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Sharell Cook

A Shocking India Gem Scam in Goa, Beware!

By December 7, 2012

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Gems.Gems.
Ivana De Battisti.

I recently had a reader write to me with an upsetting story about a scam in India. Apparently one of his friends, a European woman, had fallen pray to a variation of the very prevalent "gem scam". The scam is widespread in Jaipur and Agra. However, this incident took place in Goa.

What was really shocking was the amount of money that the woman lost (nearly 50,000 euros, which is equal to almost $65,000), and the fact that she was an intelligent professional who saw all the red flags but still fell for the scam.

So, what happened?

The woman was approached by an Indian businessman who asked her to "buy" jewellery from him and post it to Australia, so that he could save on export duty from India. He told her that she didn't actually have to pay for the items, just mail them to Australia, collect them there (she was traveling to Australia) and give them to his contacts. He offered to give her 24,000 euros in return.

Of course, you're probably wondering how it all went so wrong, and how she lost so much money, since she didn't have to pay for the jewellery. This is where it involves an interesting twist. The businessman told her that she was likely to get a call from the Indian Customs Department, who would ask her how she paid for the items but would be satisfied if she could show that her credit card limit was sufficient.

Sure enough, she received a call from the "customs department" the day after she posted the jewellery. However, the person threatened to arrest her if she couldn't show evidence of payment and accused her of stealing the jewellery. When she told the Indian businessman, he confirmed that she was indeed in big trouble, and that she should make the payment to avoid any further problems. He would then return the money to her account after she delivered the jewellery to his contact in Australia. So, she transferred 40,000 euros from her bank account for the jewellery and made a further payment of 8,400 euros with her credit card for "insurance of the parcel".

You can read the rest of the story here. (Update: Unfortunately, my reader has now deleted his blog due to privacy reasons). Needless to say, the jewellery was fake and she never saw her money again. After going to Australia, she's now back in India trying to take action and wondering what she should do.

I've been advised by my reader that the woman did manage to get most of her money back after complaining to the police. If anyone has been a victim of this scam, they should speak to a police officer in Panjim who has at least a 2 Star ranking (there are not many such officers and all should have heard about the case).

The important lesson here is that although you may want to help people in India, it's best to avoid anyone who approaches you -- especially with business deals that seem too good to be true. Since the tourist season is underway in Goa at the moment, it's something to keep in mind.

More About Scams in India:

Comments
December 14, 2012 at 12:13 am
(1) subesh says:

This seems to be scandal… this usually doesn’t happen with tourists who want to buy things, but help people who want to do smuggling and evade tax to Indian Govt. I wish somebody come forward and help this tourist.

December 14, 2012 at 7:40 am
(2) Travis says:

Another variation of the 419 Nigerian scam .

December 18, 2012 at 9:19 am
(3) mathew says:

could you please let me know if she got her money back? i have been scammed with same people in goa in late november. as i am not native english speaking country. did not know word scam? now i know. would be very thankful if you could let me know takle care .

December 18, 2012 at 7:46 pm
(4) goindia says:

Oh no, Mathew, I’m so sorry to hear that. :-( I will post any updates here, if I get them.

December 20, 2012 at 9:25 am
(5) D says:

So she tried to illegally smuggle gems into another country and we are meant to feel sorry for her?

January 29, 2013 at 5:11 pm
(6) Befor says:

Right… all she saw was 24000 euros… now this… stupid people…

February 17, 2013 at 7:22 am
(7) Joost says:

can you provide me with the contact of this woman? I am victim of same scam, same place, probably same people too.

will help to be a group to get our money back and have those scamsters stop their ugly thing

thx

February 18, 2013 at 3:06 am
(8) goindia says:

Hi Joost, I’m so sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, I don’t have the woman’s details but the owner of the blog (which I linked to) has subsequently told me that she was successful in recovering most of her money. Perhaps you could leave a comment on the blog to get in touch.

February 23, 2013 at 6:45 am
(9) Joost says:

Thank you, I actually did leave a comment on the blog of ashyverma, unfortunately, the page is now unnaccessible after another person testified for being the victim of the same people. It seems to go against spreading the awareness, pity.
If anyone contacts you about it, I would be grateful that you give them my email, besides if possible I’d like to get in touch with mathew -comment 3- as well
thanks

February 24, 2013 at 6:09 am
(10) Tops says:

Hi, thanks very much for the blog.
Joost, what are you doing about the whole thing? I commented on the original blog and it is now shut down. Bad publicity for India?
Anyway I’m looking into my options now.
Sharell, sorry to ask you to be a go between but if you could also link me up with Joost then you will be of a huge help to our state of affairs.
I plan to take action against these people and so will let you know of the out come. Maybe to inspire hope for others. Anyway thanks for spreading awareness. Regards

February 24, 2013 at 9:43 am
(11) angry says:

I would be interested in finding out how she got her money back, including all the steps she took.
I similar incident happened to me in Goa, but one of the men had a knife and they said i had no choice but to do as they said,

February 25, 2013 at 12:38 pm
(12) Joost says:

both of you contact me on my gmail, please.
I can’t put it in clear so catch that:
surname(dot)name(at)gmail(dot)com
my name is band, and my surname is what I sign with, no capitals
considering what I read going into legal is also my opinion, the more we are, the stronger

February 28, 2013 at 9:17 am
(13) Joost says:

Hi angry Hi Tops,
I don’t believe that anything will be done out of India, we must go back and file a police report in Goa. Besides if we do it together, we go stronger.
please send me email to the adress I provided above asap! this will make it easier to share all the info we have and tak an efficient action. thank you, Joost.

