Manali Jewellery/Gem Scam

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#31 Jan 31st, 2009, 17:44
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#31
Mod Note: From a legal point of view, Fazz, as far as this Forum is concerned, it would be better for you not to post videos or pics here.
Every cloud has a silver lining!
#32 Feb 3rd, 2009, 11:33
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#32
Ok. Sorry didnt know that it would be legal problems for doing that. What countrys laws is that btw? Sure aint Swedens

Sorry I just registered too share my story as I don't know any other way to help others not to fall in this trap.
#33 Feb 3rd, 2009, 19:28
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#33
Quote:
Originally Posted by fazz View Post Sorry I just registered too share my story as I don't know any other way to help others not to fall in this trap.
Most all of those with the juicy inside knowledge of the Great Indian Gem Scam are first time posters who never return to the site after disclosing their experiences.

Curious, definitely - but why not start a new tradition?
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
#34 Feb 4th, 2009, 22:06
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#34
I will update when I get home in march if you still want it then.
#35 Mar 31st, 2009, 20:51
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#35
I posted in this thread previously, the day after some chaps tried to scam me in Varkala. I was in Kanyakkamuri then, but now I'm back in Scotland and was recently showing my pictures of my time in India to someone. Having been reminded of this rather bizarre and scary experience, thought I'd recheck this thread and have another look on Google for people who have detailed their experiences with this scam (unfortunately most of them are accounts of successful scammings).

Reading back the post I can see I was still angry and a bit shaken up, and had clearly not had time to think about every aspect of the con. I totally bought that Alex had been to Edinburgh, near where I live, because when I told him I was from Scotland he said "Ah man, I've been to Edinburgh, I only remember one thing about there - Cowgate, ah man I was so drunk." The Cowgate is a fairly well-known tourist-filled location in Edinburgh, so I strongly suspect he just remembers the names of all those places in big cities and uses them to gain people's initial trust (he also used the phrase "moose loose aroond this hoose"!).

I also lied in my post, saying I had changed my travels plans, just in case they were reading it and decided to come after me! Madness, but it is a very unsettling experience to discover that you have spent a night and a day in a house with organised criminals.

Looking back I treat it as a positive experience. I got: several free meals, beer and other intoxicants, a motorbike tour of the surrounding area, a great story and a free night's stay. I also learned a lot about myself, and about how people can be conned. I'm quite proud (given the elaborate nature of the con) that I was smart enough to resist the con. At no point was I anywhere near committing myself to anything.

I can imagine that once people commit themselves to the first part, they find it extremely hard to refuse the requests for credit cards etc. Throughout the entire (well over an hour) conversation me and Alex had when he tried to convince me, I just kept thinking in my head - "If it sounds too good to be true...". As soon as the offer was made, I realised that all their friendly behaviour beforehand had been for an alterior motive, and I was on my guard straight away.

In return for all I got out of it, I (hopefully) accidentally broke their laptop, trying to help them out, as the language had been set to French but they wanted it in English (thinking about it now, it was probably nicked). I ended up changing the keyboard setup to something else accidentally, and they couldn't login as they couldn't type their password properly.

Get it right fucking up you, as we say in Scotland.

One sidenote is that, rather amusingly, I got a second encounter with this scam in Hampi, in the ruins. Four guys from Hyderabad came up and started giving me the usual Indian male spiel about "No caste system in Britain, eh? Any girl you like, right?!". They were clearly not as sophisticated as the guys in Varkala, as some of them came across as quite intimidating and they introduced themselves as "jewellery exporters" after about 5 minutes of conversation. At that point I stood up, said "Is thaaaat riiiiight? Well, I'm so sorry lads, but I've heard this one before" and walked off.

In a reply to one of these accounts on another board, someone wrote "You can't con an honest man", and I think that Alex was well aware of that, given how happy he was to let me go. When he was trying to convince me (in the "shop"), he repeatedly used the phrase "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". As they were unbolting the door to let me out of the house, after he had told me "you shouldn't tell anyone about this" , he repeated that phrase. Given the amount of money I can imagine he's making doing this scam, he can probably afford to be quite friendly to people who reject the offer, but I also (like to) think he was happy to admit defeat after a lengthy battle of wits. I questioned him endlessly about every detail of the diamonds, the exchange, the post office and he had answers for everything, but I still didn't believe him. Reading some of the stories people have written about this scam, some of the amounts of money that have been lost (not to mention the humiliation suffered), I'm very happy that I managed to extract myself from the situation I got myself into.

PS Although it turned into a self-indulgent retrospective of my experience, I actually started writing this just to ask for your photos Fazz, my e-mail address is paulsmith3045@googlemail.com . Would be funny to see pictures of Alex again.
#36 Mar 31st, 2009, 23:12
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#36
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Originally Posted by Paulpheus View Post I totally bought that Alex had been to Edinburgh, near where I live, because when I told him I was from Scotland he said "Ah man, I've been to Edinburgh, I only remember one thing about there - Cowgate, ah man I was so drunk."
Quickly associating themselves with your country &/or hometown has to be the number one opening gambit of scammers in India. It's a dead give away.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulpheus View Post Would be funny to see pictures of Alex again.
Wow! That's the last thing I'd want as a 'trip memory' .... & the inauspiciousness of that potential download.
#37 Mar 31st, 2009, 23:34
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Thanks, Paulpheus, for coming back with the afterthoughts.

