSun taxi driver asked the Security to ask him to pay the $ amount of the fare. Since they couldn't speak enough English to communicate to this fool, i happened to be there and they asked me to help communicate in English to this drunk white fool. So i did and told him he needed to pay for his cab fare from whatever bar to here, his drop-off point. He slurred some words, and i grabbed him by his shirt and felt like punching his weak ass in the face. Dealing with an assault in a foreign country 1 day in wasn't attractive to me. So i let him go, he stumbled off, and fell into the bushes. Taxi driver was left with no fare. I gave the poor taxi driver $100K VNd, which is less than $5. I view it as charity, and if that drunk white fool was American, at least i can save some face for where i am a citizen. I had already tipped the Security guards $100K VNd out of pure charity/heart, so not a big deal. If i were in the States, i would have dropped that fool with a leg sweep. He was out of line. So...scamming...goes both ways.

2) On my 1st trip when i went to Danang, my motorbike rental owner who rented me my Honda Air Blade was a cool dude. Still is. I only rent from him when i come to Danang. He gave me a U.S. Passport of an American from Rhode Island, white dude, in his 30's, who rented one of his motorbikes and never returned the bike. Actually, the motorbike was later found in a ditch by the Vietnamese authorities. The irresponsible dude never came back for his U.S. Passport. So i asked the motorbike owner to allow me to take a picture of the U.S. Passport so i could inform the U.S. authorities in SF, when i returned home. He allowed me to take the U.S. Passport but i said no, you keep it, as that will be proof when the U.S. Consulate gives you a phone call. Needless to say, he didn't want to take my U.S. Passport as collateral, because he said i needed it for hotel registration purposes, which is TRUE. He instead said for me to just give him my M1 California driver's license as collateral. So i did. I offered to deposit $500 USD, but he said don't bother. This is what some business owners do to make a tourist's vacation run smooth, and some folks just ruin it for others and leave a bad taste in the small business owner's day. You can see it from the other side now, huh?

This is why i tip and spend money when i travel. I am here for a good time, and to be a positive part of their local economy. Any educated person knows that consumer spending is good for any local economy. If too many tourists try and get one over the local business owner, he will eventually become hardened or jaded too, and it is only a matter of time before the relationship becomes a race to the bottom.

So before you ask yourself how unfair someone has been to you, perhaps look into the mirror and ask yourself how fair, reasonable, and compassionate have you been?

Of the last 3 guys that i've hooked up with really cool chics, all 3 were very gentlemenly and humane in their approach to life and others. It is no surprise that the women they found something with see the very same traits that i vetted, and if they didn't, they'd probably already dropped the guy.

We live, we learn. Hopefully, we get to love.
 
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United States
#10
This is definitely the reason why I got a Viettel Sim at the airport for 250k Dongers ($10.77 USD) and downloaded the Grab app. I went cashless so there wouldn't be any fuss over money. Also, the Grab app lets you tip up to 20%. I was maxing out the tip for all the drivers as it came to just change. I never paid over $5 USD for any ride, most rides were only about $1.50 USD.

Somewhere along the way, I did gt scammed out of some Dongers. I'm pretty sure it happened at a 7-Eleven. I gave the clerk a 500k note and I think they short changed me. I paid more close attention to the federal reserves after that. Either that or I dropped Dong somewhere (besides NPK; 555). Lesson Learned.
 
#11
I took Grab twice, due to having to drink with business associates. A young Grab kid was waiting outside my luxury apt. complex and since he hadn't yet entered in my destination, i asked him how much. He quoted "20K VNd". Dude, this place was far from where i was staying.

Once i arrived at a really nice restaurant, to be treated by my business contact, i gave the kid 100K VNd note. Told him to be safe and i loved his work ethic. Where i am from, that would have been a $12 taxi ride.
 
#12
Somewhere along the way, I did gt scammed out of some Dongers. I'm pretty sure it happened at a 7-Eleven. I gave the clerk a 500k note and I think they short changed me. I paid more close attention to the federal reserves after that. Either that or I dropped Dong somewhere (besides NPK; 555). Lesson Learned.
Or, because the 500K note is the biggest note, there might have been two 500K notes stuck to each other because when you exchanged USD money for VN dong money, they gave you new notes. This almost happened to me on more than one occasion. The notes being stuck to each other like fresh new $100's or $20's in the US/D do.

VNd notes are paper thin, and they are slippery and do stick to each other due to the humidity...
 
