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Dealing with scams and thieves as an Expat?

Through research and conversations with friends I've heard quite a few stories about locals in Vietnam, specifically Hanoi and Nha Trang. These stories range anywhere from being completely oblivious of other people, scamming the average foreigner at any chance, and bag snatching, to leaving victims of moto accidents to die on the streets.
As someone who has never been to Vietnam before I am very curious about this topic, and how other Expats deal with it. How do you enjoy your life without falling victim of scams/thieves?

The only thing you can do is to be careful. There are not cut-purses and robbers at every turn of the way - but there are some. Just like there are in the UK, the USA etc.

Make sure your medical and accident insurance is up to date. Don't take risks when driving and drive defensively.

Go out with a trusted Vietnamese friend until you are confident on your own.

Above all, enjoy what is a vibrant and colourful culture, filled with people who are actually not that different from us.

Consider too, the undeniable truth of 'friends' enhancing the said stories to make them sound better(?)   Well, more exciting...

..and as Matt has inferred, every culture has its share of deviates and desperates.     I too, heard the same dramatics.    Yet I have only seen the opposite: people willing to help.    Bag snatchers?   Who could blame them when so many tourists insist on carrying so many bags, cameras, (full) wallets while walking around with wide-eyed wonder..?    Haven't seen it (yet), but many missed bits being returned.   Remarkable in itself, but not likely to arouse as much excitement as an action-filled story...

Scamming?   A packet of Winfield is just over a dollar, so loading the price is a natural consequence.   Of course, that doesn't happen at home...

More to the point I feel is that there is one born every minute.   Thank goodness we don't see them here...

Thanks for your replies, I feel more confident exploring Vietnam as an Expat :)

Don't believe anything the right on , PC crowd have said.

Look up the article on thanhniwn news about the percentage of tourists who would return here. Nearly 90% said they would never return. The overwhelming reason was the constant thieving, rip offs, scams, revolting people.

Now I've lived in Thailand too but ath like 85% said they would go back......
......that should give you an idea of just how shamelessly greedy , thieving and revolting the people r here.

Hektix, Suggest that you believe Matt and Bazz who have both embraced the Vietnamese and there culture. Their experience of Vietnam matches my own. Its true, you reap what you sow....

If you reap what you sow, why do so many people not return.

I give everybody the benefit of the doubt while reading their posts, @Thaiger, what article are you talking about - 90%??  pure BS - I did a search on Thanvien News Daily as you suggested, no such article, where did you pull that figure out from??  Do us a favor and post a link to articles you quote. @ Colinoscopee, why do you think 'people do not return'??, I talk to tourists all the time, and with the exception of two, all said they would come back -two I talked to in Nha Trang were robbed,  at 3 AM after a night of drinking - that happens all over the world -  you have to consider the source, and the circumstances -  I lived in Thailand off & on for over 40 years, and prefer Vietnam over Thailand with the exception of health care, and that is rapidly catching up.  I try keep an open mind.

Thaiger :

Don't believe anything the right on , PC crowd have said.

Look up the article on thanhniwn news about the percentage of tourists who would return here. Nearly 90% said they would never return. The overwhelming reason was the constant thieving, rip offs, scams, revolting people.

Now I've lived in Thailand too but ath like 85% said they would go back......
......that should give you an idea of just how shamelessly greedy , thieving and revolting the people r here.

Who are the "right on PC crowd?" To which you refer?

Tunnelrat, the government plus the tourism board released figures of 85% non returns, maybe you can do a search online to find this information, it's not overly hard. You talking to a few tourists doesn't count in the overall scheme of things.


This was written by Tim Russell who worked in the tourism sector and as he once said in another article " I have advised the tourism department about the lack of returns and how to combat this, which all fell on deaf ears". Believe it or not, Viet Nam has a serious problem with its tourism, mainly due to incompetence at the highest levels.

http://www.thanhniennews.com/commentari … -1976.html

As previous posters said, if we care ourselves it can be reduce or even stop from the very beginning. All we need is self awareness and caution. This is common in many countries as an expat or even as a local. There is no discrimination with regard to a snatcher or thief. When he/she get a right opportunity, he/she will utilize it - whether it is foreigner or local. How they get a right opportunity? Of course the would be victim go carelessly or ignorant. Yeah, we are in lack of efficient forces, especially Tourism Police, here in Vietnam. I think government is not much interested to promote tourism here even though it's a good source of income for the country. Cannot blame them. They also trying to set up everything for the development of the nation slowly. Big problem is that they cannot control the lazy, corrupted officials who thinks they are beyond the laws and swear to enrich their bank balance and family. I never see a responsible police officer wear uniform and on duty carrying beer cases and household items publicly in other countries but in Vietnam  :)

colinoscapee :

Tunnelrat, the government plus the tourism board released figures of 85% non returns, maybe you can do a search online to find this information, it's not overly hard. You talking to a few tourists doesn't count in the overall scheme of things.


