Scam in Saigon Vietnam

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Posted on : 02-10-2009 | By : Vietnam720 | In : HCMC (Saigon)
Tags: ,

Vietnam720: Scam in Saigon Vietnam is an article brought to you by Adam from MuineBeach.net.

I putting this article here to warn our web visitors so they can be aware of such scam going on, particularly if you are travel to Vietnam alone and is new in Saigon. I have personally witnessed one such event: The place I’m staying is also a mini guesthouse in the Pham Ngu Lao Street area and one of the guest recently got cheated of around US$10,000 through one of these tactic described below.

Adam: There is a well-organized gang of con artists, most if not all are from the Philippines, operating in District 1, Saigon. It began with probably less than a dozen folks a year ago, but now there are so many I’m not sure I could count. There is at least 1 cell of people (3-5 members in a cell) working on every city block around Pham Ngo Lao Street, Le Loi and Dong Khoi.

The point of the scam is to walk up to strangers, befriend them, and convince them to go off with these people alone for coffee or lunch, or to meet a relative who “just happens” to be a student studying in the victims country, and needs some “advice”. The victims I have heard from tell me the gang members eventually pressure them to play a card game, eventually losing all their money. There is some reason for concern that tourists could be outright robbed or physically harmed by the gang under the right circumstances.

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

This fellow approached me with the same old story–”Hi, how are you, where you from–Oh, I have a daughter going to school there, can you come with me to meet her…” Of course if you were to go with them, the scenario changes and they try to dupe you in a con. There is also a danger of being mugged and robbed outright, of course. This fellow clearly did not like being photographed. As it turned out, there were three other people in his cell group there. After I took a photo he assaulted me. I asked the security guard there for assistance but he refused to help. This all took place in front of the Le Lai Hotel at 76 Le Lai Street, District 1.

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

This man and woman were also in the cell group. They left right away.

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

This woman was part of the cell group. When I was assaulted she hopped up to suggest to the man that they should go.

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Here I was, at the bus stop on Ly Tu Trong and Nam Ky Khoi Nghia. There was a very beautiful striped squirrel on the tree (an unusual sight in Saigon) that I was trying to photograph, when up pops this ass. Another con man trying to get me to go with him somewhere so he could con me.

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

 

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Finally the jerk left me alone and joined one of the other guys in his cell group. There are normally at least 3 people per group, but I didn’t spot the other person.

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Here’s a group of 3 on Phan Ngu Lao, heading toward the De Tham area.

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

I reported these two fellows (above) earlier. I’ve recently seen the old man above, sitting along Pham Ngu Lao Street, waiting for tourists to come by. The younger bald guy (here pictured with a cap), is a short but hefty guy. I found him eating breakfast this morning in one of the alleys around Pham Ngu Lao Street, and this afternoon stalking tourists in front of the Rex Hotel.

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

Scam in Saigon Vietnam

This older man (above) is a long-time con artists, but this is the first time he appears pictured in this blog. He is a front-man, approaching tourists on Pham Ngu Lao Street and asking them questions to make sure they are suitable for the con (that they are alone, new in town, and friendly to a con) Then he calls other people in his cell to notify them of the “mark”-ed tourist that is coming their way.

Vietnam720: Please help forward this to your friends who are visiting Vietnam. Do note that although this article is titled ‘Scam in Saigon Vietnam’, Adam mentioned in his blog that he encountered such similar scam in Nha Trang also. But while this article is here to warn people of such scam in Saigon Vietnam, I must say that Vietnam is still generally a safe country to visit. As long as you keep your wits above you, you should be able to enjoy your Vietnam travel.

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Comments

Vietnam720

Thomz, they certainly are dangerous but that’s not my concern. It’s the trouble u’ll get with the law getting into a fight that’s the point.

Thomz

Thanks. Really? I thought that in Vietnam the law was pretty much indifferent to those “street fights”, mostly when only foreigners are involved – i heard the cops don’t give a damn then.

It’s very different if a foreigner physically attacks a vietnamese, though.

Vietnam720

No Thomz, the police do give a damn.

tails

Your friend and fellow blogger “Owee58″ has just given his readers an up date on the Philippino scamers, opperating around the Pham Ngu Lao area and D1. Looks like they’re back

Vietnam720

Thanks Tails for the tip. But I don’t see it on his site?

Vietnam720

They are dangerous no doubt.

tails

They are mentioned in one of his latested articles “A Vietnamese Funeral” along with some photo’s. The general ambience of D1 is mentioned as well as he makes reference to the crack down in the area, and how things have returned to normal. Good information for the traveller

Vietnam720

Thanks Tails. Got it. Yeah, good info for everyone, especially travellers.

Chuzai Living

Thanks again for such helpful information. I didn’t realize that there are this many scams in Saigon! Luckily I have not experienced any scam in Jakarta, but I have not heard of it either. I feel pretty safe here.

Chuzai Living

Thanks for the information. I didn’t realize that the scams in Vietnam was this serious!

Kayli

I am a solo female traveler and was approached by the woman sat on the curb in the photo and her ‘sister’. She invited me to her home for breakfast to chat with her niece about studying in Canada, my home country. After breakfast I was invited to play cards with the woman’s very easy going and friendly ‘brother’ and of course being a good house guest agreed. As soon as gambling was mentioned I grew very concerned but only pulled out when they asked me to ‘back’ a play that was made to look like I’d walk away with $20000. It was a very smooth scam. I thought I was very lucky to be invited to breakfast by a couple of sisters. I really want to be able to trust people in Vietnam but after this experience and dealing with the cooked cyclo driver I had yesterday I’m finding it very hard. 09/02/11

Vietnam720

Sorry to hear about your experience Kayli.

So did you end up losing any money?

thomas

we should alert the local newspaper on this stories so that when they are published, the local authorities will actually do some real cleaning up..!!

thomas

yes, i think they are dangerous thomz..dont take things into your own hands..

Vietnam720

They know and a few had been caught. But obviously not all…

mac

I am a Filipina so these things bother me and i will be going to vietnam next week for a leisure trip with a friend. If i may ask, how did you know that some of the scammers are filipinos?

Vietnam720

Hi Mac, the info comes from 1st hand accounts. Also, if you scroll up the comments section, you’ll find an article link that reported how the scammers were caught and that they are indeed Filipinos.

Adam

There are a lot of new photos of these guys at: http://fisheggtree.blogspot.com/search/label/Filipino

Please let us know here or there if you recognize anybody. Please do post comments, tweet, redistribute… lets get the warning out!

Safe Travels,

Jo

I’ve just been approached near the Reunification Palace by two women who claimed to be Thai with a similar story, although they had gone so far as to research hospitals in Melbourne Australia so they could name the hospital their sister was going to work at for a year. They wanted to give me breakfast at their Vietnamese sister-in-law’s house and have me look at their papers to make sure it wasn’t a scam on her – ha! I almost fell for it. They were quite charming, showing me pictures of their children on the phone and so on. One woman is mid-thirties, the other about fifty, thinner and with darker skin.

Vietnam720

Very happy you didn’t fall for it Jo :-)

Thanks for your detail inputs here. This will help people to be more aware of the development.