Fraudulent and dangerous 'Travel agents'

#16 Sep 21st, 2016, 11:55
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  • Sama is offline
#16
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Originally Posted by RPG View Post For some years now, GMaps has had an option to download maps to the phone, when on wifi, so that they can be used later without a signal (or without paying for data).

Just saw this....





No wifi, no data, no problem. Download stuff to phone before you go. Whether it's good for India, don't know.
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#17 Sep 21st, 2016, 14:12
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#17
I need to clarify the Google maps thing.

The primary point is preparation. Check out localities and directions before you start.

The last thing I would want to do is wander the streets looking at a map on my phone. In London, I'd lose the phone. Here, not so much risk... But growing.

But in a cab or auto, you can check out where you are and where you are going. I know Sama had been taken to the wrong hotel here in chennai, nothing sinister, just a mistake, but after a long flight, nobody wants the scenic route!
I know others who have had similar experience, and, with their phone, told the driver.

One of my first London Street-smart lessons was... Don't wander around looking lost.

Don't blame the victim, sure... But there is such a thing as setting oneself up to be a victim. Wandering the streets with a bunch of luggage? No... Don't do it. Basic Street-smart. You're better off in a cab or even an auto. A tiny percentage of those drivers may want to land you in a scam. May even be rapists or murderers. Most of them, at worst just want to get three times the fare out of visitors.
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#18 Sep 21st, 2016, 15:32
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#18
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post But there is such a thing as setting oneself up to be a victim. Wandering the streets with a bunch of luggage? No... Don't do it. Basic Street-smart. You're better off in a cab or even an auto. A tiny percentage of those drivers may want to land you in a scam. May even be rapists or murderers. Most of them, at worst just want to get three times the fare out of visitors.
You sound like the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

No mistake above, I've been adicted to thai news for many years, it's awful, unbelievably depressing, horrific crime levels, a country where murder charges depend on your finances and influence, and where the tourism minister will bring flowers to the hospital bed of a foreign grandmother (who's just been kicked unconscious so a group of thais can save face), but all TAT really do is try to cover up crime levels and pretend everything is rosy.

http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel...fa07c84295b2f7 (awful video, makes me feel sick every time I see it)

No matter how bad things may seem in India, 'The land of smiles' takes it to a completely different level.
#19 Sep 21st, 2016, 16:16
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#19
Darn it! The bad guys are winning. Or rather, they've already won. I used to try help such people as the OP in the past, but after my rear windshield got stoned twice, I've gotten the message and stopped interfering in the tourist tout mafia's work. Sad, but there it is. Delhi's gone to the dogs.
#20 Sep 21st, 2016, 16:17
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#20
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Originally Posted by ViShVa View Post Join IndiaMike before you travel and read the "Scams and Annoyances in India Forum".
I agree with this.

I did this before my first ever trip and I've pretty much never been subject to any real form of scam (although did get duped in to paying for a round of beers and a 5 ring once!).

What's worked for me is a complete suspicion and indifference to almost everyone. It works at keeping me safe and the touts at bay, but also limits the opportunity for genuine interaction somewhat (which I've posted about previously).

NB
"See the World, then see India - because the World is an anti-climax"
#21 Sep 21st, 2016, 18:45
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#21
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Originally Posted by Matka View Post I've gotten the message and stopped interfering in the tourist tout mafia's work. Sad, but there it is.
A good question - what to do when you see a tourist being scammed or harassed by a mob?

It doesn't help that a trick used by pro scammers is to look like concerned passers-by just wanting to help. I myself was almost taken in once by a handsome young man with a laptop bag offering to walk me to where I was looking to go.

I guess all we can do is point to the correct ticket counter or pre-paid taxi counter and move away...
#22 Sep 21st, 2016, 18:47
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#22
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Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post
http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel...fa07c84295b2f7 (awful video, makes me feel sick every time I see it)
Relax, Steven, I have followed the discussion of that incident carefully, and it becomes clear, that that (nevertheless senseless) attack was provoked by the Brits who hit the Thais first. Imagine doing that in India, a Western woman hitting a drunk Indian man in the face. Also, this incident happened at Songkran, the Thai New Year, in the Red Light district, at 2 a.m. -- compare it to Holi in India when everyone in the streets is drunk. (Details here.)

As to OPs problem, careful research before travelling, as others say here too, would help. But then, it has happened to me too in Delhi, suddenly sitting in a strange office instead of the Foreign Tourist Reservation office.
#23 Sep 21st, 2016, 21:21
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#23
Very much true, don't blame the victim, but preparation is KEY.

I've seen too many first timers in India (I am speaking of yoga people) who are just too naive. India is not all prem, bhakti, and shakti. I know too many who believed Eat Pray Love.

As I said, maybe it's age combined with street smarts, who knows, elders also get scammed.