This was written by Tim Russell who worked in the tourism sector and as he once said in another article " I have advised the tourism department about the lack of returns and how to combat this, which all fell on deaf ears". Believe it or not, Viet Nam has a serious problem with its tourism, mainly due to incompetence at the highest levels.

http://www.thanhniennews.com/commentari … -1976.html

There is no doubt that Vietnam has a tourism problem. It's something I commented on to my wife some years ago. Firstly, tourists are generally seen as being a kind of  commodity , to be arranges, transported, shuttled, one solution fits all. The very word tourist seems to evoke, in the official Vietnamese mind a vision of cattle trucks.

To get here you have to apply in advance for visa X (things are changing slightly now).; You are corralled at the airport and herded onto busses; You are driven to an hotel and there, chaos ensues as passports are minutely checked, photocopied and so on; Then comes the mandatory cultural straw hat dance by some local lovelies. Busses depart at X hour for more culture.

Next day, its off to see Cu Chi, etc etc etc. Repeat remorselessly.

Vietnam is a wonderful experience, as yet unspoiled by McD, Col Saunders and the like - although they are getting here.

Much of what Vietnam has to offer is not about the war museums, but about the beauty and culture of the country and its people. You have to look for it. The authorities still don't understand this.

However, having said that, tourists who come here expecting to see Thailand, should go to Thailand. Want to see Singapore? Go there.

Vietnam is unique - as are most countries, but Vietnam has kept its culture despite hundreds of years of foreign occupancy and wars. Not many countries can say that.

UK is an example of the very worst that can happen to a country's culture. I am UK born and bred, but sadly I have to say that the culture of UK isnt there any more. Plenty of history and some tradition, but English culture is dead and gone. RIP.

Vietnam right now is a mix of the old and a rapidly emerging new. The old comprises the peasant culture, with the uneducated gravitating to the newly reforming cities to get employment as an alternative to backbreaking work in the fields under the hot sun. Naturally these people look at the tourists and their "on display" visual evidence of ostentatious wealth. In any country, such a display of wealth will attract thieves - Vietnam is far from unique in this respect.

So I guess one message I would like to send to people who come here and who don't like it is a very simple one: Examine your motives for coming here. Did you want to:
1. Impress the locals with your obvious wealth?
2. Find Thailand 2?
3. Enjoy being fawned upon by people less fortunate than yourself?
4. Find everything the same as it is in your home country and complain long and hard when it isn't?

I know that Vietnam isn't perfect, but then neither is my home country, UK. And if you want to talk about corruption in Vietnam, first of all have a look at the legal system in the UK. Once the world standard in judicial matters, the UK legal system is now a sham, run by greedy lawyers and careless officials who even protected a Lord against prosecution for sexual offences against children for the last thirty years - and that is not the only case. We have had public enquiry after public enquiry about this disaster and that failure of government over the last 30 years or so and nearly all of them have ended with no real conclusion, except that in each case several million quid have been spurted away on lawyers, more lawyers and liars.

So if you find it so intolerable living here, my advice to you is to go to your home utopia and find happiness.

Finally, please allow me to recount a small story about a taxi driver here in Saigon.

I arrived at the airport with two magnetometer bomb locators worth more than 10,000 USD as well as my suitcase and a couple of mine detectors. I grabbed a cab and in my fragmented Vietnamese, asked the driver to take me to the HSBC bank in Q1 as I needed to get some money to buy batteries for my detectors (I don't travel with batteries because they take up too much weight, I usually buy a set of rechargeable and a charger in country and give them away when I leave).

I left all my gear in the Mai Linh taxi whilst I went into the bank. When I cam out, the taxi was gone. I called my wife (then my G/F) and asked her to call Mai Linh and ask where the taxi was. They couldn't contact him.

After 20 minutes the taxi came back - he had gone to buy a box of 20 good quality, in date, batteries for me whilst I was in the bank.

