List of Scams in India

Most of the scams in India are innocent – they will not endanger you but only make you pay something more than it’s worth.

Here are a few I faced, please let me know if you know of others as well:

  • barber scam- guy approaches you and offers to shave you- you arrange the price in advance as well. After he shaves you he gives you a neck massage, and head massage, even back massage- at the end he asks for a much bigger amount because he massaged you which was not included in first price
  • Currency scam- someone might offer you a boat ride, tour guide or some other service- after you agree on the price which is, let’s say 100, and when the service is provided, that someone will say he meant Dollars or Euros, not Rupees
  • Your hotel is closed scam- when entering one city by train or plain or bus, person (sometimes even carrying government badge) will approach to ask where you’re staying- and what a coincidence,  your hotel/ guesthouse is closed. But don’t worry, the same person can provide excellent, and low-cost alternative. More about this scam
  • Free-gift scam- someone approaches you and offer to do the Henna (natural tattoo) for free because they like you or you’re their first customer today. They might offer any other service as well. After drawing few lines with Hanna they say that next few lines will cost you only 100 Rupees. And you realise that there is no such thing as a free lunch in India.
  • Added tax scam- you want to exchange the money and agree on the rate but suddenly you’re getting less money that you agreed upon- the reason- some imaginary tax that you need to pay. It can happen with taxi driver as well, taxi-meter says 500 but the price is 600 because of the same tax

Word of warning- sometimes extra taxis will be applied but that should be clear to you before you purchase the product or service.

Where to exchange money when traveling India?

Airports offer the worst exchange rate so if you arrive by plane and need some Indian Rupees for taxi you should exchange small amount of money (50 EUR or USD is minimum), and later exchange the rest.

Most of the hotels will provide reasonable exchange rates for buying Indian Rupees. If you really want to get the best deal you should visit street exchange offices and ask on few places. The rate might vary. Most of them will not display the rate publicly and sometimes you can even bargain.

Exchanging money in banks will not provide the rate as good as on the street but it’s safe.

Avoid suspicious guys on streets that offer money exchange as they might cheat you. Money forgery is also not rear, especially with 500 Rupee notes.

It’s good to have smaller bank notes with you all the time (20 and 50 Rupee) because taxi and ricksha drivers might not have a cache with them and might not be able to return the rest of 500 Rupees.