Rishikesh Jewellery Scam, November 2010

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#1 Nov 16th, 2010, 21:09
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  • whereisthedancefloor is offline
#1
Greetings all,

Just wanted to let you know that the jewellery scams available in other cities are now also available in Rishikesh. I was fortunate to consult a friend (and indiamike) before further involving myself. Basically (similarly to what others have reported) someone approached me asking where I was from and if I could explain "Why are Westerners so selfish"? They then invited me to attend a wedding (as I had never been to one in India before) which I accepted. The wedding was interesting and I spent the following day with them (the two guys who originally approached me and 'the boss'). The boss then started telling me about his family business of exporting jewellery. The problem is that as a business, he has to pay '250% tax of the value' whereas if someone like me mails it to myself (and subsequently flies home) in my home country then the goods are tax-exempt. If I agree to 'do business' then I get a 80% ($8000) cut and he saves the 170%.

After being propositioned I found out about the eery similarities between my story and others. I met with them this morning, and told them I wasn't ready to leave India and that if they would give me their contact info I would contact them when I was ready to leave. They politely told me that they have 'other people' coming and that 'my opportunity' was only available now. A stuck with my story and we parted ways.

Anyways, I wanted to thank others who have shared their stories and I wanted to share mine so that others may also not get duped.

As for me, my head and heart have become hardened after this experience but I will give myself some time to decompress before making any decisions (ie leaving India).

Thanks for reading and safe travels!
#2 Nov 16th, 2010, 22:19
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  • Nick-H is offline
#2
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I met with them this morning, and told them I wasn't ready to leave India and that if they would give me their contact info I would contact them when I was ready to leave.
Neat exit line. Nicely done

I'd have been tempted to be very rude, and then worry as to whether I'd put myself in danger
#3 Nov 17th, 2010, 01:29
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  • kmalik is online now
#3
Really glad you got away.

In future, beware of strangers bearing gifts. Would you accept wedding invitation to strangers wedding and hang out with them for a day or two in your home country? I fail to see why people would do that in a foreign country?
#4 Nov 17th, 2010, 12:43
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  • Nick-H is offline
#4
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Would you accept wedding invitation to strangers wedding and hang out with them for a day or two in your home country?
Certainly I might accept the wedding invitation, and I am sure that many travellers have experienced such hospitality here. An extra guest or ten makes little difference to all but the smallest of Indian weddings, and the invitation may well be perfectly genuine and harmless.

After that... where to draw the line? Harmless, generous hospitality does still exist in India
#5 Nov 17th, 2010, 13:11
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#5

Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post After that... where to draw the line? Harmless, generous hospitality does still exist in India
This is the real question ….. where to draw the line? I guess no one can suggest any traveler to avoid / accept any marriage invitation but it would be really helpful if you share the 2nd part of the story (like whereisthedancefloor did) so that other travelers can ‘decide’ the border line
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#6 Nov 17th, 2010, 14:17
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#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Certainly I might accept the wedding invitation, and I am sure that many travellers have experienced such hospitality here. An extra guest or ten makes little difference to all but the smallest of Indian weddings, and the invitation may well be perfectly genuine and harmless.

After that... where to draw the line? Harmless, generous hospitality does still exist in India
A wedding invitation from a near stranger isn't so strange in India I think - I'd have accepted too. (And have been to a few weddings where I barely knew anyone)

Hard to know when to draw the line between innocent hospitality and scamming. I think time to make your exit whenever money is brought into the conversation. Nice to hear this story didn't end badly.
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#7 Nov 17th, 2010, 23:13
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  • Nick-H is offline
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I think time to make your exit whenever money is brought into the conversation.
Yes, I think that is the crux.

Of course, it isn't always a jewel scam: it might be aunty's operation or sister's education. And it might not be a scam, so it is decision time, if not exit time. When it comes to such contributions, getting an idea of the local economy before paying is both advised and difficult!

Here's a tale. Mrs N is actively involved in bring together sponsors and schoolchildren (this is not advertising: she has enough of both ) so she is pretty aware when it comes to this area. We met a woman, with child, in the street, one day, who asked for help with school fees. She showed a school bill, which looked genuine, albeit a bit old. All this, by the way, was in Tamil: it had nothing to do with me being a foreigner who might be thought to be a visitor. Mrs N said that she would not give cash, except direct to the school (a pretty good anti-scam measure: pay the shool, not the person), so she took details, phone number, name to contact.

