Common Scams in Vietnam


Scams are everywhere, and getting annoyed is unavoidable when you travel. Accept it as a part of the game will make you happier but it also help once you prepare for yourself some knowledge and tips about the destinations. As a local Expat New Zealander/Vietnamese insider of Vietnam, below is some travel common scams and tips to avoid it Visas on arrival scam

Common Travel Scams in Vietnam


1. Rickshaw / Cyclo scam

Cyclo is often seen in the city center in Vietnam. A cyclo driver may approach you and offer a ride then overcharge or demand big tips. What they do is very well-prepared. A notebook with all well-wishes and bright reviews from his old customers will be shown to you to get you on his cyclo then he will find all the ways to get your money. What the cyclo drivers do is that they may take you out of the city which is far away or drop you off in the middle to have the reason for the “waiting time” money.


And before the argument starts, you will leave them some good words about their services in their notebook. Then they give you a list of prices with hidden cost like “waiting time”, demand extra payment and tips.


2. The Coconut Scam

The most common travel scams in Vietnam is related to the coconut sellers. Walking around in the city center without knowing this can make you regret. The street hawkers who carrying coconuts box on foot seems very friendly when making the signs that you should take photos with his coconut thing.


Once you touch his coconut baskets, busy with photo taking then suddenly he turned his face and demand money. Then you notice that he already chopped and opened the coconuts and you have to pay for that.


3. Taxi Scam


There are a few fake taxis in Vietnam. You should learn to notice the trustworthy taxis.
There are two trustworthy taxi brands: one is Mai Linh, the other is Vinasun. Drivers of those taxis always keep the meter turned on. They accept card payment but it takes you one more minute for your signature. Tips is appreciated but not expected. If you have a good drive, giving 20,000 Dong will make your driver happy. To avoid the fake or taxi scams, you can download the picture above to spot the taxi brands. However lately even some of the known Taxi drivers try to do some scamming.


Taxi meters only increase by distance. If your taxi meter still goes up in cost if the Taxi is stationary. Then the meter has been tempered with and you should report them and get out of the Taxi asap. Taxis charge customers by the distance only.



4. Restaurants Scams

The scams rarely happen for restaurants but for a smooth travel trip, choose the restaurants that looks clean and avoid the ones without or very few customers. The smaller the restaurants are, the higher possibility you are ripped-off. Trust your gut and choose to leave if needed.


5. Merchants Scams

You can be overcharged and they do it in different ways, such as over conversion of currency between US Dollar and Vietnam Dong, rounding up or down money or tricking you with hidden costs. They can also tell you the price in Dong then charge you in Dollar (USD $1 ~ 22,700 Dong). For example, they say the price of one meal is 100, then they charge you 100 US Dollar which is 2,227,000 Vietnam Dong which is a rip-off.


Getting confused with Vietnam local currency, read the money talk about Vietnam Dong
When you marvel around Ben Thanh market, other tourist attractions or in restaurants, for your own sake, be clear about the price, which currency they charge, with gratitude’s or without. If you are not someone who feel comfortable with the “bargain stuff”, choose the products or services with fixed prices and no hidden costs.


6. Shopping Scam

This is common not in Vietnam but also in Asia. The seller can say that it’s free but once you used it, they ask for money and bother you until you pay.
Some shops sell fake goods such as fake silks, fake luxury brands and even war relics. Trust the reputable establishments and get recommendations from your hotel receptionists before you give it a go.


7. Massage scam

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Never trust the massage services if you haven’t make it clear about the total price in advance. Like the low-cost airlines, seeing the low price first but the final bill will go big with all the ancillary products or services like water, bigger couch or bigger bed, more convenient room, etc
Ask for the recommendations from your hotel receptionists first before you go.


8. Pickpockets and snatch theft

This is common in Vietnam, especially in the big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang. Foreigners are often under their radar for victims. Purse, bag with money, camera, cellphone, they follow you for hours before taking actions.

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