I'm away from Vietnam at the moment and working in Belgium, my colleauges here are curious and like asking about Vietnam and of course their are a few here that have visited Vietnam in the Past and 2 as recently as last year, however, unfortunately the remarks made by the few that have visited VN said that 'It was okay' but not a place they would go back too..but they prefered Thailand, Cambodia and Laos much better..the reason for the non return...one; they didnt like the people much, secondly; they felt that the service generally was terrible and third;  it was infested by theives! 3 out of the 7 people that had been to Vietnam said they had something stolen from their bags and their rooms and from the beaches whilst swimming...

colinoscapee :

Tunnelrat, the government plus the tourism board released figures of 85% non returns, maybe you can do a search online to find this information, it's not overly hard. You talking to a few tourists doesn't count in the overall scheme of things.


This was written by Tim Russell who worked in the tourism sector and as he once said in another article " I have advised the tourism department about the lack of returns and how to combat this, which all fell on deaf ears". Believe it or not, Viet Nam has a serious problem with its tourism, mainly due to incompetence at the highest levels.

http://www.thanhniennews.com/commentari … -1976.html

Thanx for the link written two years ago, am sure  the VN Govt has learned somthing since then, they are of course Capitalist/Communist  - I spend at least four to six months year here between assignments, travel to Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Dalat - talk to loads of tourists, only met two that were robbed, but scores of Motorbike and car Taxi drivers that were and I stick to that............most of the crime here is Viet against Viet in the villages.  Corporate crime is another thing altogether, waaaaay beyond the scope this subject.  I have been living on and off in SE Asia since 1969, either with the US Military, Private Citizen, or the US State Dept...........have seen major - major improvements in tourism here. 

I also adhere to Kippling's quote:"A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East". 
In my opinion, one size doesn't fit all.  Oh,lest I forget, tourism in Thailand in the 60's??  Non-existant  -   it was all us guys coming to Thailand from Vietnam on R&R, I did it six times from 69-71.  major tourism didn't really kick off until the eighties, I know, I owned a bar in Pattaya from 73-78, we made all our money on visiting war ships, US, AUS, NZ and once in a blue moon, British.

Have a nice Memorial Day Weekend

You can't argue with facts, and the simple fact is that people are not returning. There always seems to be the same quotes from many tourists, lack of service and feeling like there being scammed from pillar to post. If people want to wear rose coloured glasses and say everything is fine, it's only a few problems here, they need to have a mental check.

The old chestnut" if you don't like it go home" is getting very,very tiring. Most expats I know criticise their home countries when we see something wrong, but some expats take on the thinking that you can't do that in the country you are residing in. For every feel good story like Matts, there are a hundred bad ones, so there is no balance in any way.

tunnelrat69 :
colinoscapee :

Tunnelrat, the government plus the tourism board released figures of 85% non returns, maybe you can do a search online to find this information, it's not overly hard. You talking to a few tourists doesn't count in the overall scheme of things.


This was written by Tim Russell who worked in the tourism sector and as he once said in another article " I have advised the tourism department about the lack of returns and how to combat this, which all fell on deaf ears". Believe it or not, Viet Nam has a serious problem with its tourism, mainly due to incompetence at the highest levels.

http://www.thanhniennews.com/commentari … -1976.html

Thanx for the link written two years ago, am sure  the VN Govt has learned somthing since then, they are of course Capitalist/Communist  - I spend at least four to six months year here between assignments, travel to Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Dalat - talk to loads of tourists, only met two that were robbed, but scores of Motorbike and car Taxi drivers that were and I stick to that............most of the crime here is Viet against Viet in the villages.  Corporate crime is another thing altogether, waaaaay beyond the scope this subject.  I have been living on and off in SE Asia since 1969, either with the US Military, Private Citizen, or the US State Dept...........have seen major - major improvements in tourism here. 

I also adhere to Kippling's quote:"A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East". 
In my opinion, one size doesn't fit all.  Oh,lest I forget, tourism in Thailand in the 60's??  Non-existant  -   it was all us guys coming to Thailand from Vietnam on R&R, I did it six times from 69-71.  major tourism didn't really kick off until the eighties, I know, I owned a bar in Pattaya from 73-78, we made all our money on visiting war ships, US, AUS, NZ and once in a blue moon, British.

