There can be a lot of scams out there, big and small. some you would never ever fall for but then some..you just might. Some ludicrously child like small time tricks, and then some subtle mind games to get you back to their store.
By far the largest amount of petty scams we came across was throughout India, and after a while it becomes hard to judge people as being genuine or not. Often if its completely obvious they are just trying to get you to their shop or whatever and you can have a laugh about it, but there are worse out there, so don't do here what you wouldn't do at home. Take food or drink of strangers, Get a taxi with someone else in it. Meet up with a stranger at somewhere they suggest.
Sounds like obvious stuff. But some people can forget where they are and 'wanna have cool experience man' and whilst you are talking to a nice person you meet sightseeing and after a while, invites you to see his sisters wedding party or a traditional childs birthday celebration or other tourist photo op interesting things, you cant resist this opertunity to experience the authentic way of life and customs, you are so lucky.
You go and meet them and £%amp;*(*!! something bad happens, robbed, drugged or whatever. It can be hard to tell who is really genuine at times and can leave you doubting a lot of innocent people which is a shame. Dont let this put you of as there are so many nice people and wonderful things going on. just don't open yourself up to opportunists.
Below are some of the scams we have come across, however we have not been scammed ..yet!!
Is King of all Jokers, Fake priests, Salesmen and petty scammers, by far the largest collection of text book routines i have met here.
As soon as you get to the Ganges, and stroll along the Ghats, you will be approached left right and centre! It is important not to get angry or pissed off with People selling you, flowers, candles, pashminas, food, massages etc. They are generally very friendly people albeit a bit stubborn in backing down from a sale, but you can talk to them, joke and have a laugh. They know they can be annoying but they are doing what they can to try and make a living amongst millions of others and are harmless.
Hand shake followed immediately by hand massage and will keep going until you can claw your hand back,
'free free no problem!'
This is exclusive to Varanasi! and will see you having to pay for your massage, I did how ever give hand massages back to people instead.
Ganges Boat Trip sir? Get a 1 hr boat for special price,
Takes 2hrs to get back, agree a full price before you go!
There are sections along the Ganges in Varanasi that are used for Cremation. There will be a large pile of wood, an open fire with the deceased inside. Burning wildly before your eyes. It is forbidden to take photos of this. It is a private religious ceremony and not a place for holiday snappers. but there is no problem having a look and the families don't mind as long as you are respectful.
but beware as some scammers use these ceremonies to prey on tourists by asking,
Would you donate to the family for the cost of the wood?
It is true that the wood used can be very expensive, but the family is not going to ask you for money and any money you give will not reach them.
I can show you a better view.. Burning is learning ad Cremation is education..
You will be told that you can get a better view, brought somewhere around the corner and charged money
There is a hospice nearby these people need your help and DONATIONS....
There probably is, but any donations you give this guy will not make its way to them. This is a very common scam.
There are no Government Tourist Information Centres in India. All of these places are just private tour agents. Not a bad thing, but alot of biased opinions like,
Me: Can i take a bus from A to B?
'Them: 'No you can go only by this Super Delux Aircon Spaceship'
Whilst charging you double for a normal local bus
You'l be told to take your shoes off to get into Taj then have to give a tip to get them back...as you like sir(hand out)
Grounds Staff in the Taj, may offer the best photo spots or other tips and demand some money,
I met a man feeding squirrels, in the gardens of the Taj Mahal.
I watched for a minute, then he gave me a piece of bread, and i fed a squirrel. I then had to pay for the bread! :)
Hey... Why do you western people not talk to us indians??'
One of the better lines, I said Maybe because alot of people just talk to us to make us buy something, To which he said can be true and asked did i want to see his shop!
Then 500 meters down the road
Hey... Why do you western people not talk to us indians??
Another guy with the same line! He had a Pashmina shop
You look like famous Bollywood star, I will show you picture in my office...?
All harmless, but there are a few, Diamond, jewel, or precious stone smuggling scammers around the place too, promising stories of riches. Buy this now its worth 10 times in your country!! and so on.
Please have a flower and put it in the holy lake...You must buy this red bracelet to enter the lake front...
Common tricks, needless to say you dont need a bracelet, as for the flowers, you will be given them free by a fake priest, then as you float them in the lake, your priest will find you and charge you for your flowers!
Always Count your Change, it is easy to fumble around with new currencies, and often you will be left short in change