Almost scammed, and I should know better

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#1 Jul 28th, 2011, 01:41
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#1
First of all, thanks to the IndiaMike community for giving me the information I needed to recognize the scam. I almost got scammed, it was close. I know better, I know this scam from this forum.

I was standing in line to put my bags through the x-ray machine at the Delhi train station. Everyone else in line is Indian – I’m the only blonde. A man comes up to me and asks to see my boarding pass. I hand him my e-ticket, and he notices that my friend Ravi’s name is on the e-ticket and he asks if Ravi is an Indian gentleman. I said yes, but he wasn’t traveling today (I just gave him information he could use). He says, “I need to see your boarding pass.” I said last year I didn’t need a boarding pass, my e-ticket and photo ID was all I needed for the train (this just gave him some more information). He said that new security measures were in place (the x-ray machine is new from last year). He said I needed to go to an address (his accent got thick at this point and I couldn’t understand the address). I said, “I’ll miss my train, I can’t go anywhere.” He said, “You’ll miss it anyway because they won’t accept your e-ticket. You need a boarding pass now.”

He was very smooth and convinced me to go to a taxi, which he picked out, and told the taxi driver to take me to the address. He asked the taxi driver in English how much he would charge to drive me there and the driver said 450 rupees. This guy got mad and said, “This is a guest in our country and you will not treat her bad. This is my job, to take care of guests. You will drive her there for 50 rupees only.” Looking back, this was really bad acting, and should have rung some alarm bells in my head. I’m searching my e-ticket for boarding pass directions and racking my brain for IndiaMike threads on train boarding passes. I can’t find anything about boarding passes. In fact, the e-ticket states right on it that the e-ticket and a photo ID are all I need.

We get to the office, and I’m told to sit and relax. I can’t relax because my train will leave in 25 minutes. I get my other train ticket out so I can get boarding passes for both at the same time. The guy from the office comes back with a newspaper telling about a train wreck. I know that sometimes trains wreck, I see the news. I said that is very sad for the victims and their families. But I need to make the train, and I need my boarding passes.

He looks up the trains on his computer and says the seats are all sold out and my e-tickets are no good. They sold my seats to other people and I have no seats on my trains. I said that isn’t true, I paid for two tickets for each of these trains, and they have been reserved for me. I just need my boarding passes. He said that the reason the e-tickets won’t work is that they are from cleartrip. He said that if I had ordered tickets from the railway web site, my e-tickets would work. This makes no sense, and I tell him that as an American, I can’t even buy tickets from IRCTC. This appears to be news to him (and I just gave him more information).

He said he needed to see my itinerary. Time is passing. I tell him where I am going and he says that I am spending too much time in Delhi and in Agra and starts suggesting a new itinerary. I said that I don’t want a new itinerary, my itinerary makes sense to me, and I need to make my train. He says that since I have no train tickets, he could put me on a bus and starts telling me how wonderful buses are and how bad trains are. I said that if I have to change my itinerary, then I’ll do it with train rides and tell him to get me a train to Pushkar. He says the seats for all the trains for all the cities are full for the next three days. I finally get it – this is a scam. He said, “You’ll want an air-conditioned bus.” I said no, as I started gathering up my things. He thought I meant no air-conditioning. He said that he could make my train ticket from Agra to Jaipur work, but not my ticket from Delhi to Agra. I would have to have a bus for that. He gives me a price for one person on a non air-conditioned bus from Delhi to Agra. It was 1,100 rupees. I stop getting my things and look at him. Then I show him my train ticket from the Shatabdi Express for two people with air-conditioning, water, newspaper, tea and biscuits, and breakfast. It was 760 rupees. He said in an intimidating voice, “Fine, take these tickets and see if they let you on the train with them.” I grabbed my tickets out of his hand and said, “That’s exactly what I intend to do.”

