Fraudulent and dangerous 'Travel agents'

#31 Sep 22nd, 2016, 04:13
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Originally Posted by RPG View Post 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. .

think it depends on where one grew up. Me, Chicago, considered a friendlier large city (back in the day) than New York but you still need street smarts.

But I lived in Texas twice, once with a bunch of corporate transplants from small Midwest towns, and the attitude of small towners was vastly different from us big city folk. they thought Dallas was the "big city." uh, no.
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Last edited by Sama; Sep 22nd, 2016 at 06:17..
#32 Sep 22nd, 2016, 06:01
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#32
Indian woman stabbed more than 20 times in broad daylight. Video shows passersby doing nothing.


https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/ca38252...bbed-more.html

Probably the same scene as the op. Nobody getting involved.

I have a great story from Bombay which I told before where nobody cared about a dying guy on the street. Sometimes India is the worst country on this planet!
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#33 Sep 22nd, 2016, 08:37
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I agree. Sometimes India is the worst country on this planet.

70-year-old woman died of injuries after she was raped by a four-member gang near Attayampatti in Namakkal district in the early hour

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/c...w/54453944.cms
#34 Sep 22nd, 2016, 09:28
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#34
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Originally Posted by Sama View Post think it depends on where one grew up. Me, Chicago, considered a friendlier large city (back in the day) than New York but you still need street smarts.
Well, the kind of smarts you need are different, and a tough guy from Woodlawn may not do well in Delhi. In Chicago you need to guard against violence. The above couple of posts notwithstanding, there is very little violence in India against tourists. But there are scams, scams, scams. Not too many street scams in Chicago. (Lived in Lincoln Park for some years. Not that Lincoln Park is representative of Chicago as a whole, but it is in Chicago.)
#35 Sep 22nd, 2016, 10:02
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#35
(@ RPG - The two posts above yours are not really relevant to this thread, in that they're about violence, not about scams.)



I don't know the Windy City's locales, but the same applies in London, Bombay and Delhi (the three cities I am at home in). There are pressure salesmen everywhere. They scam pensioners, home owners and the vulnerable, every day and at every opportunity.

In my own home in London, I have been under pressure from kitchen, double-glazing and pressure-shower salesmen. I have actually paid money then had to block the payments as the consumer laws are enforced in the UK. I am much wiser now, but cannot guarantee that I won't be scammed.

A smartphone App is not for learning how to use it suddenly in an emergency. It is for pre-planning and for knowing that someone is taking you to Jamuna-paar (across the Yamuna River in Delhi) when you wanted to go north or south of CP (Connaught Place - aka Rajiv Gandhi Chowk) and not East. It is for knowing your bearings before you step out of the comfort of a Wi-Fi zone. It is a tool, not an end solution.

There is an elephant in the room here that has been tip-toed around, so far. Let's put things into perspective.

The OP was scammed. She was vulnerable. I have a lot of sympathy for her predicament. But she is not blameless. She had lost her wits around herself too. AFAIK they did not physically force her passport out of her secure waist-belt, nor her credit card out of her wallet. She did the bank transaction with the PIN number. She does not claim that it was under the threat of violence. It was not robbery. She was bullied, but allowed herself to be bullied. If the women in my life were like her; then I would be a king-pin. I would rule all I survey. Fortunately, they rule the roost, and they bully me.

The advice above of seeking help locally at an establishment is spot on. In any city in the world. I have been the recipient and donor of the same. The streets of London, Bombay and Delhi are some of the most friendly and extremely helpful places that I have sauntered in. People get on with their sojourns, but will leap to help anyone that asks for help.

But beware of unsolicited help and tourist traps.



(I had to post this for posterity's sake)
#36 Sep 22nd, 2016, 15:46
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#36
Of course, one of the questions that arises, reading the first post is, how could she let this happen? The details are sketchy. Did she ask for directions, or did strangers intrude? She was going to a hotel; she must have had an address. How would some information centre be trying to find it?

First and only post. She has not engaged in any discussion since (as far as I can see from tapatalk on a power-cut day).

