The Most Common Travel Scams In India

Camel Rider in India

A Look at Some Very Popular Tourist Scams in India

Below, is a list of 3 very popular scams that take place throughout India, particularly in the large cities, that visitors should be aware of in case they should happen to become a target while traveling in the Country

Scams in India #1 – Beware of Begging Scams

One of the most common Scams in India and biggest racket involving visitors to the Country, is the Begging Scam. This involves entire families in working in conjunction with organized crime in the country.

Poverty in India is real and unfortunately, there are people and organizations taking advantage of this and making huge amounts of money off of this. So big in fact, that it was last reported that over forty five million dollars annually is collected throughout the country! Begging scams vary widely and visitors must take care not to be pressured or allow their feelings to be the victims of these scams.

Here a few common examples of typical Begging scams:

Children approaching you with fake bandages wrapped on various parts of their bodies to make you feel sorry for them.Mother and infant approaching you for money to feed her starving child. They will walk you to a market to purchase expensive milk. Later the mother and shopkeeper will split the proceeds.

india beggar scam

Scams in India #2 – Medical Scams

One other widely huge scam in India is the Medical Racket scam. At last count, there are believed to be over 45,000 fake doctors in India. This is close to actual amount of real practicing physicians in the country and these fake doctors are taking part in a huge scam, particularly feeding off of visitors to India.

As well, these fake doctors are also associated with the criminal underworld in the country. You will come across countless small medical clinics most everywhere, particularly in the larger cities. Most of these fraudulent doctors will charge an average of $32 a visit. This is twice what the average worker employed in the city would make in a week!

They will also prescribe medicine for you that is not real and in many cases just a mixture of Ayurvedic type medicine used in the country.

Safety of Ayurvedic Medicine

“Ayurvedic medicine uses a variety of products and practices. These products can be a combination of herbs or mixture of herbs, metals, minerals, or other materials in an Ayurvedic practice called rasa shastra. Some of these products may be harmful if used improperly or without the direction of a trained practitioner.”

A prime example of this mixture is used on visitors and typically what a tourist to India will need to attend a clinic for is for Travelers Diarrhea. In Mexico this is commonly referred to as “Montezuma’s Revenge” and in India it is known as “Delhi Belly.” A fake doctor will charge you for the visit, pretend to give you an examination and then make you purchase a concoction of Ayurvedic medicine, which could make you even worse!

Check out this short video on officials in India making arrests at the clinics of these fake doctors.

So, the best way to avoid seeing one of these scam professionals is to check with your hotel staff or similar reputable individual and ask where the best nearby clinic is with a “Certified Doctor” present.

clipart certificate

Scams in India #3 – Medical Certificate Scam

Unfortunately, many people are dishonest and will try anything to make a buck. In India along with these fake doctors will issue fake medical certificates for individuals who are trying to scam their insurance companies. For around 3300 rupees or approximately $55 us dollars, you can get one of these scam doctors to issue you an authentic looking medical certificate, allowing you to make a false claim on your insurance.

For example, many use these to extend their stay, having them confirm that you are unfit to travel. The insurance company will then pay for meals, lodging and flights home, depending on the type of policy held. Many insurance companies will have policies involving cash payments as well.

These types of medical certificates can be for many different types of fraudulent means, depending on how much you are will to pay!

Scams in India

A Few Tips for Travelers to Avoid Scams in India

If you simply must give in and want to offer some money, then experts recommend a maximum of 10 to 20 rupees only. Try to give to the elderly or crippled on the street. Do not give money to ladies with infants and only to younger people who perform for you on the street. Those scammers after your money are very persistent and in many cases will not leave you alone until you hand over some cash. So if you must, then do so as you are leaving the area, or you could find yourself swarmed by other beggars and scammers!

These types of scam artists can be found all over the world, particularly in poorer countries when poverty exists. If traveling to these parts of the world, always be aware of this practice and try not to let your emotions get the better of you. I always prefer to donate to well respected world re-known charitable organizations such as Kiva, one of my favorites.

Update 2017:

Having just returned from 7 weeks travel throughout India, I really never experienced anything out of the ordinary from other parts of the world traveled to.  Certainly, there are your touts and taxi drivers who will take advantage of you like anywhere, as well as a few shop keepers trying to get as much as they can from you.  Be sure to read one of my recent articles of our journey on India Travel Tips.

Safe travels!

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