Agra gem scam

#1 Aug 29th, 2003, 13:49
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  • baldts is offline
#1
Message: Yesterday I was tricked into the gem scam. Eg. sending gems to Europe, to avoid duty etc, while they as insurance swiped my visa through the machine. Contracts where signed that the payment not should paid before I gave written notice to my bank, and mailed to the bank. But it was from a small courier office. So maybe it wasn't send! Has anybody done similarly and can it be true or it is a scam,(which I really think it is, after second thought) and in that case, what could you do to get out of it. Eg block the visa card or similar measures.

Is there any help out there

Niels
#2 Aug 29th, 2003, 14:13
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  • steven_ber is offline
#2
Cancel the payment through your bank then go to the police.

I saw an article in an Indian newspaper about a Japanese couple that were scammed in the same way, they went back to India and the police helped them get all their money back, perhaps they were lucky.

If I were the police, I would have then arrested the couple for trying to illegally con the Indian government out of export duty.
#3 Aug 29th, 2003, 14:31
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  • Samsara is offline
#3
Block/cancel the card/payment as fast as you can, is the first thing I would do.
#4 Aug 29th, 2003, 14:45
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  • Alan D is offline
#4
Sounds like the classic scam. What kind of document did you sign? Did you read it beforehand? They have your card number and your signature so I would guess the money has already been removed from your account.

Firstly, check with your bank and explain what has happened. There may be a slight chance the money hasn't been taken. Explain the circumstances and ask them to block it.

Next go to the Agra Police. They have a fairly good record of helping out foreign tourists in trouble and are aware of the various scams going on in the city. They may be able to bring a bit of unofficial pressure and get you your money back.

Good luck, Niels.
#5 Aug 29th, 2003, 15:18
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#5
Here's some advice from the U.S Department of State.

Sorry for posting this in full but it's part of a larger website with advice for travellers to India.



Travelers should be aware of a number of other scams that have been perpetrated against foreign travelers, particularly in the Jaipur area. The scams generally target younger travelers and involve suggestions that money can be made by privately transporting gems or gold (both of which can result in arrest) or by taking delivery abroad of expensive carpets, supposedly while avoiding customs duties. The scam artists describe the theoretical profits that can be made upon delivery of the goods. Most such schemes require that the traveler first put up a "deposit" to either show "sincerity" or as a "down payment" or as the "wholesale cost." All travelers are strongly cautioned that the schemes invariably result in the traveler being fleeced. The "gems" or "gold" are nearly always fake. And if they were real, the traveler could be subject to arrest. Such schemes often pull the unsuspecting traveler in over the course of several days and begin with a new "friend" who offers to show the traveler the sights so that the "friend" or another new acquaintance can "practice his English." Offers of cheap lodgings and meals also can place the traveler in the physical custody of the scam artist and can leave the traveler at the mercy of threats or even physical coercion.
#6 Aug 29th, 2003, 20:55
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#6
Some bugger tried collaring me with the carpet scam in Agra, he spent about 4 hours feeding me and telling me the "benefits" I would reap. I just told him I didn't have a credit card.
It seemed like a good thing to do at the time.......
#7 Aug 30th, 2003, 02:12
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#7
It's amazing how these scams always seem to get somebody: greed can blind the mind!
#8 Aug 30th, 2003, 07:54
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  • wonderwomanusa is offline
#8
Quote:
Yesterday I was tricked into the gem scam. Eg. sending gems to Europe, to avoid duty etc, while they as insurance swiped my visa through the machine.
Call Visa right away and dispute the transaction; they will investigate.

And please, beware. Anything that "sounds too good to be true" usually is.
#9 Oct 2nd, 2003, 18:21
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#9
Last week I met a real cool guy called David from Sweden down in Palolem and he told me that he had been on the move for about two days in Agra and had a TukTuk driver take him around to all the sights for only 200,-

David knew that shopping was on the plan and he actually wanted to get a ring for his girlfriend so off they went into a gem store to have a look. David checked out all the stuff and finaly decided on a nice number and wanted to pay the good price quoted and took his credit card out and gave it to the guys.

They put the card in the swiper and told him to sign the slip. On the slip was the grand total of 100.000,- rupees. He didn't want to sign the slip, but the guys were getting physical and he got scared and signed the slip, left and called his bank a few minutes later to find out that the money had already been taken.

Luckily his insurance helped him out - But Beware!
#10 Oct 2nd, 2003, 19:21
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#10
I was approached with this scam in Thamel, Kathmandu last year. I was out putting up posters to sell my Enfield (the tag line was "Full power freedom" corny but effective, anyway - moving on....), and a guy came up and said that his brother wanted to buy one, so would I come to see him. It all seemed genuine, and the guy rode it up and down the street, so we went into his shop to talk business. I was given a cup of tea. He looked over the paperwork, and made me a low offer, then when I rejected it, I was offered gems to take with me to Australia. "Worth AUS$10,000 in Sydney, for you only AUS$2000" When I questioned this, I was met with the guy suggesteing that I was insulting him by questioning his integrity. He was VERY convincing. Thankfully I didn't take him up, but for a few minutes I was tempted. I've always wondered if there was something in the tea...
#11 Jan 24th, 2004, 17:18
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  • tony_i is offline
#11
This gem scam in Agra is as old as the hills,
They tried it on me in 1993!
#12 Jan 24th, 2004, 23:43
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#12
Luckily most credit card companies are extremely cooperative with this kind of obvious rip off. The have a vested interest in discouraging any kind of credit card missuse. BTW: The only way money gets transfered "in a few minutes" is with Western Union. Bank accounts don't work that way. Any bankers out there: feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

It's astonishing to me that there are still people on this earth that don't know about this scam.

About the use of a tuk tuk driver for two days for 200 rs.......Back to my favorite saying: "Beware of unrealistic prices. If you don't pay a fair price up front, your driver will find other, less pleasant ways to extract it from you."

In the defence of people who do get rooked: These scam artists are extremely good actors and well practiced in "psychological terrorism" (did I just make up a new term?)
Reject violence.
#13 Jan 26th, 2004, 17:37
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  • Alan D is offline
#13
This scam just runs on and on despite repeated warnings in the guide books and on forums like this.

People still get caught because it's a classic that undergoes an improvement every few years and it succeeds because it is based on greed. "Want to make loads of money, no risk, safe as houses?"

The irony is that India is cheaper if you want to buy silver and gold jewellery and set precious stones but you have to know your subject. Stay away from things you know nothing about or just be prepared to pay for items because you like them.
#14 Mar 10th, 2007, 07:01
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  • brian is offline
#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by tony_i This gem scam in Agra is as old as the hills,
They tried it on me in 1993!
And on me in 1978.....the greedier a person is, the easier it is to scam them..

brian
#15 Mar 10th, 2007, 08:44
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  • noflylist is offline
#15
I have missed gem scam, but in Kashmir and a Kashmiri in Bombay(of all places) tried a similar carpet scam on me(!) in 1988

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