Yes, we got scammed while in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s not something I’m overly happy about since I did a lot of research on scams (I read a few articles, so not really a lot); but more than that, I just feel stupid. So, in an effort to help anyone else who’s travelling to Vietnam or to share a story to help you, who may have been scammed, see that you’re not stupid. People who scam are lame and low-lifes. I try to think they need it more than me – it’s sad, actually.
Okay – let’s get to this.
The Good Guys
These two companies are the way to go when in Ho Chi Minh City – Mailnh or Vinasun. Stick with them and no one else.
These guys below, they suck.
Yes, I know when you look at all three companies side-by-side it’s quite obvious which one is a scammer. The thing is, when you’re hot and trying to get to your destination, and starving, you tend to forget to watch for these things. Especially when you’re 20 days in without one scam!
So, how did we get scammed? They pulled the bill switch on us. Not to mention their metre moves far faster than the other two companies, yet that’s besides the point.
How do we know? Each morning, before we left our hotels, we divided the money we would need for the day. Most in Bryce’s zipper pocket, inside of his other pocket (so hard to pick-pocket). The other little bundle was in my purse.
On the morning of this scam we had a 200,000 dong bill. That’s roughly about 10$ at the time we travelled. We handed him the one bill and as quickly as possible, he turn and showed us a 10,000 bill saying we didn’t give him enough. Now, here’s the thing. We knew what happened. We had only one 200,000 bill and he had pocketed it. In all honesty, though, what do you do when you’re in a communist country and it’s your word against the taxi driver’s word? I would like to think things would come down on our side, however, the time spent (even say an hour) wasn’t worth the 10$.
So, we got out more money and started to count. Get this – I grabbed the 10,000 bill back from him, so we actually only lost 190,000.
After, when we were walking back to our hotel 3 of the guys were sitting on the other side of the street, ready to sweep up tourists in the back-pack district. You can see they’re giving me the thumbs up? Oh, and the guy turning his head, he was our driver. Well, after taking their picture I gave them the biggest thumbs down. Quite risky for me – haha.
Overall, it was a lesson learned and I hope you stay scam free the next time you travel!