Men selling different materials in Jaipur market, India


Have you ever been scammed? 

I would say that being scammed is not the best feeling in this world… But if you want this experience – please go to India! Haha

Indian streets in Delgi Chandni Chowk Market

I think most people are afraid to go to India because they heard many many stories of how tourists are being scammed, robbed or done wrong in all of the ways there are.

I won’t lie to you – it is kinda true what they say… Scams are a really common thing in India.

I had a chance to experience it and many other travellers that I met on my way experienced it too, but as long as you know a few of them ahead of time – you might end up not being involved in any after all (or at least just a little bit)!

Here are a few very common scams in India:

1. The change of a price of your ride

How does it work? One of the most popular scams in India, and I think one of the hardest to avoid, is the change of the price of your ride with a taxi or tuk-tuk.

Before getting in a car you agree to one price and when you arrive at the destination the driver asks for a 3 times bigger amount. It’s pretty nasty, isn’t it?

Indians are lovely human beings, but some of them think that they can do whatever they want, trick and lie because tourist wallets are endless gold mines…

This situation can become even worse when the driver pretends or actually doesn’t speak English, and in the middle of the argument his friends start coming, surrounds the vehicle leaving you no chance to find justice.

How to survive this scam? The best way is to agree on the price one, two, five or fifteen times before getting into the vehicle. ALWAYS. 

And then there are a few other options – pay the amount he is asking; try to bargain for the amount he would be happy to get; or give him what you agreed in the beginning and walk away (this one should be taken with precaution).

2. ‘Your hotel is closed’ scam

How does it work? I think that’s the funniest, most ‘popular’ and scariest at times scam that there is. On your way to accommodation from the airport or train station, tuk-tuk or taxi driver might tell you that your hotel is closed due to the hurricane, flood, protest, heavy rain, too much sun, burnt down or whatever other reason they can come up with. They might even ‘call your hotel’ to confirm that.

As a person in a new country naturally you might get confused and search for alternatives, which leads taking you to a ‘trusted travel agency’ to get his commission for what you bought.

I ended up in this situation once I arrived in India for the first time. Being without mobile data led me to a scary story that I tell everyone to this day

How to survive this scam? Simple – do not believe in any of this BS. Even if you are concerned.

If you booked through or any other online source, there is no way your hotel is closed. Demand to give you a ride near your hotel anyway, tell that your friends are waiting for you there and you will sort your accommodation problems with them. Do not go to any travel agency with him at any cost.

3. Travel agency/tourist office scam

How does it work? Have you heard stories about booking tours and going nowhere? That’s the scam you will get here. Fake travel agencies are still a thing in India, mostly located in big cities, and they might even have the word ‘government’ on the logo. Usually, it’s nothing more than a dirty room in a basement, with one table and a few posters on the wall with bad intentions and weird people.

How to get away?  Try to avoid travel agencies and book as much as you can online or with your hotel/hostel as their services will be waaaay much better and more trustworthy.

If it happens, that you end up in a travel agency, first – check about it online (google is so helpful in this), second – if they offer you to book a tour with a private driver and all-inclusive accommodations – it’s a scam, third – ask as many questions as you can, if an agent gives up and tells you ‘you should sleep on that’ – it’s a scam!

It’s fun, right?

4. Ticket scam

How does it work? Found a charming small place where they sell train or bus tickets to another city? Or maybe a wonderful tour with a private driver? Next day no bus or car is coming to pick you up and you just stand there with all your stuff not knowing what to do? Here is your scam! Fake tickets for everyone!

How to get away? Buy tickets online or ask your hostel/hotel for the tickets or where you could buy them to avoid wasting money, time and stress for (literally) nothing.

5. Train station scams

How does it work? Train stations are the most targeted place by scammers, at least what I noticed during my travels. You might get into a lot of adventures here: the reservation window is closed, free luggage transfer, paying for using metal detectors, your ticket is not valid, you have to pay for your luggage and so on. Some people just like taking advantage of tourists. We are easy targets for them.