I agree with Nomadic Book to a certain point about suspicion and indifference but it has not limited my opportunity for genuine interaction. However, after reading so many Indian news articles about how people are left on the street after accidents, etc. and people just walk by, or worse, take videos on their phones, why should I hold out any hope that if anything happened on the street that anyone would help? Call me jaded and cynical, I look out for myself.

My thing is always keep walking even if someone comes up to me to talk. I rarely stop to engage and always create my own personal space (and yes, I know that can be rare on a crowded street.)

I know how one walks can sometimes deter someone -- I've read more than a few articles on how thieves or other unsavory people (ok, rapists) target women on the street, what they look for in whom to attack.

The vast majority said they would bypass a woman who looks confident and looks like she owns her space but would go after one who (in their eyes) looks timid, squeamish, and unsure, thinking they wouldn't put up much of a fight. Own your space, ladies. Unfortunately, many women are still conditioned to "act small."

As I tell trauma survivors, get large.
Last edited by Sama; Sep 21st, 2016 at 22:29..
#24 Sep 21st, 2016, 22:31
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#24
Agree with Sama you gotta be confident and own your space which isn't always easy. Start yelling if they get too aggressive. Have a whistle around your neck and start blowing it.

I would like to know what time and where exactly did this happen. Weren't other local women around?
"Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain
#25 Sep 21st, 2016, 22:34
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#25
act confident even if you're shaking inside.
'Speak Up, Even If Your Voice Shakes'

#26 Sep 22nd, 2016, 00:49
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#26
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Originally Posted by Sama View Post My thing is always keep walking even if someone comes up to me to talk. I rarely stop to engage and always create my own personal space (and yes, I know that can be rare on a crowded street.)
Really this is the essential thing. Westerners are trained from birth to be friendly, to respond when spoken to, and indeed, one might feel a special need to be polite in a foreign/poor/downtrodden country. It takes a bit of effort to learn to acquire situational deafness and blindness. You can't hear anyone, you can't see anyone even if they start jumping up and down in front of you. You're a sahib/memsahib and people can't speak to you unless you speak to them. You live in a different plane of consciousness.

We were in a South American country recently, and I was bemused to see vendors, of whom there were many, call to us but only once. In certain places in India they might never stop. It's not as bad these days, but still, no other travel prepares you for India.

However, in some sense the rules are the same in many 2nd/3rd world countries. If you need help, ask a woman (if possible---in some cultures, women won't talk to men) or an older person or family, and never ever accept help from someone who offers it. For example, in Mexico City, the small cabs are supposed to be unsafe, but they are perfectly safe if you pick the cab and don't let the cabdriver pick you.

Anyway, the OP has no doubt vanished after venting, never to return. Meanwhile we are repeating things said here many times before. Perhaps this repetition will benefit someone else.
#27 Sep 22nd, 2016, 01:20
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#27
Some very good advice here and I only have a couple of points to add.

1. Part of the preparation when planning your route to a place is to find other landmarks close by such as a clock tower, cinema, shopping mall, temple, another hotel...
I personally would not rely on phone apps because if you're walking around looking at your phone then you will look lost.
Don't pay any attention to people offering to help you but if you need advice it's quite ok to approach someone to ask. By approaching them, you are in control of the interaction. Pick who to ask - not someone on the street who could be passing through too but a settled person like a local shopkeeper (not a tourist shop). If they don't know your destination you can mention the other landmarks. If they don't understand you, try changing your pronunciation.
If they still don't understand you, stay calm and try someone else.

2. There's also a very useful hand movement, a flick of the wrist like you're brushing away a fly. It's quite haughty and disdainful but very useful because you can wave away people who approach you without either looking at them or speaking.


(cross posted with RPG)
#28 Sep 22nd, 2016, 01:42
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#28
I actually find this all very sad - all the advice to not engage with people, know exactly where you're going, trust no-one ...

I agree with the advice, for a young first-timer especially in Delhi. And it's what I did myself when I was young.

But being older and having a greater familiarity with India allows you to be much more confident and relaxed. One of the joys is wandering arounda town or city in an unplanned way, even getting lost, not knowing what to expect and being open to different kinds of interactions. And in my experience it's fine for a lone woman to do that once you've reached Auntie status.
#29 Sep 22nd, 2016, 02:03
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#29
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Originally Posted by RPG View Post Really this is the essential thing. Westerners are trained from birth to be friendly, to respond when spoken to, and indeed, one might feel a special need to be polite in a foreign/poor/downtrodden country. It takes a bit of effort to learn to acquire situational deafness and blindness. You can't hear anyone, you can't see anyone even if they start jumping up and down in front of you.
Live in London for a few years and become an expert at all that.
#30 Sep 22nd, 2016, 02:39
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#30
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Live in London for a few years and become an expert at all that.
London my whole life, maybe that's why it's easy for me

NB

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