The next day, she called the school, mentioned the child's name, and was told, "This child's fees are paid: they could have been paid many times over." It seems the mother just had a compulsion to wander the streets and ask for help. If it was just for the few that would give cash, then why did she not scarper when we, apparently like several others, said we would only pay the school?
#8 Nov 18th, 2010, 10:58
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  • DaisyL is offline
#8
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post she would not give cash, except direct to the school (a pretty good anti-scam measure: pay the shool, not the person)
This is very good advice. Sometimes people do want to help, and giving to the school (or agency or charity) and not the person makes sense.
#9 Nov 18th, 2010, 12:51
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#9
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A wedding invitation from a near stranger isn't so strange in India I think - I'd have accepted too. (And have been to a few weddings where I barely knew anyone)
Off track-
Not just an invite but even gatecrashing is'nt that strange
I recollect me and a couple of freinds were drivign in some remote areas of konkan and came across a wedding process in a very small village.

We got out and joined the procession went to the groom who was riding the pony and gave some poses for photographs.
Took some pictures of ourselves with the groom and congradulated them and left.

NO- We were not drunk but we might have the excitement of driving on our own for the first time without our folks.
#10 Nov 24th, 2010, 05:25
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  • Ouzodave is offline
#10
There also seems to be a pattern of people only posting once or a few times about these gem scams etc and never to be seen again
#11 May 10th, 2011, 02:06
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#11

Exclamation Once you've reported a scam, it is somebody else's turn to do it again!

I confirm this scam. Many people have enough clarity of mind to avoid the trap. But when you are far away from home, in search of yourself, you are an easy prey to scam artist [<snip>] and his co-workers. They use alcool, hashish and food to fool people into believing they are living a "best friend ever" experience, when the aim is to unload them of a few thousands dollars, yens... Whatever the currency. So put yourself together, be strong and be realistic : the true Indian experience is not about smoking joints and eating food so hot it sets your mouth on fire and puts a haze on your mind. I was invited several times at people's homes and they always made an effort to cook milder food for me. Beware. These people have a lot of practice. Don't get fooled by the "why-are-westerners-so-selfish" experience. And remember nothing is free.
Last edited by Kingstonian; May 29th, 2011 at 02:32..
#12 May 10th, 2011, 02:19
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  • omrishikesh is offline
#12
Should people spend their life warning others about the danger that scam artists represent in India, particularly in Rishikesh ? I intend to do it once, not twice ;-) So beware [<snip snip>] and his "co-workers". There's more to India than drinking alcool, smoking joints and eating food in a dodgy appartment. In the worst case, you will find yourself delested of a few thousand whatever-the-currency-as-long-as-you-give-us-your-credit-card-print.
Last edited by Kingstonian; May 29th, 2011 at 02:33..
#13 May 10th, 2011, 12:03
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  • candycanegirl is offline
#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by omrishikesh View Post I intend to do it once, not twice
So why have you posted this twice then?

Quote:
There's more to India than drinking alcool, smoking joints and eating food in a dodgy appartment. In the worst case, you will find yourself delested of a few thousand whatever-the-currency-as-long-as-you-give-us-your-credit-card-print.
That's a pretty extreme jump. The point is sticking to your own line between getting to know new people and discussing your credit card in the first place. If a credit card print even comes up, it's time to leave and find another taxi - yes, it is good advice not to drink/smoke too much that you don't have your wits about you.

Nobody is going to hold you at gunpoint to take your money or credit card. There's no point in being afraid of eating with people or accepting hospitality, because most of the time it is genuine.. or you are free to say "I'm not interested" when the subject of money comes up. Don't travel in fear of Indians.
#14 May 10th, 2011, 17:40
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  • Nick-H is offline
#14
I wonder if this post will be delested?

Quote:
There's more to India than drinking alcool, smoking joints and eating food in a dodgy appartment
I guess there must be. In a decade or more, I never did any of those things! Well, ok, I might have had some alcool, as I guess it is only about six or seven years since I gave it up.

I've read a few, and written many more: one thing I'll never give up is the quest for great typos!
#15 May 10th, 2011, 21:33
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  • omrishikesh is offline
#15
Like I like to smoke and drink...
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