United States
#13
Or, because the 500K note is the biggest note, there might have been two 500K notes stuck to each other because when you exchanged USD money for VN dong money, they gave you new notes. This almost happened to me on more than one occasion. The notes being stuck to each other like fresh new $100's or $20's in the US/D do.

VNd notes are paper thin, and they are slippery and do stick to each other due to the humidity...
You're probably spot on, I noticed when I received the Dong, they were sticking together, all the 500k notes that is. This is more than accurate.
 
#14
You're probably spot on, I noticed when I received the Dong, they were sticking together, all the 500k notes that is. This is more than accurate.
This is how they monitor and calculate how much tourism Dollars are being used/exchanged. Because of massive overprinting at times, the USD has ever become increasingly more valuable.

It's the currency of choice.
 
#15
Let me guess...for someone who has flown into Vietnam over the past 25 (awfully round quart-centennial number!) years and you don't know that you're supposed to take a MaiLinh or VinaSun taxi with a meter?utton

I hope you are a real pilot.
I took VINASUN the driver hit a button on his meter and it changed the price. I saw him do it. He said it was overtime
 
#17
As a Vietnamese, sadly i have to admit this is true. These scams happens almost on daily basis even happen to Vietnamese coming from different city, they get scammed too.
ow it bet
But in my experience, i am not sure, Bangkok is any better. I visited Thailand and got scammed often as well whether foods, taxi.... i would consider its "foreigner tax"

South East Asian is generally safe( no terrorist etc or serious crime) but petty crimes are common. Butthe same goes to many parts of Euro. I got my wallet stolen in Barcelona while taking some photos. I got my sun-glass snatched from me in broad daylight in Italy.

Kudo to you for not paying that extortion price to taxi driver. To prevent things like this, you can use Grab, or Vinasun, Mailinh Taxi, very reputable.
you are correct. I lived in BKK for 10 years so maybe I know how to move through Thailand better than here in VN. I take GRAB - It was a Vinasun taxi that scammed me after we agreed on 200k. I should have stated that better. He flipped the meter and said it was after 11p so charge extra. Maybe that is true bot NOT 1 million? I still love Vietnam. I will figure it out :)
 
#18
Lots of warranted feedback from my simple little post. Let me clarify that I took VINASUN from the airport to District 1 near Saigon Sky Center. The driver flipped the meter nearby - I saw him do it. He said it was "extra time" after 11pm. I take GRAB when here and in SE Asia. I was told, need to verify, that GRAB will drop at the airport but can not pick up inside terminal area. Anyone clarify this? Also, I want to say that I do enjoy Vietnam. I will get it sorted out...flysafe
 
#19
My experiences broadly chime with yours, but I'd add some caveats.

Firstly, everywhere has got a bit tougher, notably in the bigger cities. There are scammers in every country. Some scammers in Vietnam are not Vietnamese. I've been robbed in Saigon, but the last time I was robbed was in Naples.

I've been treated well on multiple occasions in Vietnam, being invited to dinner, into people's homes, helped in finding my way around. Connect with decent people there and you will not find better anywhere.

But it's true that Vietnam has a justifiably terrible reputation and it hurts tourism. I have asked many first time visitors if they would go back. 90% say no, and all reference the attitude of the locals and how as they see it they are all out to cheat them, either by overcharging or outright theft.

For example this year:

Two Americans in their 70s, one of them visiting the region for the first time. On arrival at SGN they took a taxi to Ben Thanh. The driver demanded 1.5M vnd. He refused to open the locked doors or let them get their bags. They debated it, it got heated. Finally the new guy gave in and handed over three 500k notes.

With a conjuror's flourish the driver said 'Look, you just gave me three 20k notes'. They debated more, it got more heated. Finally the other American gave the guy another 500k - he's well-off, 'It's only money' - and he let them go.

After checking in and calming down they took a walk in the 23/9 park. An older lady sat beside the new guy, and offered a massage. He declined, but she persisted in rubbing his leg - he was wearing shorts.

Yep, he lost all his cash and cards as they were in his button down pocket.

The next morning they flew back to Bangkok.

OK, they should have known better about airport taxis. And refused to pay. But these guys aren't young. Is there no respect for the elderly ? And why did the new guy go to the park with all his cash, instead of leaving it in his room safe ?

Because they had just flown from PNH, and when they checked out of their mid-range hotel there he discovered that several hundred dollars were missing from his safe. In Cambodia they ofen replace hundreds with fake bills.

