Tourism touts commit fraud in Agra

on Jun 20, 2013 , 04:39 pm
Most of you who have been to see the Taj in Agra are probably not aware of how some scamsters work. Mostly foreign tourists and a few Indian ones are cheated out of their money by smooth criminals.
These con artists are quite adept at doing their work. While on a trip to Agra with a friend a few years back, one of these touts who prowl outside the Taj looking for easy victims approached us. Saying he would get a good discount on marble inlay items from one of the nearby shops, he lured us into his trap.

Once inside the shop we proceeded to shop for souvenirs and then we offered to pay by credit card. The shopkeeper said he had no card machine to swipe the card and had to do it from the neighbouring shop. Once we handed him the credit card, he made multiple payments. By the time we realised more money had been deducted from the account it was already too late. I regret not having instant notifications from the bank linked to my phone. There was no way i could have realised the multiple transactions.

We returned from Agra with lighter wallets but hopefully a lot wiser about how tourist scams work.
Comments (9)
Pradeep B on Jun 25, 2013 , 06:07 am
The big scam is the dual pricing for entry to Taj Mahal. One for Indians and the other for visitors. Why?
Yogesh Sharma on Jun 26, 2013 , 08:52 am
You must not call it a scam, many third world nations have dual pricing, one for natives and other for aliens. 17 US D for a Monument like Taj is fairly nominal by foreign standards.
S on Jun 24, 2013 , 11:50 am
I agree with Yogesh's comments. People like the one who cheated you are not specific to Agra, but present in several other places as well, waiting to pounce on gullible people. Also, you are wrong about the instant notification, which is usually provided by SMS nowadays and was probably started because of money being fleeced from the accounts of Axis Bank customers who had used an ATM in the Lokhandwala suburb of Mumbai. In the crime in question, miscreants had put some data skimming device in the ATM and managed to get hold of the debit card and PIN numbers of customers and withdraw money from their accounts. However, the subsequent reaction of the RBI, permitting banks to send SMS to their cutomers is a bigger nuisance, because of the potential of this practice of increasing manifold the risk it is supposed to mitigate. One of the reasons for this is because, banks like Axis "outsource" the setting up of the SMS server, thereby giving access to their customer's details to third parties who are not employees. In fact, a recent episode of the serial "Crime Patrol" on Sony TV, showed how such an SMS was misused by people who had kidnapped a woman. Because of these reasons, I tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to get a banking ombudsman to stop this "pioneering foolishness". So, I request you to stop "bragging" about your incident on the Times of India and follow Soham's suggestions instead.
Soham Rastogi on Jun 24, 2013 , 09:07 am
1. Enter a dispute for the payments that are not to be done on your CC. All merchants have an a/c with bank are paid on monthly basis. if you put in dispute, along with required documents, you shall get your money back. the said amount shall be deducted from the merchants who fleeced you. If you have signed only one receipt for the things you bought, and not the rest, then the merchant shall be in bigger soup and you can even file an FIR for fraud against them. rather your bank will. they have proper mechanisms for this. 2. NEVER purchase anything from near & around TAJ. they charge upto 8 to 10 times the normal price. If you hae time and want good soveniers, visit Gokul Nath Market on MG road. you will get the coaster with inlay work for 500 to 900 Rs. The same shall cost you b/w 4000 to 5000 near TAJ!!!( gokul nath market is about 8-9 kms from Taj)
Guy on Jun 21, 2013 , 08:24 pm
Yogesh, if you are so concerned about Agra's image, help this victim, provide info about helplines in Agra where the victim can complain, try to help get the thief caught. And if you can't do that, sit quietly at home. Don't come online just to do dialogue baazi. It is common for shopkeepers to share a card processing machine. This is very common in Mumbai. So if a customer visits one shopkeeper, they go to the next shop and swipe the card. Very common. The fact is that in Agra (and in all of North India) there are many more thugs than in the rest of India.
Yogesh Sharma on Jun 26, 2013 , 08:48 am
Hi, Unknown Guy, well I agree to point that North has more crooks ( up to an extent only), victim must have reported this to local police, at any time there are more than 100 policemen near Tajmahal and there is police post as well, victim could have reported it to Police commissioner via post, he chose simpler way (apparently).
Yogesh Sharma on Jun 21, 2013 , 04:44 pm
You handed over your credit card to an unknown and calling the guy a scamster , Sir please don't mind but fools are born to be scammed and you will be scammed even in heaven. for god's sake don't give agra a bad name and that too because you were a stupid.
Arunveer Singh on Jun 24, 2013 , 12:33 am
Mr Yogesh, The person who is being scammed is not spoiling the image of Agra. The people who have scammed him are spoiling the image of Agra. What few of the people are doing in Agra in the name Khadi udyog, selling bamboo saree and other crap in the name of only source of income, blah blah.. those are the person who are spoiling the image of Agra. people like you are having the cheap mentality that there should not be anything like. I guess u will go to hell not the above victim. Baat karte ho hell ki jara aone aap ko dekho. Even now if u haven't got the point than its not ur fault cause - "Vinash kale viprit buddhi"
Yogesh Sharma on Jun 26, 2013 , 08:40 am
Arunveer Ji, Thanks for nice words at the bottom. I understand you also travel a lot even if not , no problems. I travel a lot and I haven't found a single place where you hand over your card to unknown, not even in USA, as far as fake stuff is concerned, that is an inevitable part of tourism and it happens throughout third world nations and even in some European countries and a lot in eastern Europe, this is why we have a saying among traveler "be a traveler and not a tourist". I hope you got my point.
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