After nine months of traveling around the world, we experienced our fare share of taxi scams; based on what we experienced and from talking to friends, here are the top 8 taxi scams around the world:
1. Manipulated Meter (Ho Chi Minh City)
As our taxi driver picked us up from the bus station in Ho Chi Minh City, he was well aware our bus ride from Cambodia probably meant we were new to Vietnam. As he put our stuff in the trunk, we insisted he use the meter to which he agreed.
As we took off to the hotel, we knew it was only 3-5km away based on our earlier research. However, I didn’t research how much it should cost! As the drive went on, we both noticed the meter moving sporadically. The 20,000 Dong starting rate seemed ok (that was only $1 US), but we noticed it jumping up in large increments. Every time we looked away, it seemed like the meter would jump even higher. As he pulled up to our hotel, he stayed a block away to make sure the hotel wouldn’t bust him. Oh yes, he took us hard. What should’ve cost us around 80,000 Dong ended up at 500,000 Dong ($25 USD)!!
How to avoid this taxi scam: Make sure you know approximate taxi amounts for your impending ride by Googling your trip or trying an online site like Taxi Fare Finder. Next, keep an eye on the meter as some drivers actually have a button or controller they can use to jump the price when you look away! If the price jumps too sporadically, you might need to take action by telling the driver to stop in a safe spot and paying the amount you researched earlier.
2. Driving around in circles (Las Vegas)
This one is one of the easier rip-offs for drivers to pull with tourists who are new to a town. They’ll often take the long way to your destination to rack up higher fees and hope you won’t notice.