Have a nice Memorial Day Weekend

Because that article was written two years ago its not relevant,your kidding. VNAT have said there are major flaws, go debate it with them and tell them they are wrong.

Vietnam Nam has great potential, but its like a rudderless boat.Below is an article interviewing Vietnamese tourism operators, the year 2015.


Tran Vinh Loc, director of Lac Hong Voyages Company, said Vietnam focuses too much on attracting first-time visitors.
“Vietnam should focus on going after returning tourists by improving the tourism environment, products and services,” he said.
However, according to a recent survey of more than 3,000 local and international tourists visiting five Vietnamese destinations, up to 90 percent were visiting these places for the first time.
Only six percent of international tourists said they were visiting Vietnam for the second time according to the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Program funded by the European Union.
On average, the tourists only stayed for 1.5-2.5 days in Hue, Sa Pa and Ha Long, and 4.5 days in Danang and Hoi An.
Loc said the low proportion of returning tourists offered a necessary warning.
“This is a very low proportion, compared to Thailand where 13 percent of tourists stay for an average of ten days.”
“About 14 percent of Vietnamese tourists visited Thailand an average of two or three times,” he said. "Each time, they stay an average of seven days."
According to Singapore's tourism board, the city-state attracted 303,000 tourists from Vietnam in the first eight months this year, a 14 percent increase over last year.
A total of 380,000 Vietnamese tourists visited Singapore in 2013, generating US$616,000 in revenues.
Of those visitors, 52 percent were heading to Singapore for the second time.
Little innovation, bothersome vendors
Tourism experts blame the low proportion of returnees on poor tourism products as well as aggressive vendors, beggars and street robbers.
Phan Xuan Anh, director of a HCMC-based tourism company, said Vietnam's aggressive street vendors are nightmares for most tourists.
“Ha Long Bay has been unable to resolve the issue. Sometimes, hawkers stalk tourists in their own boats.”
“The boat owners don't oppose them for fear of revenge. And the hawkers just drop a basket of products onto the tourists' laps until they buy something,” he said.
In downtown Ho Chi Minh City, tourists often have to wait for their bus after visiting each destination due to a lack of parking space, he said.
“They have to wait in the sun or rain and suffer harassment from bag snatchers and aggressive vendors,” he said.
Anh also complained about a lack of entertainment services in the evening and services that vary in price from day to day.
Pham Van Du, director of Xuan Nam Company, said Vietnam has become a destination for new tourists.
“The most popular tourism product we have is sightseeing, which doesn't attract returning tourists. Moreover, most destinations have not been properly protected,” he said.
According to Pham Trung Luong, deputy director of the Vietnam Institute for Tourism Development Research, Vietnam's tourism authorities have limited funds with which to promote the country.
“Thus, Vietnam must focus on returning tourists by developing more products,” he said.

colinoscapee :

You can't argue with facts, and the simple fact is that people are not returning. There always seems to be the same quotes from many tourists, lack of service and feeling like there being scammed from pillar to post. If people want to wear rose coloured glasses and say everything is fine, it's only a few problems here, they need to have a mental check.

The old chestnut" if you don't like it go home" is getting very,very tiring. Most expats I know criticise their home countries when we see something wrong, but some expats take on the thinking that you can't do that in the country you are residing in. For every feel good story like Matts, there are a hundred bad ones, so there is no balance in any way.

If you don't like it, go home.

That quote from me was aimed at those people who complain that Vietnam isn't like Thailand or it isn't like home.

I suppose I am a bit different from most as I am not a tourist and have travelled most of the world. But if you want to make comparisons try northern Peru. I was only there (in Chiclayo) two months and a local woman assaulted the waiter in the (best hotel in town) hotel I was staying at because he didn't fetch her drink quickly enough; The captain of the Chiclayo  ladies football team asked to borrow my phone charger in a restaurant one evening and then refused to give it back, saying that I had not loaned it to her; my own driver stole my working tool kit, which I had left in the vehicle over lunch break. I could go on.

I've been living in Vietnam for a number of years all told and have stayed in hotels the length and breadth of the country and NEVER had anything go missing from my room.

Reason? I am a world traveller and use the same precautions anywhere in the world as a matter of habit:

I dont invite stray women back to my hotel room.
I don't leave my valuables lying around my hotel room (and I carry lot of small thing, camera, recorder, phones, mapping gps etc)..
I keep my wallet in a front pocket of my jeans.
My suitcase has a security lock.
I carry a minimum of cash with me and mainly in small denomination notes.
I never let my credit / debit card out of my sight.
I always carry my passport with me securely.
I never get drunk and wander about late at night.
I only ever use Mai Linh or Vina Sun taxis.
etc.

