Blackjack scam

The blackjack scam is run by a Filippino gang at major cities all over South-East Asia. Victims have been reported in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam, and the Modus Operandi is exactly the same in each of these countries.

Vietnam-Blackjack-scamThis scam is notorious for targeting male solo travelers, who are approached by beautiful young girls starting small talk with the unsuspecting tourist, finding out his nationality and casually claiming they have a family member or friend who is about to go to the traveler’s home country for work or study. He is then invited to their place to meet this person, so they can talk about the specifics of that country and ease their mind about going to an unknown place. Coincidentally, the person concerned happens to be out of the house upon arrival, but will surely return within a few moments. A meal is offered to pass the waiting time, but this meal is drugged with some kind of tranquilizer like GHB or rohypnol, so the victim of the scam lets his guard down unnoticeably to himself.

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

Then another man asks the tourist if he wants to learn some tricks to beat a dealer at blackjack, by working together as a team. Coincidentally, they already have a blackjack table set up in the basement or attic of the house. The game starts with low stakes or even with play money and the tourist and his companion are able to win a number of rounds. This is exactly the trap the scammers are setting up. The drugs and the winnings make the unsuspecting victim increasingly confident and reckless, causing him to start betting for real money and to increase his bets. Until the losses start to stockpile quickly, sometimes running into thousands of Dollars…. Some tourists have reported being escorted to an ATM or money agent to withdraw their hard-earned savings in order to settle their gambling debts.

This may seem like an obvious scam which wouldn’t fool you, but reality is that it wouldn’t be so widespread it wasn’t successful, the internet is proof, with tons of stories by victims who also feel like an idiot in hindsight. It’s very likely that the drugs in the food help even the most careful traveler to become an easily dupe-able victim.

Ho_Chi_Minh_City-blackjack-scamBe on guard if you a stranger strikes up a conversation similar to the one above. Kindly brush them off and walk away, never step into a taxi with them and under no circumstances eat any of the food you are offered by a random stranger who has approached you out of the blue. In case you actually get invited for lunch with an honest and sincere Vietnamese family, and suspicions of a scam run in the back of your head, keep an eye on which of the dishes are eaten by others as well, and kindly refuse any food that’s served specifically for you.

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam Tourist Scams Forum.

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