He said he will never go back to Vietnam. Or Cambodia.
sad to hear this story. Thankfully my experiences in Thailand and Cambodia have been good overall. As some have stated scam and theft occur anywhere (seemingly) my worst theft was in Nice, France. Overall, my life is good. I am grateful to be able to travel the world, make good friends, and encounters many experiences...most of them good to great!
 
#20
And just sometimes, there is another side of the story:

1) On my 1st trip this year to HCMC Saigon, i stayed at Rivergate Residences. I befriended several of the Security staff there, working the roundabout. They knew i was Viet Kieu, a rich and cool one from Cali. In came a VinaSun taxi dropping off a drunk white fool (don't know whether he was American, or European, or Aussie or New Zealander. But he was drunk and spoke English. The VinaSun taxi driver asked the Security to ask him to pay the $ amount of the fare. Since they couldn't speak enough English to communicate to this fool, i happened to be there and they asked me to help communicate in English to this drunk white fool. So i did and told him he needed to pay for his cab fare from whatever bar to here, his drop-off point. He slurred some words, and i grabbed him by his shirt and felt like punching his weak ass in the face. Dealing with an assault in a foreign country 1 day in wasn't attractive to me. So i let him go, he stumbled off, and fell into the bushes. Taxi driver was left with no fare. I gave the poor taxi driver $100K VNd, which is less than $5. I view it as charity, and if that drunk white fool was American, at least i can save some face for where i am a citizen. I had already tipped the Security guards $100K VNd out of pure charity/heart, so not a big deal. If i were in the States, i would have dropped that fool with a leg sweep. He was out of line. So...scamming...goes both ways.

2) On my 1st trip when i went to Danang, my motorbike rental owner who rented me my Honda Air Blade was a cool dude. Still is. I only rent from him when i come to Danang. He gave me a U.S. Passport of an American from Rhode Island, white dude, in his 30's, who rented one of his motorbikes and never returned the bike. Actually, the motorbike was later found in a ditch by the Vietnamese authorities. The irresponsible dude never came back for his U.S. Passport. So i asked the motorbike owner to allow me to take a picture of the U.S. Passport so i could inform the U.S. authorities in SF, when i returned home. He allowed me to take the U.S. Passport but i said no, you keep it, as that will be proof when the U.S. Consulate gives you a phone call. Needless to say, he didn't want to take my U.S. Passport as collateral, because he said i needed it for hotel registration purposes, which is TRUE. He instead said for me to just give him my M1 California driver's license as collateral. So i did. I offered to deposit $500 USD, but he said don't bother. This is what some business owners do to make a tourist's vacation run smooth, and some folks just ruin it for others and leave a bad taste in the small business owner's day. You can see it from the other side now, huh?

This is why i tip and spend money when i travel. I am here for a good time, and to be a positive part of their local economy. Any educated person knows that consumer spending is good for any local economy. If too many tourists try and get one over the local business owner, he will eventually become hardened or jaded too, and it is only a matter of time before the relationship becomes a race to the bottom.

So before you ask yourself how unfair someone has been to you, perhaps look into the mirror and ask yourself how fair, reasonable, and compassionate have you been?

Of the last 3 guys that i've hooked up with really cool chics, all 3 were very gentlemenly and humane in their approach to life and others. It is no surprise that the women they found something with see the very same traits that i vetted, and if they didn't, they'd probably already dropped the guy.

We live, we learn. Hopefully, we get to love.
Hello
So it seems like you are trying to justify how your Fellow Citizen from Vietnam behave by finding some small stories of some WHO has ben drnken and or lost a pair of sunglsses in urope ! ? that is NOT the same ! do yo cmpaire it with a taxidriver in Saigon WHO dont want to let a turist out of the taxi if he docertaibn amount ? your country Vietnam has a BIG major problem with scamming anf theft from turists and rude behavour - you try to comapire it with small Things and as asians afraid of " Loose face" - " if some do this w can do the same"
Turists are d like shit in your country by the persosn WHO shoudl service them and wish them to be back ! not kick the hand which feed them ! I been in bot Hanoi and Saigon and I coming back and I am tellingall I meet WHO think about to your country NOT to go ther ! Ih ave been to thaialnd 30 times and I never lost a sigle dime there or any items ! your country can do a lot bussnes reg. tourism - but instead of grab turits which will flow from Thailandn ow your country men or some of them try to do your best to be a un populre place togo ! face it you have a big problem !
 
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