I have my suspicions, and I bet in not the only one. But, whatever they might be, this sort of stuff happens. So the discussion of necessary kind of street smartness is entirely valid.
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#37 Sep 22nd, 2016, 15:57
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#37
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Of course, one of the questions that arises, reading the first post is, how could she let this happen? The details are sketchy. Did she ask for directions, or did strangers intrude? She was going to a hotel; she must have had an address. How would some information centre be trying to find it?

First and only post. She has not engaged in any discussion since (as far as I can see from tapatalk on a power-cut day).

I have my suspicions, and I bet in not the only one. But, whatever they might be, this sort of stuff happens. So the discussion of necessary kind of street smartness is entirely valid.
I think we tend to forget the "dangerous" part of the thread title. These people are not just con men, they are dangerous people, as my rear windshield can attest to. If they manage to get to you, the implied danger they represent can intimidate even street-smart people.

I didn't want to get into the discussion because I'm not a foreigner and I'm not likely to be of interest to these people, but while I'm all for ignoring them, I'd think twice about using harsh language or even scowling at them. You want them to forget you, not mark you for retaliation. If you're just passing by, maybe it would be okay, but if it's a place you expect to return to, don't antagonise them.
#38 Sep 22nd, 2016, 16:53
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#38

Fraudulent and dangerous 'Travel agents'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matka I didn't want to get into the discussion because I'm not a foreigner and I'm not likely to be of interest to these people, but while I'm all for ignoring them, I'd think twice about using harsh language or even scowling at them. You want them to forget you, not mark you for retaliation. If you're just passing by, maybe it would be okay, but if it's a place you expect to return to, don't antagonise them.
I think your contribution is very useful. I could be wrong, and I am not volunteering to put it to the test, but I suspect a presence of intimidation, perhaps the wish to be seen as dangerous, rather than the real thing. Just my theory.

But some might feel inclined to string them along, waste their time, for fun or a good IM post. And they might get a bit too intimidated
#39 Sep 22nd, 2016, 18:57
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#39
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Originally Posted by Matka View Post ... while I'm all for ignoring them, I'd think twice about using harsh language or even scowling at them. You want them to forget you, not mark you for retaliation. If you're just passing by, maybe it would be okay, but if it's a place you expect to return to, don't antagonise them.
I agree. I was going to stop participating in this thread but I was very concerned with the advice to scream louder and escalate further. It is unnecessary, compromises safety, and makes onlookers less likely to want to help.

What might look good in a Western flick with guns ablaze might not be the most appropriate response outside a small hotel in Paharganj .
#40 Sep 22nd, 2016, 20:56
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I was also going to post about the advice to shout. If you're in danger and need to attract attention immediately then yes of course shout and scream. Otherwise, in cases of street harassment, sales pitches, hassle from taxi and auto drivers, unwanted attention, my advice would be to stay silent and dismiss them with the hand-flick gesture. Don't engage and don't give them the satisfaction of getting a response from you.

Also, on the Big City behaviour thing ...
I have never lived in a big city so I'm sure I don't have "it". I do wonder how appropriate it is in small town India, but then I don't really know what it means
I just want to reassure people visiting India that you don't need to learn a whole new way of walking around. You can walk around normally but follow the advice given here repeatedly - be prepared, do your research beforehand, keep your in a money belt or under clothing, etc etc...
#41 Sep 22nd, 2016, 21:13
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#41

Angry

It goes without saying that every situation and every person is different. So to say "never" to do this or that is rubbish. I can react differently to a perceived threat on one day than another depending on the situation. That's called DISCERNMENT.

Unfortunately, some lack that in their lives even on a good day in "normal" situations. IMO, it's like proprioception -- you either have it or you don't but it can be trained up.

Sometimes just a steely eyed stare is enough to intimidate someone.
#42 Sep 22nd, 2016, 21:20
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#42
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Originally Posted by ViShVa View Post
There is an elephant in the room here that has been tip-toed around, so far. Let's put things into perspective.