And these are all precautions that I take in London, Paris, Brussels, New York and so on.

Anyway, I decided to have a look for more adverse comments about Vietnam and turned up the following:
http://www.adventurouskate.com/ask-kate … matt-says/
http://thehungrysuitcase.com/25-things- … n-vietnam/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/0 … 72222.html - check the comments....
http://www.roughguides.com/destinations … d-security
https://levels.io/vietnamese-rude/ - this guy must have gone out of his way looking for trouble.
I couldn't fine any really adverse comments that I couldn't put down to the travelling mongs of the world.

And i have lived a couple of years in Cambodia as well as a year or so in Laos and for a couple of years on and off in Thailand.

I love Thailand, but it is the only country that I have been to where a taxi ordered by the hotel I was staying in (Swiss Park hotel, BKK), took me about 400 meters and then told me he was going to take me to the airport. I told him that I wanted to go to Soi 24 - about 20 mins drive - as originally planned and he told me to get out of the car "mother f*cker". Charming!

In Laos, I lived in Bolikhamsay  province (Lak Sao) which has constant drug trafficking, people trafficking and general thuggery, buggery and skullduggery going on. A husband and wife team working for us were killed one day by an unregistered car being driven too fast on the winding road about 20 km from Lak Sao in the direction of Vientiane. I attended the funeral. An open air cremation. The smell of cooked pork stays with me .....

Cambodia is a mess of crime and nastiness that hasn't changed much since I was almost captured by Khmer Rouge there a few years ago.

I lived in Iran for a year, the year of the elections. Shudder.

All places have their good and bad sides. Personally I think that some tourists come to Vietnam expecting it to be just like Thailand and are disappointed when it isn't.

colinoscapee :

Vietnam Nam has great potential, but its like a rudderless boat.Below is an article interviewing Vietnamese tourism operators, the year 2015.


Tran Vinh Loc, director of Lac Hong Voyages Company, said Vietnam focuses too much on attracting first-time visitors.
“Vietnam should focus on going after returning tourists by improving the tourism environment, products and services,” he said.
However, according to a recent survey of more than 3,000 local and international tourists visiting five Vietnamese destinations, up to 90 percent were visiting these places for the first time.
Only six percent of international tourists said they were visiting Vietnam for the second time according to the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Program funded by the European Union.
On average, the tourists only stayed for 1.5-2.5 days in Hue, Sa Pa and Ha Long, and 4.5 days in Danang and Hoi An.
Loc said the low proportion of returning tourists offered a necessary warning.
“This is a very low proportion, compared to Thailand where 13 percent of tourists stay for an average of ten days.”
“About 14 percent of Vietnamese tourists visited Thailand an average of two or three times,” he said. "Each time, they stay an average of seven days."
According to Singapore's tourism board, the city-state attracted 303,000 tourists from Vietnam in the first eight months this year, a 14 percent increase over last year.
A total of 380,000 Vietnamese tourists visited Singapore in 2013, generating US$616,000 in revenues.
Of those visitors, 52 percent were heading to Singapore for the second time.
Little innovation, bothersome vendors
Tourism experts blame the low proportion of returnees on poor tourism products as well as aggressive vendors, beggars and street robbers.
Phan Xuan Anh, director of a HCMC-based tourism company, said Vietnam's aggressive street vendors are nightmares for most tourists.
“Ha Long Bay has been unable to resolve the issue. Sometimes, hawkers stalk tourists in their own boats.”
“The boat owners don't oppose them for fear of revenge. And the hawkers just drop a basket of products onto the tourists' laps until they buy something,” he said.
In downtown Ho Chi Minh City, tourists often have to wait for their bus after visiting each destination due to a lack of parking space, he said.
“They have to wait in the sun or rain and suffer harassment from bag snatchers and aggressive vendors,” he said.
Anh also complained about a lack of entertainment services in the evening and services that vary in price from day to day.
Pham Van Du, director of Xuan Nam Company, said Vietnam has become a destination for new tourists.
“The most popular tourism product we have is sightseeing, which doesn't attract returning tourists. Moreover, most destinations have not been properly protected,” he said.
According to Pham Trung Luong, deputy director of the Vietnam Institute for Tourism Development Research, Vietnam's tourism authorities have limited funds with which to promote the country.
“Thus, Vietnam must focus on returning tourists by developing more products,” he said.

