Gem Scam Variant in Mumbai with Travelers' Checks and CST Tout Scam

#1 Feb 28th, 2009, 11:59
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  • wolfdog is offline
#1
Hey,

Just wanted to post about a gem scam variant that my girlfriend and I encountered in Mumbai involving travelers' checks. An older man (mid 40s, about 5'7, balding with comb over, overweight, with glasses) approached us on the street (I Know I know) walked up from the gateway to India. After general pleasantries he told us that he was opening a shop in London to compliment his current import/export business but that to transfer funds out of India would subject the funds to a huge tax and so instead he was purchasing travelers' checks with cash which he would then cash out in the UK. As an India national he could not purchase the checks but since I was a foreigner I could do so and he would pay me a 20% commission for doing so (i.e., he gives me $1200, I buy a $1000 travelers' check and keep the $200). None of this really made too much sense and to me it seemed more like a money laundering scheme for ill gotten loot rather than a tax avoidance one, but we were fascinated and agreed to hear more. He said a SAfer couple had done it the day before and he was going to meet them. We went to a coffee shop where we met the second man in the con, a black man who claimed to be from Lesotho and not SA (about 6'3 with a goatee and dressed in pseudo retro 70s clothes). He claimed his wife was sick and couldn't join us, but confirmed that he had done it the day before and was going to do it again that day. We still weren't seeing any risk, until the older man started saying how they had been ripped off before by a Frenchmen (!) and now to be "safe" they needed to have us show them that we had some money before they would give us the money. To make a long story short, there was a trip around Fort during which they succeeded in separating my girlfriend and I, a further drive to Chowpatty where the local's uncle supposedly worked in an HDFC Bank up from the beach and who had the funds, a fake handoff of money between the black guy and the local and then the local started pressing me to give him my money so that he could show it to his uncle who had the funds, etc. In retrospect nothing really made sense from the getgo, but in the moment it was exiting to be involved...

So watch out y'all!

Oh yeah, also ran into another scam at CST when we went there Sunday after the reservation office had closed and a tout led us to one of the travel offices where they tried to sell us guaranteed reservations to Goa the next day for 1200r (price of tix actually under 1100r) plus a 500r reservation fee to move from wait list to guaranteed. As far as we could tell online there is no such method of paying extra to guarantee a wait list seat and more likely they would simply have gone to the reservation office the next morning and booked the tix normally, which is what we did.

We also met some amazingly nice and honest local people as well. Truly this is a country of extremes...
#2 Feb 28th, 2009, 14:03
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  • edwardseco is offline
#2
If it feels hinky, it is hinky. Smart thinking. But, watch out that you don't get mugged going around with them..
#3 Apr 12th, 2011, 02:30
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  • abhisajjan is offline
#3
Sad to hear you were almost scamed at mumbai. I am glad that you over came it.
Few years ago there was a scam in indian railways were agents booked reserved tickets in fake names like patil, sharma, david, mike(the most common names) and sold it at high premium.
#4 Feb 9th, 2013, 11:12
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  • edwardseco is offline
#4
.....
#5 Feb 9th, 2013, 13:23
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  • professorm is offline
#5
Wolfdog, you played very dagerous game. Lady Luck was on your side to escape this trap. It was best not to play, excitement or not.

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