The OP was scammed. She was vulnerable. I have a lot of sympathy for her predicament. But she is not blameless. She had lost her wits around herself too. AFAIK they did not physically force her passport out of her secure waist-belt, nor her credit card out of her wallet. She did the bank transaction with the PIN number. She does not claim that it was under the threat of violence. It was not robbery. She was bullied, but allowed herself to be bullied.
I disagree with you.

These people can be very intimidating, and they home in when they realise you're afraid, if you feel scared and feel they're threatening, it has the desired effect, much the same as a mugger with a knife to your throat, your wallet suddenly doesn't seem as important as getting the he'll away from such people.

I wish the original poster would come back and give more detail, it WILL HELP others to avoid a similar situation, it's fine getting your anger out in a post, but helping 1 person avoid a similar situation is a great feeling.

I've been in a similar situation a few times, mostly by choice, bored and wanting to see how these things work, but there's a few differences, I was used to India, was without luggage and I thrive on being lost and out of my comfort zone, so no mater where they take me, I wouldn't feel I couldn't just get up and walk/run.

There's a very fair argument that a person should try a couple of days in Marrakesh or Istanbul before venturing to India, if they feel it's too much, then maybe they'll be too far outside their comfort zone if they go to India, and these people look for exactly that kind of person to approach.

I also understand the 'shouting defence' argument from both sides, and feel we need to break the above story into 2 sections, first the approach, the man who pretends to come to your aid, he's the man who wants to get you to the shop to earn his commission, more often than not he'll seem like a nice friendly man, he'll approach 100 people and 99 will brush him off, if you shout at this man, he'll very quickly move on to the next person, however, he can be so nice that it's difficult to find a reason to shout.

Then there's the second part, after the nice man has delivered you to the office, and now you don't know where you are and even this man/men are being nice (to start with), these men want money out of you and know how to intimidate you, this really isn't the place to start shouting, it's the time for a very cool head, and they don't want you thinking with a cool head so won't allow silence or time to cool off.

It's extremely intimidating and scary, and we need to remember something really simple here, she only wanted a taxi to get her to her pre-booked hotel.
#43 Sep 22nd, 2016, 21:53
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The situation described by Francesca is an extreme case and it is quite right that it be investigated by the police and the cabal be stopped. I don't know what I would do if I were in a room with three threatening men demanding my passport and credit card. I still don't understand what happened next to Francesca though, how she actually booked into a room booked by them.

But I would argue that this is rare, most people hanging out by train stations just want to make a handful of rupees by taking you to a particular hotel amongst similar ones. In these cases a humorous/light refusal might be better than expecting the worse and shouting at them. Yes, I agree Sama, that would be discernment.
#44 Sep 22nd, 2016, 22:02
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Well said steven_ber.

I'm pretty sure everything the OP said is accurate, but there's a part of me that suspects maybe a little bit of the Adele Quested-Dr. Aziz from A Passage to India syndrome.

But seems like she's not returning so we'll never know.
#45 Sep 23rd, 2016, 00:54
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#45

Exclamation

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Originally Posted by ViShVa View Post She was vulnerable ...She was bullied, but allowed herself to be bullied.
In the first place, none of us know anyone's back story here. No one knows her.

Secondly, there are many reasons why people "allow" themselves to be bullied in a certain situation. As I said, it's individual. Not going to get into the psychology of it, but there ARE those who can't say no even though they know something is happening isn't right.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Matka View Post I think we tend to forget the "dangerous" part of the thread title. These people are not just con men, they are dangerous people, as my rear windshield can attest to. If they manage to get to you, the implied danger they represent can intimidate even street-smart people.
Thanks for that statement.

Too many times people's feelings are brushed off as "it's not that bad", "get over it", "don't be so sensitive" blah blah blah blah blah. Especially women's statements about things.

What feels dangerous to one person might feel like an adventure to the next person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post These people can be very intimidating, and they home in when they realise you're afraid, if you feel scared and feel they're threatening, it has the desired effect,
well said.

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