Just a shot in the dark about letting you go easily; I'm guessing that they were professional, and had thought things through, and would have realised that if they did anything else, their mark might well involve the police.
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#38 Jun 4th, 2009, 00:03
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#38
Every Indian Jewelry merchant in Kathmandu is from Agra and has attempted this scam on me.
#39 Jun 4th, 2009, 00:13
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#39
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Originally Posted by Whatdoido View Post Every Indian Jewelry merchant in Kathmandu is from Agra and has attempted this scam on me.
Every one, all of them? You must fit the bill for the stereotypical gem smuggler.
#40 Jun 5th, 2009, 01:51
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#40
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Originally Posted by PeakXV View Post Every one, all of them? You must fit the bill for the stereotypical gem smuggler.
I Visit all the Jewelry shops its my business and passion.

There is one Indian shop in Thamel I did not speak so much to the owner he did not say where he was from and I did not make conversation with him as I spoke mostly with his first class commissions guy. The owner had bad English compared to the other shops and bargains faster than typical shop owners from Agra so I think he may not be from Agra.
#41 Jun 19th, 2009, 02:35
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Most Indian ARE very hospitable people: That is a fact and I can attest to it. Too bad that there are some rotten apples.
BUT, here's a question: When we as travellers expect Indians to show their hospitality and invite us to their homes, aren't we essentially all set to take advantage of them. All I see in that experience is MY benefit: free stay, free food, complete indulgence and immersion in the Indian culture, etc. Do I question even once what I might be prepared to do for these humble, hospitable folks in return of their niceness? What: Maybe give them a few euros...as a "tip"? Give them my half used bottle of "cologne"?
Why, then, does it come as a surprise, when someone uses our greed against us?
Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather not take a favor that I'm not prepared to return! (Now, come on, if I saw an Indian traveller on my street, who I have never met before, would I be inviting him for a free board at my place?)
#42 Jun 19th, 2009, 12:23
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#42
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Originally Posted by rubberband21 View Post Most Indian ARE very hospitable people: That is a fact and I can attest to it. Too bad that there are some rotten apples.
BUT, here's a question: When we as travellers expect Indians to show their hospitality and invite us to their homes, aren't we essentially all set to take advantage of them. All I see in that experience is MY benefit: free stay, free food, complete indulgence and immersion in the Indian culture, etc. Do I question even once what I might be prepared to do for these humble, hospitable folks in return of their niceness? What: Maybe give them a few euros...as a "tip"? Give them my half used bottle of "cologne"?
Why, then, does it come as a surprise, when someone uses our greed against us?
Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather not take a favor that I'm not prepared to return! (Now, come on, if I saw an Indian traveller on my street, who I have never met before, would I be inviting him for a free board at my place?)
The reputation for westerners is that they are rich fools that give too much money.
#43 Jun 24th, 2009, 12:48
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#43
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The reputation for westerners is that they are rich fools that give too much money.


Right on and puts the remarks in perspective!

Don't know about you but when I was traveling in India I never expected any invitations for homestays / free food etc from anyone. If you need a room, go to a hotel, I also heard they sell food in restaurants and dhaba's.

That's not to say that I was never invited by people, this happens. But I only accept if I know them somewhat. If you're invited for a meal, bring a small attention, same as you would do in your own country. If they expect money or give you sob stories they're just trying to milk you, get up and leave, that has nothing to do with hospitality.
#44 Aug 23rd, 2009, 03:24
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#44
Just stay away from it and don't get involved, and certainly don't get suckered into it, would be the common and sensible advice.

There's nothing to stop you from hanging out with such folks if you feel like of course. The thing is and as you yourself already indicate, they'll rarely leave it at that, no matter what "friendships" you may otherwise develop in the meantime.

Believe me, I have been there myself, and many here will have been (well, I didn't finally get suckered into it, but it sounded oh-so convincing and enticing, and heck, why not, and etc. So I've certainly gotten close to. And many of these guys are very good at making you feel almost morally obliged to play along in the end, even if extracting yourself from that situation and looking at it rationally, any fool should be able to see that it would make absolutely no sense to. That is after all precisely their business, and the game they play. Look at it this way, there's very little cost nor harm in trying, and if among dozens or hundreds of tourists you find the occasional gullible character who fits the bill, that's probably enough to make it profitable.)

As that old Monty Python (The Holy Grail) sketch had it: Run away, run away, run away...!!!

Other than that, for my personal opinions on it kindly refer to my very early posts on this very same thread, where I've said pretty much the same.
#45 Sep 1st, 2009, 00:11
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#45
I am pretty sure they have a kind of DJ area in their apartment? Maybe even a big mermaid on the wall (they might have removed the painting in the meantime)
They live on the first floor? In front of the windows there are black bars and "Ali" written on it?
Tourists come round every night to party and they offer drugs to the tourists for free?
They pay you everything and say "that's indian hospitality"?
One of the guys in fact has really big eyebrows? He speaks quite a few languages (italian, german).
The guy always making jokes is a rather small guy but quite charming?
Another guy might be really thin and reminds somewhat of a snake? He says he owns some clubs?
Have they ever mentioned an apartment in Palolem?
Is there a british women or any other tourist with them, telling you they do this export for years and you can trust them?

If you have answered two of the questions with yes: Stay away from them!!! I know them, I fell into their scam and know what suffer it can cause.
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