How to survive? I would say, don’t trust one source of information or the first person that comes.

More specific things would be – reservation windows are usually open, so if you were told that it’s not, it would be good to double check that window before following the other person (they might lead you to some local travel agency).

The only things you need to pay extra for are toilets and snacks. It doesn’t cost to go through metal detectors and sit on any bench that’s in the public train station.

And finally, keep your luggage near you at all times. If you really need help with it – agree with the price before the service. 

6. Bold taxi scams

How does it work? So, you told the taxi driver where you need to go, you agreed on the price and you were on your way to the hotel when suddenly he stops on the side of the road telling that he doesn’t know where you are or he actually doesn’t know your destination is. Then you drive and drive and drive, and you reach the hotel and he’s aggressively saying that you have to pay for all the extra mile he was so kind to take you…

How to stay alive? I would say that tracking is one of the best ways to avoid being scammed like this. Google maps and taxi apps like Grab, Bolt or Uber are gifts from God for solo travellers, but it becomes more challenging when you don’t have mobile data. If that happens, I would suggest staying confident, paying him a bit less than he asks saying that you have only this amount of money that’s why you agreed on another price before and getting out of the car. I would try to avoid any conflict with their tactics.

7. ‘Don’t buy at this shop, let me show you a better one

How does it work? You will often hear tour guides, hotel staff or any other local saying that the shops on the main street (or wherever you end up) are rubbish, with very poor quality clothes, cheap materials, colours will wash off very quickly or that you will be very itchy after wearing it and so on and so on. The main reason why they saying this is because they want to guide you to the shop where they would get a slice of your purchase as well. Commissions are a fair reason to lie to a stranger.

How to get away? I would recommend keeping in mind that they might be saying the truth, because you know, like everywhere else in the world there are cheap markets, where quality of products are not the best. But also, don’t take it very seriously, everything is fine with all the shops around, just use your common sense before buying (I think you will feel when it’s a low quality product).

8. Wrong change scam

How does it work? This can be a mistake or a real scam everywhere in the world when shopping in a shop, food cart, bank, or train station accidentally leave you with a bit less change than it should be. And you realised that only when you walked back to your hotel…

How to stay alive? ALWAYS check the change in front of the cashier and everywhere you need to pay, simple advice but sometimes hard to keep up.

9. Beggar scam

How does it work? Even though according to the World Poverty Clock today extreme poverty is under 3% of the population and the living conditions for the poor are getting better and better every day (at least on paper), you will meet lots of beggars on your trip…

Little boys and girls, skinny old men, and mothers with babies will come asking you for money.

I’m not gonna lie – it is very hard to stay strong in this situation, it is a real mental and physical challenge to walk away from someone who needs your help. But giving what they’re asking just gives them more reasons to continue doing that.

I met many people that were asking for money and it never felt easier to turn to the other side.

How to survive this?  I would recommend carrying a chocolate bar or fruit or biscuits everywhere you go and when the time comes, give it to them. They won’t like it, once I was laughed in the face, but giving this instead of money, especially for kids, is a way of pushing them off this type of activity.

If you feel extremely bad, you can always donate to organisations that are interested and really takes care of the poor in that region.

10. SIM card scam

How does it work? Getting a SIM card in India might be a big adventure on its own! We all know that the most important thing when arriving in a new country is to get connected and to do it as quickly as possible.

The prices might vary from one place to another and the legitimacy of Sim Cards is also questionable in some places.

Some vendors sell used SIM cards with pretty close expiration dates meaning that you will be disconnected at any time soon and you paid extra cash for nothing.

How to survive? There are plenty of official shops in the cities, where buying process is a bit longer but you will get what you actually pay for, and will be connected to the world.

