Saturday, August 06, 2011

Hanoi Scams

Pickpockets and other kinds of scams are common-place in Hanoi these days. One of the most prevalent scams in Hanoi is the professional charity collectors. This is what happens; there are two people, the girl dresses up nicely and speak English quite well, and the man rides the motorbike. They always look for single middle aged tourists.

They carry a book with a long list of western tourists and the number of dollars they have donated, of course with signatures. They have cheated so many tourists in Hanoi. Last year, I met an American woman in Siem Riep who told me about a young girl who approached her while she was in Hanoi, using the same story. When I told her that it was a scam, she was horrified.

I've witnessed the scam myself. Yesterday, when I was buying some food for my dog near the Dong Xuan market, I saw a girl speaking with a young male tourist. Finally, she got what she wanted but further drama followed. The tourist gave her some US dollars and there was a $1 note which was a bit old and she refused to take it, asking him to change the note. He didn't have another note and she tried and tried for about 10 mintues but the guy refused to give her a better note. She actually got angry with him, jumped on the back of the motorbike and took off. Today again, when I was having my regular coffee at Cafe Nang in Hang Bac street, I saw a very young, pretty girl doing the same thing to a young guy but after 10 minutes trying he kept refusing. She was very mad, said something in Vietnamese which I couldn't hear then sped away.

Fruit sellers in the old town are another annoying night mare to tourists. There is a group of young women who carry small amounts of pineapples and bananas. They try to put their baskets on the shoulders of tourists, thinking it would be a good photo, then force them to buy their fruit at an exhorbitant price. They often charge $3 for a small bag of pineapple instead of 50 cents. Sometimes, these women shout at the tourists when they don't get their own way. Occasioanlly, other old quarter residents shout at these scammers to leave the tourists alone, some even threatening to call the police.

Everybody needs to work to earn money but these kinds of scams give Hanoi and Vietnam a bad name. The local authority really should do something about it.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting and useful article for tourists in Hanoi. Thank to Stickyrice to passed the link on twitter. Great job

Van said...

Very good article and good tip. I'm a Viet cue living in UK who has worked with Hanoi's artisans for the past 10 years. I used to spend over 50,000 USD a year importing Vietnamese handicrafts to wholesale in Europe. I also used to travel twice yearly to Hanoi for business, but found the constant 'cheating' by my suppliers as well as locals quite unpleasant. It was always an up hill struggle every time I ordered and treaded every business trip. This has forced me to reduce my expenitures in Vietnam drastically over the past 3/4 years, preferring to invest in other SE Asian countries. Vietnamese just don't seem to understand that good business is built on trust to mutual benefit. They ALWAYS try to scam me where ever they can with pathetic excuses. It's a real shame. As for tourism, I've many friends who have visited Vietnam and had enjoyed their holiday there. But when asked: "Would you return?" most say 'NO'. This is not the case with, say, Thailand whereby tourists return year after year. The Vietnamese people really ought to change their scamming nature and quick-buck attitudes if they are to have sustainable tourism and businesses. Prime example: you can find authentic Nike, Addidas, Timberland products in the local market...because the factory workers (most likely managers) steal from the employers! Sad, very sad!!!

Anonymous said...

That's not a good thing to hear about Hanoi. Good and bad things are everywhere and Im sure my family and I will have a great time on my second trip back to Hanoi and the north for 2 week.
Im actually a regular reader of this site and there are so many things to learn from this writer. Very informative and true stories which impressed me very much.
Please keep up the great work
An - Australian Vietnamese

Anonymous said...

It's not a good sign for tourists to Hanoi. But that's part of life as good and bad things are everywhere. I had a great 2 weeks last year to Vietnam for the third time.
Victoria Nguyen

Vietnam tours said...

Sometimes, Hanoi is so dangerous, but most of the time, it is so lovely. Do you all agree with me?

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, I got cheated. Hate it very much

contactos en barcelona said...

So, I do not really consider it may have effect. said...

Well, I don't actually consider this is likely to have success. said...

For my part every person ought to go through it.