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Category: India Travel Safety Page 3 of 5

Catfishing Scammers in India (and How to Avoid Them). Photo © Karl Rock.

Catfishing Scammers in India (and How to Avoid Them) [Exclusive Video]

Scammers and touts are a major issue for visitors to India, so I went around the streets of New Delhi and covertly filmed scammers in action so you can see exactly what to watch out for! Watch me scam the scammers!

This all comes back to one of the most important rules from my India Survival Guide (Quick-Start Safety Guide) – don’t go places with friendly strangers. 99% of the time they’re con-men who are, at the least, taking you to expensive tourist traps where you pay exuberant prices and they earn a commission.

When in New Delhi, visit the real Government run India Tourism Office for travel and shopping advice. They have branches all over India too.

Share your experiences with scammers in the comments!

Location of the REAL Government IndiaTourism Office in New Delhi. Photo © Karl Rock.

Location of the REAL Government Tourism Office, New Delhi

As I highlighted in my video Catfishing Scammers in India (and How to Avoid Them), scammers are everywhere in India. Especially in New Delhi. One of the most common scams is leading you to fake travel agencies who’ll charge you large commissions, rather than leading you to the official Government run Tourism Office, called India Tourism (Ministry of Tourism).

The Government Tourism Office is run by genuine people who don’t sell anything and will give you all the info and advice you need to plan your India trip. I’ve been there and met with them and experienced their service first-hand. It’s an oasis amongst the scammers of New Delhi.

Here’s how to locate them:

IndiaTourism, New Delhi, Location

Location of the REAL Government IndiaTourism Office in New Delhi. Photo © Karl Rock.

India Tourism Office, New Delhi from the street. Photo © Karl Rock.

The Entrance to the real India Tourism Office, New Delhi. Photo © Karl Rock.

The Entrance to the real India Tourism Office, New Delhi. Photo © Karl Rock.

Shop in India. Photo by Martin Garrido.

How to Avoid Being Overcharged in Stores in India

I never used to think twice about the change I was being given or the prices I was being charged in New Zealand, besides we barely use cash so any overcharges on my cards can be disputed at the bank. Unfortunately, I took that bad habit to India.

One day while I was staying in a hotel off the busy main market in Karol Bagh, New Delhi, I went to the store with just 100 rupees in my pocket. That was my budget to get a few drinks. I picked up 5 Tropicana juice packets worth 20 rupees each and went to the cashier. He said, “120 rupees.” I knew the MRP (Maximum Retail Price) printed on the drinks was just 20 rupees each. “Why are you charging me 20 rupees more?”, I asked. He quickly said, “Oops, sorry.”

I realised that same week that the same thing was happening at the Mother Dairy store at the end of the road. The cashier was charging me 20 rupees for 500 ml of milk when the MRP was 15. When I told him, he just looked at me and handed me my 5 rupee change. From then onwards he began charging me the MRP.

Check your receipts! Photo by Leon Brocard.

Check your receipts! Photo by Leon Brocard.

That’s when I realised I’d probably been getting overcharged for weeks. Since I started scrutinising my bills and change, I’ve found countless cashiers trying to give me incorrect change. Sometimes it’s small, sometimes it’s hundreds of rupees. It’s so frequent that it happens every couple of days to me in Delhi.

Now when it happens, I stand there and keep looking at the cashier, and then they re-open their cash drawer and hand over the rest of the change. They know what they’ve done, they’re just trying to make a quick buck off an unsuspecting foreigner. Not anymore though, and not from you either now!

How to Avoid Being Overcharged in Stores in India

  1. Always check the MRP (Maximum Retail Price) printed on products. By law, retailers can’t charge above them!
  2. Always know, at least roughly, what your total bill will be.
  3. Always check that the change given is correct.
  4. If you’re at a store with a computer system, make sure you take the receipt and double check it while leaving the store.

You also need to avoid counterfeit money in India too. Check out my India Survival Guide (Quick-Start Safety Guide) book for full info and photos on how to do that.

How to Avoid Air Pollution in India With a Mask. Photo © Karl Rock.

How to Avoid Air Pollution in India With a Mask [Exclusive Video]

At certain times of the year, air pollution in India goes off the scales. You must wear a mask to avoid breathing in these nasties. Watch my latest video below to know what you need to look for when buying a mask.

Is PDA (Public Display of Affection) Safe in India. Photo by tjollans.

Is PDA (Public Display of Affection) Safe in India?

Yesterday I was shocked to read that two Swiss tourists had been attacked by 3 teen and 2 adult men near the impressive Fatehpur Sikri fort. The reason they were severely beaten shows the risks of PDA (Public Display of Affection) in India.

In large Indian cities, it’s common to see couples holding hands, hugging, and in nearly all large parks hiding behind trees or bushes doing more. People are more liberally minded in the cities. But in smaller rural towns like Fatehpur Sikri (near Agra and the Taj Mahal), the mentality of people, especially men, is very conservative.

Youths harass Swiss couple in Agra, then thrash them brutally

The Swiss couple being treated at a local hospital.

You can see their mentality in attacker’s explanation, “We saw them getting intimate… We thought that the couple was doing something which they shouldn’t.” They thought they saw the Swiss couple doing something they shouldn’t, like kissing or cuddling, so they took it upon themselves to thrash the couple until they were lying lifeless on the dusty ground. In India, this is called moral policing.

The man suffered a blood clot and fractured skull and the women a broken arm, amongst the bruising and bleeding.

Their reasoning most likely makes absolutely no sense to foreigners. To them though, they saw people doing something they consider morally wrong, so they took it upon themselves to police the issue. They were also offended that the couple would not take selfies with them after they’d passed comments at the couple. Mob rule and moral policing still happen in India. The good news is the attackers were caught quickly by Police.

This is one of the reasons you don’t see PDA in India. As a foreigner in India, it’s certainly best to avoid PDA, especially outside of the main cities.

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