Common Scams to Avoid in Vietnam

As a foreigner seeking employment in Vietnam, it’s crucial to be aware of the common scams that can catch you off guard. At, we’ve witnessed firsthand the unfortunate experiences of many expats who fell victim to these deceptive practices. In this article, we’ll guide you through the most prevalent scams and provide you with the knowledge to protect yourself and your assets.

The Overcharging Taxi Scam

Taxi takes unnecessarily long route, inflating fare for
unsuspecting passenger.

Entity: Taxi scam Attribute: Overcharging Value: Common occurrence

Picture this: you hail a taxi, enjoy a smooth ride to your destination, but when it’s time to pay, the meter shows an exorbitant amount. This, my friend, is the notorious overcharging taxi scam. Dishonest drivers manipulate their meters or take longer routes to inflate the fare. To avoid falling victim:

  • Only use reputable taxi companies like Mai Linh or Vinasun
  • Agree on the fare before entering the taxi
  • Insist on using the meter and keep an eye on it during the ride

The Counterfeit Money Exchange Scam

Comparing real and fake money to identify differences in
printing and details

Entity: Money exchange scam Attribute: Counterfeit currency Value: Prevalent in tourist areas

You’re excited to explore Vietnam’s vibrant markets, but first, you need to exchange your currency. Be cautious when doing so, as the counterfeit money exchange scam is rampant. Scammers offer seemingly unbeatable exchange rates, only to leave you with worthless counterfeit bills. To protect yourself:

  • Exchange money only at official banks or reputable exchange offices
  • Carefully examine the bills you receive for any irregularities
  • Avoid exchanging money with individuals on the street

The Motorbike Rental Scam

Entity: Motorbike rental scam Attribute: Overcharging and damage claims Value: Common in tourist hotspots

Renting a motorbike is a thrilling way to explore Vietnam’s breathtaking landscapes. However, some rental shops exploit unsuspecting tourists with the motorbike rental scam. They may overcharge for the rental, demand excessive deposits, or falsely accuse you of damaging the bike to extort money. To steer clear of this scam:

  • Rent from reputable shops with clear rental agreements
  • Thoroughly inspect the motorbike and document any existing damage
  • Take photos of the bike before and after the rental period

The Friendship Bracelet Scam

Fake friendliness: seller pretends to be friendly to trick tourist
into wearing bracelet.

Entity: Friendship bracelet scam Attribute: Forceful selling Value: Targets solo travelers

Picture a friendly local approaching you, striking up a conversation, and offering you a friendship bracelet. Seems harmless, right? But beware, as this is the setup for the friendship bracelet scam. Once the bracelet is tied to your wrist, the scammer demands payment, often becoming aggressive if you refuse. To avoid this trap:

  • Politely decline any unsolicited gifts or invitations
  • Keep your distance from overly friendly strangers
  • Trust your instincts and walk away if a situation feels uncomfortable

The Taxi Safety Concern

Booking a taxi ride with a reputable company’s app on a smartphone

Entity: Taxi safety Attribute: Risks and precautions Value: Important consideration for travelers

While most taxi rides in Vietnam are safe and uneventful, it’s essential to exercise caution, especially when traveling alone or at night. Unfortunately, there have been instances of taxi drivers being involved in theft, harassment, or even kidnapping. To ensure your safety:

  • Always book taxis from reputable companies
  • Share your ride details with a trusted friend or family member
  • Sit in the back seat and keep your belongings close
  • If you feel uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to end the ride and exit the vehicle

For more insights on navigating Vietnam’s transportation system safely, check out our article: Is It Safe to Use Taxis in Vietnam?

At, we understand the challenges that come with working and living in a foreign country. That’s why we’re here to support you every step of the way. If you have any concerns or questions about scams or safety in Vietnam, don’t hesitate to reach out to us via phone, Zalo, or WhatsApp. Our knowledgeable team is always ready to provide you with the clearest and most detailed advice.

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