This happened to me yesterday in Saigon. There's posts on Lonely Planet from 2008 describing it almost exactly, but I couldnt find any here, so I thought I'd get the word out.
Not like you're comming to Vietnam to cheat at cards in some strangers house, but just in case...
Two very nice ladies, a little older, very innocent, dressed like tourists, ask you where you are from, and then say that they're sister is coincidentally going to study there and would like to ask some questions. When you get to their house, the sister is not there, but an 'Uncle' shows up, again coincidentally, and tells you how he is a card dealer and has a secret system he would like to show you to help people win when he is dealing. They cook you lunch and then he starts showing you 'the system' At no point do you agree to actually play for real, but he puts money in your wallet (to gain your trust, in my case $200) and immediately after, some other guy shows up who is supposedly 'the bank,' ie the guy the two of you are going to cheat out of his money. Not sure exactly how it works after this cuz at this point I gave the guys money back and got outta there. I'm assuming that you end up being the one who gets cheated.
As far as getting into a cab with strangers to go to their house, I certainly wont be doing that again. My instincts told me that the two ladies (the bait) were genuine, and I think I was right about them in the end. They seemed new to the scam business, definitely not pro's. They actually seemed to feel really guilty at the end when I was still asking about 'the sister.' What I got out of it was a good lesson, a great welcome to Saigon, a delicious lunch (Grilled shrimp, steamed clams, fried chicken and pancit noodle) and a free cab ride back to the tourist attraction of my choice. Could've turned out a lot worse, to be sure, so watch out for this one!
#1 BanhMi has been a member since 5/4/2010. Posts: 12
A few have been caught but new scams with the same tactics have also been reported: