Top 6 Tourist Scams In India That You Should Know About
Here's the top 6 tourist scams in India that you should know about.
1. The Fake 'Tourist Office' Scam
A prevalent scam, especially in the northern part of India, involves being led to a counterfeit 'official tourism office.' Perpetrators pose as government officials and claim that your plans and reservations are fake, offering to make new bookings. To avoid falling for this, contact your operator immediately, and be cautious of the actual Tourism Information Offices' locations.
2. The Hotel Switch Scam
Unscrupulous individuals may suggest an alternative hotel while en route to your chosen destination, claiming it's better and cheaper. They might even assert that your selected hotel has closed down. Politely inform the driver that you've paid an advance and ask the hotel for a nearby landmark. Calling the hotel for confirmation and arranging pickups through them can help evade this scam.
3. Inflated Taxi/Auto Fare Scam
Some drivers may quote arbitrary fares instead of using the meter. They claim it's difficult to find customers for the return journey. Opt for aggregator services, prepaid counters, or contact your travel operator for reliable transportation options.
4. 'Honest' Billing Mistake Scam
Sophisticated scams can occur in hotels and bars. Additional items might appear on your bill, and while the person acknowledges the mistake, they may leave service charges and taxes calculated based on the inflated amount. Request a new bill to avoid lengthy discussions.
5. The Old Switcheroo Scam
During currency exchange or payments, scammers might swap genuine currency notes with counterfeit ones or claim you haven't paid enough. Count your notes while paying, and declare if you've withdrawn them from an ATM to protect yourself from currency scams.
6. The Road Fee Scam
While not dangerous but monetarily inconvenient, officials—real or fake—may demand arbitrary fees or taxes from unsuspecting tourists. Always ask for proper identification and a clear explanation of the demand.
While these scams can be unnerving, remember that India welcomes tourists, and most people are genuine. Armed with knowledge about these common tourist scams, you can explore the country with confidence. Whether you're planning a trip to India or dreaming of visiting someday, stay informed and prepared.