Then it was a flurry of activity. He grabbed my bags and ran down the stairs and handed them to the taxi driver and talked in rapid Hindi. I ran to the taxi and we drove fast to the train station. The driver stopped right in front of the place I needed to be, and I gave him 200 rupees. I put my bags on the x-ray machine, and saw that the train was at the station. Some very nice person helped me find my carriage, a couple of very nice teen-agers helped with the door (I was hurrying with my bags, and had trouble with the door), and a very nice young man helped me put one of my bags on the overhead. I made my train. I knew that three men were trying to scam me, but I thought that the driver might have felt bad about it and that was why he drove so fast to get me to the station. Now I think that the scammers thought that if I made the train, I wouldn’t go to the station manager and turn them in. If I missed the train, I would have to re-book a train for Agra and would have plenty of time to talk to someone in charge. I should have told on them, but they were right – I was so happy to make my train that I didn’t take any further action. I should have, though.

The bad thing about this whole scam is that I almost fell for it, and I know this scam. I know you don’t leave the train station, I know that your e-ticket is your ticket. I have told people on IndiaMike this very thing. The nice people in India are way more numerous than the scammers, and I still think the people of India are the nicest people I’ve met. I know this scam, and it’s embarrassing to have almost been a victim to it.

Everyone repeat after me, “Your e-ticket is your ticket.”
#2 Jul 28th, 2011, 01:55
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#2
PHEW!!! Close but no cigar! KK
#3 Jul 28th, 2011, 02:07
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#3
Kashmiris!? ......


Okay, I don't know for sure ... but they're behind a lot of the travel scams at or around Connaught Place.

Next time, if they have sharp features, lighter complexion & are particularly smooth talking & pushy ...... call them in real close & then quickly take out your Fox 40 Pealess Safety Whistle & blow it straight into their eardrums!
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
T. S. Eliot

http://www.derekgrantdigital.com
#4 Jul 28th, 2011, 02:28
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#4
Daisy, you should rename this, I was waiting for my train, and felt like a few minutes harmless amusement playing with a scammer!

What a bastard, eh!
#5 Jul 28th, 2011, 02:33
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#5
Nick, I like that title!
#6 Jul 28th, 2011, 02:44
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#6
.

DaisyL: This is your 2nd trip and you should have been more smarter and stronger than first timers. When in India, it is not necessary to answer every idiot who smooth talks to you. Remember what you teach your kids: Never talk to strangers. You could have practiced your Spanish or French on him and he would have gone. Looks like Ravi was taking care of you and he was not there this one time. I hope now, you have become more stronger and Indianized (travel-wise )


I am looking forward to seeing your new pictures with Sharukh Khan. Did you get to hug him again. ..
#7 Jul 28th, 2011, 02:52
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#7
Yes, absolutely I should have known better. You are right, I should not talk to strangers, and since I know this scam, I should never have left the station.

Actually, Ravi was supposed to travel with me for the first half of the trip, but got sick. So I traveled solo for the first half and then met up with a friend for the second half. I also run into a scam in Jaipur that I will write about later, but that time I do recognize it as a scam right away (my scam radar is up for the rest of the trip).

Did I get to hug Sharukh Khan again, I guess we'll have to see after I get my photos downloaded.....
#8 Jul 28th, 2011, 03:07
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#8
I really do feel sorry for all the foreign travelers who come to India. But I guess if I were to go to any other country then I might have to have my "scam radar" up as well...

I am glad to know that you got to catch your train at the last minute and not become a victim of their scam...Please do enjoy your visit here...I know you will..
#9 Jul 28th, 2011, 03:09
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#9
The picture is always so sharp and clear,
so easy to analyse post factum.
Bearing in mind all the endless possibilities while in a state of stress (which they obviously acknowledged) is almost impossible, as i see it.
Your senses where at your side at the critical moment and that's the main thing.

Thanks for sharing!

#10 Jul 28th, 2011, 03:21
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#10
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Originally Posted by absinthe1984 View Post Please do enjoy your visit here...I know you will..
I did enjoy my visit - I love India!!
#11 Jul 28th, 2011, 03:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elad403 View Post The picture is always so sharp and clear,
so easy to analyse post factum.
Bearing in mind all the endless possibilities while in a state of stress (which they obviously acknowledged) is almost impossible, as i see it.
Your senses where at your side at the critical moment and that's the main thing.

Thanks for sharing!

Yes, I did finally get it! And in time, which was good.

I wanted to share this just as a reminder to others that your e-ticket is your ticket. Even if you think you know the scams, sometimes it is helpful to have yet another reminder.
#12 Jul 28th, 2011, 04:06
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#12
On the plus side, it makes for a great dinner table conversation.

