Getting caught up in the Vietnam blackjack scam cost me 2000 euros

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    • #886 Reply

      As an experienced traveler in South East Asia, I had been on guard for scams on all of my travels, which includes the trip to Vietnam. But when a friendly Asian man struck up a conversation with me in a park in Ho Chi Minh City, I didn’t suspect anything strange, as it all came very natural.
      He asked me where I was from and if I was spending my holiday here. After I told him I was from France, he said his 23-year old daughter was just about to leave for Paris to work as an au pair. He was very detailed in his story, including which arrondissement and her flight numbers. He said he was okay with it, but his wife was worried about their eldest daughter going abroad all by herself.
      He asked me if maybe I could follow him to their house, so I could give his wife some peace of mind by explaining her that Paris is not dangerous at all, and discrimination is relatively low. It would be an honor for him to have me as his guest and have his wife cook dinner for me. I thought it could do no harm to join him, as he was so friendly and it all seemed so legitimate.
      He held a taxi and we both got in. During the ride, he was non-stop talking to me and asking questions, looking back at it all that must have been to keep me from thinking about the situation too much and changing my mind. After a 15-20 minute ride, the taxi pulled over at a small gated house somewhere in the suburbs, where his mother-in-law greeted us and got me a cup of tea. His daughter and his wife apparently had to rush to the hospital and would be back later.
      As I was drinking my tea, another man came in, introducing himself as a friend of the family, and started talking to me. The old lady also brought me a plate of fried rice with prawns, but didn’t even bother to ask the “friend of the family” if he wanted something to eat. At least not from what I heard.
      The man explained that he just lost some money from a professional gambler playing blackjack, and asked me if I knew the game. I did, and that’s when he told me that he knew some tricks to cheat at the game, and that we could play together for him to win back his money.
      I felt a bit strange at that moment, a bit dazed in fact, and for some kind of reason, I could think of no logical reason to decline helping this man out. We played a few hands while he showed me how he could know exactly which cards the other player has in hand, and then after he got a phone call he told me the same guy who had taken all of his money would be coming over, and he wanted me to play against him, using his cheating strategy and some of his money.
      Looking back, this all sounds so unworldly, but at the time it all seemed perfectly normal. The professional player arrived and we started playing, and I quickly won a few hands, increasing my chip count. The man whose money I was playing with was starting to get excited. He had to walk out the door for a while, but told me to keep playing.
      The stakes were going higher and higher, until my opponent proposed to make it really interesting, and raise the stakes to 5.000 US Dollars. That was more than I had in chips in front of me, but being confident I would win anyway, I agreed. But then all of a sudden, I lost the hand, losing all of my previous winnings and more! That dizzy and lightheaded feeling I had ever since I walked in turned into a shock of terror when I realized what just happened.
      Out of nowhere, a couple of weightlifters appeared, telling me to settle my debt immediately, which was $ 2.400 (almost € 2.000,-). One of them blocked the exit, so I had nowhere to go. And even if I would be able to get out, I had no idea where I was and how to get back into town.
      They threatened to break my kneecaps if I wasn’t able to pay up. I told them I didn’t carry that much cash on me, so they offered to take me to a place where I could withdraw money. I was put in a taxi with a big man on each side of me, and they drove me to a gold shop in town. I had to withdraw the money and hand it over, and then they left me behind dazed, confused and angry at myself for getting myself into such a situation.
      Of course I went to the police, but since I had no idea where the house of the blackjack scam was, there was not much they could do for me but warn me to be more suspicious next time. That’s also when I was told I wasn’t the first victim of this scam, and when I searched for it on the internet, I felt even more like an idiot. Lots of sites warned travelers of the exact same scam that I had just walked into.

    • #889 Reply

      I’m sorry to hear you lost this much money, Wilfrid. These people know exactly how to play tourists to make them bring their guard down.
      Besides that, they probably drugged your food to make you more cooperative (that’s why the other guy didn’t eat). And they took you to a gold shop because there’s a higher withdrawal limit than at certain ATMs.

    • #5387 Reply

      i just been scamed aswell and i dont know what to do… they say we will finish the game this afternoon, they got my phone and 10000dollara of mine… i guess i am out of saving.. how could i bee such a fool?!

    • #25704 Reply

      This happened to me in 1982 in Bangkok. Don’t remember the details, but it was card game and I got scammed for around $1500.

      Yesterday I was crossing the road and there was a fillapina girl next toe. We started chatting and she invited me to lunch, then to much again the next day at her brother’s, and supposedly Vietnamese wife. She picked me up in a taxi and did drive a long way which I would never remember, and considering she said she was only visiting, she knew very well how to direct the driver.

      Anyway, her “brother” very quickly began to tell me he worked as a dealer in Macau and also ran private games for rich people. After a long story of his wife’s mother being in hospital and needing money for the operation, I said he would show me how we could win money from this supposedly Brunei millionaire. He proceeded to show how the game would work and that he would give me the money to play with.

      As the game continued, I began to remember Bangkok. I was watching how it was going to work. When the old guy had put in $52k, the dealer wanted to talk to see if I could help him out by adding some more more to meet the vet. I had the winning hand, if course, but the scam was for me to add my money ( around $5k.) At this point I could see the scam, same as before, but now be older and a little wider, I straight out said, no, I am not putting anything in, this is your game.

      It went on a bit more and I played along.

      They got a taxi and paid for it, so, it was an awareness lesson for me and a failed scam for them.
      This was in HCMC.

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