A fake firm in the central city of Da Nang has conned more than 100 people over the past month by convincing them that they had won a car and asking them to pay a deposit to claim the prize.
The fraud came to light when many of these people came to the SAVICO building at 66 Vo Van Tan Street, Thanh Khe District in Da Nang to get the prize as instructed by staff of the Dat Phat Company and discovered there was no such firm there. Other people learnt the same thing after phoning SAVICO.
The victims, living in Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, and other localities, told the SAVICO building's executives and reporters how they had been cheated.
They said they had bought electronic products from some people who came to their houses and introduced themselves as staff of the Dai Phat Company based in Da Nang.
The electronic items were not fake, local reports say. The customers believed the people introducing themselves as Dat Phat staff because they had name cards as well as pamphets introducing the electronic goods and stating their prices.
The Dai Phat staff also asked the customers their names and other personal details to have them entered in a lucky draw for a chance to win a car worth VND380-VND500 million (US$18,500-$24,300).
Several days later, the staff phoned the customers, informing them that they had won the car.
The staff also asked the customers to transfer VND10-22 million ($486-$1,070) for car registration fees to a bank account before inviting them to go to the Dai Phat Company located on the second floor of the SAVICO building.
Many customers paid the "car registration fee" and came to the building to receive the prize, only to learn they'd been swindled.
There is no estimate available as to how much money the company had swindled in total. The police have said they are investigating the case.
A Ho Chi Minh City resident, who wanted to be identified as A., said she had borrowed VND22 million from her relatives and friends to pay the deposit and traveled to Da Nang, believing she would get a car.
"My dream has now crumbled," she said.