Daisy, I'm not surprised in the slightest that you nearly fell for it, these people are so good at what they do, so good at reading the signs, and as you say, so good at picking out things that you tell them, and adding these things to their own plans to make their story all the more convincing.

It's so easy reading about these things whilst sitting at home, but when on the ground, these guys are so convincing, they have that wonderful India way talking that sounds like they are just giving you the facts, it can catch you off guard.

I was informed once that we had to now use a different entrance to get into New Delhi station, (it's actually a footbridge that crosses to the other side of the station, and it's located 70-80metres south of the main entrance), I fell for it, even though I knew it was a footbridge, it was only when I got to the 'entrance' and was almost 'handed over' to the tout, only then did I wake up.

The really convincing thing about these guys is, they have an answer for whatever they read on your ticket, If you have a 1A ticket, it will not have your carriage or berth number on it, they will tell you that you have no berth booked, and will show you a 2A ticket with carriage and berth details, if you have a ticket that was either waitlisted or RAC when you booked it, they will tell you that there were no cancellations, and when your hot, bothered and just not at your best, all your previous knowledge of these scams can become blurred, and these guys know how to take advantage.

Daisy, when you get home and you have to board a train, you'll feel there's something missing when you just walk up to the train and get on.
#13 Jul 28th, 2011, 04:15
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post On the plus side, it makes for a great dinner table conversation.

Daisy, I'm not surprised in the slightest that you nearly fell for it, these people are so good at what they do, so good at reading the signs, and as you say, so good at picking out things that you tell them, and adding these things to their own plans to make their story all the more convincing.

It's so easy reading about these things whilst sitting at home, but when on the ground, these guys are so convincing, they have that wonderful India way talking that sounds like they are just giving you the facts, it can catch you off guard.

I was informed once that we had to now use a different entrance to get into New Delhi station, (it's actually a footbridge that crosses to the other side of the station, and it's located 70-80metres south of the main entrance), I fell for it, even though I knew it was a footbridge, it was only when I got to the 'entrance' and was almost 'handed over' to the tout, only then did I wake up.

The really convincing thing about these guys is, they have an answer for whatever they read on your ticket, If you have a 1A ticket, it will not have your carriage or berth number on it, they will tell you that you have no berth booked, and will show you a 2A ticket with carriage and berth details, if you have a ticket that was either waitlisted or RAC when you booked it, they will tell you that there were no cancellations, and when your hot, bothered and just not at your best, all your previous knowledge of these scams can become blurred, and these guys know how to take advantage.

Daisy, when you get home and you have to board a train, you'll feel there's something missing when you just walk up to the train and get on.
I'm glad to hear that you realized the scam in time, too.

They really are smooth talkers. And this does make quite the story. When I've told this to other people, the usual response is, "Eleven hundred rupees?!?"

I am glad that I was only almost scammed. I have IndiaMike to thank for that, without prior knowledge of this scam, I might have fallen for it. And yes, just getting on a train now will seem so boring......
#14 Jul 28th, 2011, 04:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by absinthe1984 View Post I really do feel sorry for all the foreign travelers who come to India. But I guess if I were to go to any other country then I might have to have my "scam radar" up as well...
But it is not just the foreigners, is it? My wife might well be assumed, travelling with me, to be foreign, but the moment she opens her mouth she is pure 100% Chennai Tamil ... yet we still, a year or two back, had a most persistent tout trying to get us into his Rs2000 taxi --- for a Rs.200 journey.

The aim of any high-pressure salesman is to get you to act before thinking. All such manipulators have this knack of paralysing the brain. I guess, if one can one's mental faculties together again, the question would be, "Why me? there are hundred's, if not thousands of people here, aiming to get on trains. Why is he interested in my ticket?"

As a side issue, interesting that they x-ray your bags. they don't do this here in Chennai (yet): is it done at many major stations?
#15 Jul 28th, 2011, 04:26
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#15
I only got on trains at Delhi, Agra, and Jhansi. Delhi was the only place I saw the x-ray machine. It wasn't there last year, so I don't know when it was put in. I was surprised to see it.
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