Now this is a lot more like it. Some facts and figures to go on!

Oddly enough, my wifes comments are broadly similar to the above regarding tourism generally - she has an MBA in tourism development and told me that until there is a radical change in the way tourism is perceived by the government the sector will continue to stagnate.

I think the thing is Matt, wherever there are tourists, there are scammers. Bui Vien and De Tham in PNL are not indicative of the people in Viet Nam. I have never lived in an apartment or gated estate, I always live in hems away from tourist and expat areas. I don't do expat bars or restaurants very often, I spend 95% of my time with the locals as I find it more interesting.

The tourism industry could grow in VN if two things happened, the people running it look at long term, not tomorrow,and get rid of the pesky vendors who just hound tourists. The tourist sites need to be managed, not a complete fiasco as most places turn into when there are crowds. I hope for the best for VN, but I know the nature of the officials and government, which generally doesn't go much further than the mighty dollar.

Bac Ho wanted all the people of VN to share in the prosperity of the unification of VN, this hasn't happened and never will, as greed rules.

colinoscapee :

I think the thing is Matt, wherever there are tourists, there are scammers. Bui Vien and De Tham in PNL are not indicative of the people in Viet Nam. I have never lived in an apartment or gated estate, I always live in hems away from tourist and expat areas. I don't do expat bars or restaurants very often, I spend 95% of my time with the locals as I find it more interesting.

The tourism industry could grow in VN if two things happened, the people running it look at long term, not tomorrow,and get rid of the pesky vendors who just hound tourists. The tourist sites need to be managed, not a complete fiasco as most places turn into when there are crowds. I hope for the best for VN, but I know the nature of the officials and government, which generally doesn't go much further than the mighty dollar.

Bac Ho wanted all the people of VN to share in the prosperity of the unification of VN, this hasn't happened and never will, as greed rules.

We live in a gated estate with 24/7 security. Only 2 foreigners live here, me and a Dutchman who is also married to a Vietnamese. We have yet to speak. Our apartment where we lived until December last year is in Q8. No foreigners (except a Hong Kong Chinese bloke married to a Vietnamese lady) and no tourists there. Our first apartment was in An Phu, Q2, but a tidy step away from the foreigners and tourists of Thao Dien. We are now in Q9. Ditto.

Most of our friends are Vietnamese, predominantly doctors and lawyers, mainly because my wife's uni friends mostly studied law and she worked at the FV hospital for a number of years before I met her.

And you are dead right, officials and government are appalling here - not 100% so, but bloody getting that way.

As for Uncle Ho and his dream, well: to misquote something which has been attributed to several famous people in history: "Communism can only exist until the government discovers that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury without risk of public scrutiny".

It is the way of the world. If we ever meet I can tell you the - true - story of the scam I uncovered in Bosnia in 1999, which involved one of worlds largest country governments, the CIA, the US state Dept; a medium sized US company; the leader of the Demining Commission of Bosnia Hercegovina (he is now in jail) and the World Bank. Oh, and how the mighty World Bank fell for the oldest accounting trick in the history of accounting.

Maybe over a beer one day - actually its a three beer story.

Tourism in Vietnam? it needs a shot in the arm and a kick in the backside. But before anything can really improve, the police need a complete root, trunk and branch reformation.

Hi everybody,

Please note that some off topic posts have been removed from this thread.

Thanks,

Priscilla  :cheers:

What a beautiful story about the taxi driver buying batteries.
I have been here 7 years and have had many wonderful experiences too but that takes the cake.

We live in a much less "secure" environment than eodmatt. But, the neighborhood is friendly and helpful. Most places and most of the time, your own attitude determines how happily you live in a given neighborhood.

..and few say it better than Sam...

Anyone can succumb to a scam or theft. Being Naïve and or inexperienced leaves you susceptible to scammers or thieves. Thieves and scammers size you up making sure you are an easy target. This information any police officer would share with you.

In case of a theft or scam there is a time lapse where the funds lost and injury you may have sustained will cost you, since funds may be gone forever and your injuries may set you back with medical bills and time off, because of injury.

