Indian Travel Scams To Keep An Eye Out For

India has a lot to offer when it comes to travel, history, and culture. It's definitely a gem with its glory and like all beautiful things, it isn't free from its flaws. India is certainly warm, hospitable, and incredibly generous to visitors. But while traveling you’ve got to be wary of certain things like you would when touring any other country.

Tourism is a big industry and there are many scammers waiting to mooch off innocent travelers. As they say, prevention is always better than cure, so here are the common Indian travel scams to keep an eye out for.

8 Travel Scams To Be Aware Of While Traveling In India

  1. People offering to lift your bag
  2. Invalid train ticket
  3. Fake tourist office
  4. Fast track admission scam 
  5. Temple donation scam
  6. Fake money
  7. The hotel switch
  8. Pickpockets

1. People Offering To Lift Your Bag

This is one of the most common tourist scams that often take place at crowded railway stations or airports. Yes, that’s true that India is filled with generous people but free help is mostly not a good sign. Once you land at your railway station or airport, you’ll find people offering to lift your bag and “help you out”. 

Don’t take the help because there’s a high possibility of them running off with your luggage. We’d advise you to hire an official coolie or if it’s manageable, carry your own luggage. Backpacks can be easily snatched off so we’d advise you to keep your backpacks close to your chest.

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2. Invalid Train Ticket

Scammers love preying on confused travelers. If you come across anyone claiming that your booked train ticket is invalid because it doesn’t have a stamp, it's a lie. You don’t need a stamp on your pre-booked ticket and the only confirmation you need is the one from the ticket collector once you’re on the train. Do not pay any money to anyone claiming that your ticket is invalid, they’re just trying to scam you. 

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8 Travel Scams To Be Aware Of While Traveling In India

3. Fake Tourist Office

This is one big traveling scam that’s sadly pretty common in the North part of the country. Once you come to the country, these scammers will take you to a fake tourist office where after going through all your bookings, they’ll tell you it’s all invalid. These individuals often pose as government officials so it’s pretty difficult to spot them. One thing you can do to figure the reality out is by getting in touch with your operator. 

You can also contact the hotels directly and ask them about the status of your bookings. If you get a green light from both sides, take a deep breath and get out of it. Inform the concerned people and do not pay any money anywhere suspicious. You can save yourself from this ordeal by getting in direct touch with your hotels and being aware, so even if the situation arises, you can be safe.

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4. Fast Track Admission Scam 

India is a land of mystique and popular tourist spots with large queues. You’ll come across many people at these tourist attractions who’ll claim to get you a VIP entry by demanding some money. 

Stay away or ignore these rogues because they’ll disappear the second you give them money. You’ll anyways need to wait in the queue so it’s better to follow the rules and enter when it’s your time. 

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5. Temple Donation Scam

India is a holy land but there are many unholy-spirited people trying to use your innocence. There are many beautiful temples in the country which are definitely a marvel to visit but here you'll also find these con artists posing as temple officials asking for money. 

Know that it’s not mandatory for you to give any donations anywhere if you don’t want to. No temple officials ask for the hefty amount in name of donations. Just simply admire the architecture, take the blessings and ignore the rogues with a smile. 

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8 Travel Scams To Be Aware Of While Traveling In India

6.The Sim Card Scam

Another very common Indian travel scam, this particular scam happens a lot with International travelers. Once you’re in India, you’ll need to get a new Simcard and it requires proper documentation. If the person doesn’t ask you for proper documentation, they might giving you a used simcard. 

A used simcard can easily make you a target to many scammers and random creeps, which is best to avoid. The simcard without documents might not be verified and can shut off at any point too. We’ll advise you to directly go to any official store of Airtel, Vodafone or Idea which are some of the biggest telecommunication servies in India and get a legit simcard without any hassle.  

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7.The Hotel Switch

This is one scam that almost everyone encounters in India. If you ask anyone about the direction to a hotel and they start off by listing out the bad things about the place and how you can find a better deal somewhere else, walk away or politely tell them that your booking is prepaid. 

Even your taxi person can tell you similar things or might tell you the place is shut down, in that case, directly get in touch with your hotel and ask them to guide your driver. The best way to avoid this scam is by simply asking your hotel to arrange a pickup service for you on your day of arrival. 

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8 Travel Scams To Be Aware Of While Traveling In India


A scam as old as time, pickpockets are probably one of the most common Indian travel scams. These con artists work in groups and organize a well-strategized plan to distract you and rob you. There are often more than one person involved and one starts to distract you while another tries to get away with your important stuff. 

The only way to avoid being pickpocketed is by being extra mindful and present. Avoid getting engaged with strangers and distracted while on the road. It’s best to keep your important stuff as close as possible so you’re in control of the situation.

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Summing Up

Traveling is a wonderful experience and India is blessed with multiple destinations that can be any traveler's delight. If you’re planning to go on the road, it’s best to know what awaits you, the good, bad, and even the ugly. These travel scams can darken the bright memory of your trip so it’s best to be aware. We’re hoping that our list of Indian travel scams to keep an eye out for will aware you enough to be safe from these scams.


What Are Vacation Scams?

Vacation scams mean fake traveling companies offering you free trips by asking for your important details such as OTP, your account number, etc. The second you share your account details, they can hack into your bank account and steal your money. Vacation scams can also mean new companies offering you fake discounts ad offers so you get tempted and book with them. Once your booking is done and you're there, they demand a lot more than what they initially offered.

How Do I Protect Myself From Travel Scams?

Be cautious and mindful while traveling. Don't keep all your cash and one place and trust no one. Get in touch with your hotel and ask them to arrange a pickup and drop facility. You can just be smart and not pay heed to anyone demanding your money. 

What To Do If You Have Been Scammed Over The Phone?

First and foremost register a complaint at the cyber cell. If your phone is connected to your bank, immediately inform your bank and take the necessary action. You should also contact your service provider and take back control of your sim.

What Are The Signs Of Someone Scamming You?

If someone asks for your account details, OTP, or trip details, it's pretty much possible that they’re trying to scam you. Someone who’s trying to scam you will also be in hurry and have weird confidence about them. Don’t believe humans as easily because there are people waiting to exploit you. 

Can Someone Hack My Bank Account With My Phone Number?

Someone can easily hack your bank account with your phone number. If your number is connected to your bank account, the scammers can pretend to be you and take all your money. If that’s the situation, immediately inform your bank and block your sim.

Which Country Has The Most Tourist Scams?

Spain, France, and Italy are the top three countries with the highest number of tourist scams. 

How Can You Tell A Fake Travel Agent?

A fake travel agent will try to scam you by trying to get your details which can be used against you. It can include asking for your bank details, OTPs, credit card details, etc. They’ll have weird websites and emails with URLs that can hack into your system. 

What Is The Punishment For Scamming In India?

Scamming is a punishable offense in India. A scammer can be jailed for 6 months to 7 year jail time. A fine can also be imposed along with jail time if the crime is big.