11. ‘I am a certified guide’ scam

How does it work? I believe that many tourist attractions bring together a lot of creative people with not very good intentions. At an entrance to any popular place, you will be met by a bunch of guys yelling ‘guide, guide’ to your face. And they will try to assure you that they are ‘certified’ guides and you really need them inside. Prices are usually high as the sky and real talent is a mystery of humankind.

How to survive this? Stick with the leaflets, books or audio guides if you want to get the real information. Or book a trusted guide online – check Klook and GetYourGuide pages.

12. Water Scam

How does it work? Some shops are selling ‘bottled’ water that is filled up with tap water. Thing is that tap water is a no-no for foreigners and a bit too much can lead us to spend our holiday in a toilet. Probably it brings more net profit for them, than selling a legit thing and they don’t care about others at all.

How to survive this? Be cautious and check the water and other drink bottle caps before buying, it is pretty clear if it was opened before or not. 

So here are the most common scams in India. I can’t promise that you won’t be scammed, you will, but at least knowing a few of them, and literally preparing for the worst, will help you to get away with less worries and better travels. Always be aware of what is happening, stay calm and remember – IF IT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT’S A SCAM!

I hope I didn’t scare you with this blog post, because India is an amazing country with a few flaws. You can read my 10 reasons why you should visit India post.

I also wrote quite a few posts about travelling in India which you can find here on my blog. Like How to spend two weeks in Rajasthan, what you need to know before Arriving in India and Train travels and others.

If you have any questions about India, about travel, about life, spirituality or what kind of sauce to use with your porridge – contact me! I am here to help and I always will be! You can reach me on Instagram @findthelightt or Facebook or Pinterest too!

Send You loads of Love!
Stay adventurous and see you on the road! x



  1. Abhishek Avatar

    Barring these scammers,Most of the Indian people are good and helpful.They also understand English.If you get into any problem,try to call as many people you can,especially the ones with their families as they are genuine people most of the times.They will certainly help you.Before taking any guide,booking hotels,always consult a few local people.They will be happy to help you.Even the locals also sometimes get scammed.One more scam is very common at railway/bus stations.Some family with kids will come to you and say they have been robbed or lost their money and need to go home.They will ask you money for food and travel.Just tell them you know a friend in nearby police station who can help them in sending them back to their home.Pretend to call him.Those people will run away in no time if they are scammers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. findthelightt Avatar

      Oh wow! Thank you so much for sharing this! I didn’t know this scam, so it’s very good to know! 🙏😊 Just so you know, I do agree that Indian people are kind and generous, and they will help you no matter what. That’s one of the reason why I love India!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ravi Patel Avatar
    Ravi Patel

    I can agree with you on these problems. I have recently travelled to India and I found a key solution to be technology. Using apps such as makemytrip, uber, Ola, Google maps can reduce the problem burden significantly.
    These are similar problems experienced by most back packers in India, China, South East Asia and Africa. It is important to do your research before you set off back packing and equip yourself with the tools and knowledge required.
    Getting a simcard from the Airport is a must. I know that from the UK we now have available a SIM card that can be used in India as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. findthelightt Avatar

      Yeah, there are some things to consider before going on a trip in Asian countries. I actually do think that wherever you go, you need to do a research. 😊 Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I really appreciate it!


  3. da-AL Avatar

    whew! good to know!


    1. findthelightt Avatar

      Absolutely! The more you know, the easier is to recognise and avoid it! 😊🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Laisvis Beconis Avatar
    Laisvis Beconis

    Had ‘luck’ to experience ‘train station is closed’ and your ‘hotel is closed because of protest’ ones. I have to admit that even knowing that you’ll be challenged with multiple scam attempts as soon as you go out of airport, didn’t saved from actually being scammed.. what a journey and lessons tho. After all this time in India revealed me the meaning of being present and in full focus :))


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Hi, I’m Dovile! I quit my job as a waitress, packed my bags, and went on one year adventure around the globe. I am a lifestyle blogger with a passion for active travel, food, and psychology.

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