Make sure you have Medical insurance for Vietnam since, foreign (Your Countries) medical insurance will or may not apply in this country and Have money in the bank to live on if you are hospitalized and or time off of work. There is no guarantee and no one can foresee the future. Only use caution, be wise and discrete.

Oh having family or someone Vietnamese that you are absolutely sure they would never leave you or forsake you is mandatory, since you are in a foreign country, and need their insight about their culture and to help you with your needs… In my opinion, a recent girlfriend, may not be as loyal as you hoped and what a terrible thing to be injured, no money and alone in a foreign country and she decides to brake up…as people do.

AlexterBalexter :

Anyone can succumb to a scam or theft. Being Naïve and or inexperienced leaves you susceptible to scammers or thieves. Thieves and scammers size you up making sure you are an easy target. This information any police officer would share with you.

In case of a theft or scam there is a time lapse where the funds lost and injury you may have sustained will cost you, since funds may be gone forever and your injuries may set you back with medical bills and time off, because of injury.

Make sure you have Medical insurance for Vietnam since, foreign (Your Countries) medical insurance will or may not apply in this country and Have money in the bank to live on if you are hospitalized and or time off of work. There is no guarantee and no one can foresee the future. Only use caution, be wise and discrete.

Oh having family or someone Vietnamese that you are absolutely sure they would never leave you or forsake you is mandatory, since you are in a foreign country, and need their insight about their culture and to help you with your needs… In my opinion, a recent girlfriend, may not be as loyal as you hoped and what a terrible thing to be injured, no money and alone in a foreign country and she decides to brake up…as people do.

I echo the sentiments expressed here. I can however add that if you have the right G/F, they can be extraordinarily loyal. But there are also plenty of gold diggers around.

You ask how we deal with scammers and not becoming a victim. For myself, I have a good attitude. I look at my surrounding and am aware all the time. I have lived in a few countries and groups tried to mug me and I have had incidents…  The best thing is to stand tall be bold and confident. Don’t be foolish and reckless advertising any thing of value.

I grew up fighting. I started boxing at about 14, I boxed in the Army and studied martial arts most of my life. I went to law school and have many friends on the police force and other law enforcement. Growing up in one of the roughest neighborhoods made me learn to be aware of what is happening around me and not to be foolish when I am in unfamiliar surrounding. My experiences in Vietnam have been great ones. The people are helpful and good to me. I treat them good and they reciprocate. I have never had a bad experience to date…but this is me. The expates on this blog are a few. There are many that are victimized and many who are scammers and thieves. I hope this helps.

Situational Awareness is absolutely necessary. Always remember that theft and assault are a business. Good business people don't risk injury, imprisonment or perhaps death attacking situationally aware people who look like the are able to and are prepared to defend themselves unless their is a big payoff.

I am so glad to stumbled upon this thread.  I am quite surprised that actually complain about the crime in Vietnam. I think its is pretty safe although It has the same issue that all other developing countries have to face: petty crimes. I moved back here last year and have not seen any crime at all myself. However, I wont be surprised if one day I am robbed or have my phone snatched on the street. As I am fully aware of this, I am actually more careful going outside. I recently published an article on essential tips traveling to Vietnam (blog.inspitrip.com/583/vietnam-travel-tips). One of the tips that I gave is on people and culture. When it first arrived, i hated it when they have different prices for foreigners and locals. However, after staying here for a while, I think it is fair and understandable. It is true that there is a difference in the prices for locals and visitors, but you can always get a lower price than what you are first quoted. They simply want to mark up the price because they think you can afford it.  Many of the older generations have experienced a time when food and money were scarce, so to them, visitors mean a chance to escape the hardship of the past. Honestly, paying a few dollars extra wont hurt me. If it means something for the street vendors, i don't mind if they overcharge me. When I chose to live in Vietnam, that what I have expected anyway.

Moderated by Bhavna 9 months ago
Reason : Please add your blog in the Blogs from expats in Vietnam section. Thank you

I lived in S. Korea in 1971-1973. I spoke Korean. The price of goods was always more for foreigners than for locals. Since i spoke the language we would laugh and they would give me the local rate. Sometimes they asked if i was Korean... I don't look anything like an Asian. The increase in pricing is not a good thing but shameful. They laugh about making foreigners pay more. You become the joke of the day. If you want to give them extra money...point out the correct price and let them know you are tipping them or whatever. They will reconsider taking advantage of others, hopefully.  If we all did this, foreigners would not be targets they seem to want an advantage from.

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