There are scams in every country, even Singapore is not spared. Telephone scams, sex scams, internet scams …
I am not surprised that there are scams in Vietnam, what amazes me is how rampant it is. When I told my family and friends that I am travelling to Vietnam, everyone cautioned me about scams in Vietnam. It seems that besides being known for pho and Vietnamese coffee, Vietnam is also known for scams.
It got me a little worried, so I went online to check it out. There are numerous articles about how people were scammed. Most of the scams occurred in Ho Chi Minh city. A few of the more popular scams are taxi scams and theft.
I know you must be thinking “yeah, there are scams in Vietnam, but it won’t happen to me.” That was what I thought too, until I encountered 2 scams personally.
Vietnam Scams: Taxi Scam
I have read online that taxi scams are especially rampant in Ho Chi Minh city. My girlfriend and I don’t usually take taxi unless absolutely necessary. We feel that taking taxi is a waste of money and it does not allow us to enjoy the scenery.
On the last day of our Vietnam trip, we spent the whole morning visiting the tourist sights in Ho Chi Minh. We were exhausted so we decided to take a taxi back to the hostel.
We especially chose a metered taxi (there are many articles online about non-metered taxis charging tourists exorbitant prices).
Everything was fine until the taxi stopped at the side of the road. The taxi driver tried to start his vehicle many times without success. The taxi driver explained that his taxi has stalled. He got out of the taxi and started talking with another taxi driver parked in front of us. He came back and told us that his friend will drive us back to the hotel. We had no choice but to get into the other taxi which is also a metered taxi.
When we arrived at the hostel, it took me a while to count the money. The taxi driver got impatient and tried to snatch my purse from me repeatedly. (On hindsight, I think he did manage to snatch away a few US notes.)
I am pretty sure that the two taxi drivers work together to scam people of their money. What is the chance of a taxi breaking down in the middle of the road and another taxi “just happen” to be there?
Vietnam Scams: Uber Scam
The helpful hostel staff told us that it is much cheaper to take a Uber than a taxi to the airport. We decided to try it out. I ordered a Uber on my handphone and we walked to the main road to wait for our Uber.
After waiting for a while, a car drove up to us and asked if we are waiting for Uber. I was worried that we have the wrong car so I doubled checked the car plate against my handphone. The last letter of the car plate is different. I told the driver that it is the wrong car plate and he said that my driver was caught-up in something and asked him to fetch us instead. I was not convinced and refused to get into the car. He gave up eventually and drove away. I called my Uber but the driver did not pick up. I called him repeatedly and he picked up at the third call. He picked us up and drove us to the airport safely.
It was such a close call. Imagine if we had taken the first car. Maybe we would be driven to a deserted area where we will be raped and killed.”