The Philippine Embassy in Laos has warned tourists and Filipino workers in the country against a group of Filipino card sharks who allegedly scam tourists in blackjack games.

Vice-Consul Jose Carlo Morales said an Australian national had sought the embassy’s assistance after learning that members of a group that allegedly tricked him were Filipinos, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

According to the Australian man, a middle-aged woman approached him while he was at the Vientiane Night Market by the Mekong River. The woman introduced herself as a Filipino and invited him to her home.

He accepted the invitation and was warmly welcomed by people the woman claimed were her family. They offered him food and drinks, and the one of them wanted to play blackjack with him.

At first, the Australian won a few rounds, but kept losing afterward. Wanting to win his money back but short of funds, he was persuaded to withdraw money from a nearby automated teller machine.

He later went to the police and was able to meet with Philippine Embassy officials.

Morales said the “blackjack” group usually targeted backpackers at tourist areas. The group started in Vietnam as early as 2009 and then later branched out to Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.

Embassy officials warn Filipinos and others not to trust anyone offering them cheap accommodation, food and friendship.