Hotel burned down Travel Scam:
This one might hit you as soon as you step out of the airport. The taxi driver (even if it is a pre-paid taxi) will suddenly ask you the name of your hotel where he is supposed to drop you off. Once you tell him the hotel name, he will pretend to recognize it and say that is has closed, moved from its location or burned down just recently. And as a good samaritan, he will suggest the next best hotel and offer to drop you there.
Do not fall into his trap. For it is just that – a trap.
This scam repeats itself with variations in all tourist cities of India and is replicated for state-run Tourist Information Offices, Foreign Tourist Reservation Offices and even for shops that refuse to pay commission to these agents.
Ask someone to take you to a particular shop and the driver may repeat the tactic and try to get you to his uncle’s, brother’s, distant relative’s shop and promise to get you heavy discounts on original products. Do not agree – the products might be good but definitely not worth the price you will pay – exorbitant sums with over 10% of commission for the agent who brought you. Definitely not worth it!
- Book only a pre-paid hotel within the Airport Arrivals terminal itself. These are run by the government in most airports and require the driver to sign and you to pay the pre-fixed charge for your travel (calculated according to distance). You will be given a voucher with the taxi number, the destination address, and fare details. Go to the pre-paid taxi stand and an official there would direct you to your taxi. Give the taxi driver the voucher ONLY when you reach your destination. In case of any problem, call the number given on the voucher and report it. The driver gets his fare only when he submits the voucher you give at the end of the trip back at the Pre-paid Taxi Office in the airport.
- Book a radio cab at the Airport Arrivals Section. These are GPS enabled radio taxis and monitored. As they are metered, you cannot be fleeced and you will receive a computerized receipt at the end of the trip.
- Request your hotel for an airport pick-up service. Many hotels offer this as a complementary service or at a nominal fee. As the cabs belong to the hotel itself, you reach your hotel quickly and in one piece without worrying about any scam.