March 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm
(14) K123 says:

Hi, the same thing has happened to me and I am trying to deal with it now. Can someone also contact me who is working on this? Would love to be in touch with some others as I feel very violated.

March 13, 2013 at 3:51 am
(15) karan singh says:

Hi to all
Anyone have done such a thing contect me i will try my best coz i m aware of thease people. So pldo not hasitet to contect me and obene more thing for u guys its dificult to aproach thease guys coz u dont even know the name of them and u wont be able to find them unless haveindian guy with u . I have some personal issue with them so plz mail me at. pakkawala@safe-mail.co.net

March 30, 2013 at 1:04 pm
(16) USA says:

I have been victimized by most likely the same exact party in Jaipur, India. I mean word for word. One moment I was a tourist on the final leg of my trip and the next moment my bank account is drained. I am adament about taking immediate action and need to know who to contact. Please link me up with this lady who has managed to get her money back. I feel terrible that I have lost everything but refuse to let them get me down.

April 1, 2013 at 10:12 pm
(17) Jesse says:

Greetings fellow victims. I am a Australian citizen in my mid twenties. Just two days ago I arrived back in Australia after myself and my friend lost absolutely everything last week in Goa, specifically Anjuna beach. We had over 20,000 euros stolen from us and I’m doing everything in my power to stop these vile human beings from ruining the travel dreams of harmless friendly young travellers like myself and others that are posting on this forum. If anyone has any more information as to how I can move forward please contact my email at jsj1987@live.com.au. Kind Regards Jesse

April 2, 2013 at 7:53 am
(18) Mirko says:

Hi guy….
Nice to meeting all of you, unfortunately under these circumstances…Hell!!! probably we also see each other in the same places, being screwed!!! Me and my girlfriend were in Anjuna….
So if some one know how to get these bastards or how to take action, please send me and e-mail.
Thank you and try to think positive!
mirko.finotto@libero.it

April 2, 2013 at 11:07 am
(19) joost says:

Hi Karan Singh, if you can help us that is welcome. The email adress you povided is not valid though, please correct with the good one. thank you;

To others: I already provided my email adress a few posts higher (posts number 12) get in touch wiht me and share info.
Keep hope to strike back

April 16, 2013 at 4:07 am
(20) Fred says:

The way I see it, if you are thick enough to fall for something so obvious and ridiculous, then you deserve to lose your money. As long as there was no physical coercion, this greedy, silly woman was outsmarted by a poor Indian and lost. When you gamble, sometimes you lose.

June 22, 2013 at 9:57 am
(21) Joost says:

It would be si simple to see here a greedy woman and a poor indian… If you’d know how the victims of such organized group of scam artists go through emotionnally and psychologically, you might feel compassion.

Good news: I went back to Goa, complained to the police and got a good deal of my money back. To all victims: be strong and fight back with no fear!

Joost

June 23, 2013 at 7:29 am
(22) James says:

I am currently in Goa, Anjuna and have just come across this scam. A so called friend that I had met out here Sadit from goa tried pulling this one on me. If it wasen’t for the internet i would have for sure been in big trouble.

I am currently travelling around the world with a mate. India, thailand, australia, nz and finally usa. As soon as he heard about our route he and his friend who were in the jewlry / transport industry wanted us to take some special necklaces from India to Australia and because we had visas it would be okay to miss out the tax they would have had to pay, inturn we earn ourselves 5000 each. Immediately we could see something was wrong here as they had taken us to their home to discuss this business meeting over a game of cricket on the tv…

All i can say is thankyou to the internet otherwise we would have been another culprit to this what seems widespread scam…

Please any other travellers beware, if its too good to be true, especially in India, it very much is!!

June 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm
(23) LG says:

Hello guys,

unfortunately I have been a victim of this scam as well this week. Now back home in London, and the more I think about it, the more I’m starting to doubt myself. How could I not have seen it.
Very professional they were. The payment was made in a highstreet jewelry store in a shopping centre in Delhi. I don’t understand that a shop like that would be in on it, when I google the shop it seems to be a large business around the country. I know exactly where it is.
lost 12k in euro’s.

If anyone wants to share experience, or solution, please please email me. Would going back to Delhi and go to the police help? Where would the money come from if it’d come back to me, like in Joosts case?

tristate at me.com

is the email adres.

October 20, 2013 at 8:48 am
(24) TravelerInAsia says:

I am currently in Goa, Anjuna and was today approached by someone who invited me into his flat where he made me food and we were hanging out as friends. I knew something was fishy because people are not that hospital for no reason, so quick.

Finally he took me to his ‘business partner’. They were 3 men in total and his friend had told me that I had an opportunity to make money from my home country. The ‘business partner’ told me that he was in the jewelery business. Since I had heard about the scam I immediately told him that I knew he was trying to scam me.

He got very upset and threatened to hit me. I was able to safely leave their home.

They play on peoples emotions and it’s really sad that you have to be on your guard and not able to trust any of the locals because of some idiots.

I hope those of you who fell for the scam can get your money back. Some traveler I met in Thailand had fallen for the scam but was able to get his money back when his father contacted the high police in India. Thanks to him I knew about the scam and was able to leave before I was involved in anything.

November 8, 2013 at 2:17 am
(25) Friedrich says:

Hi there everyone,
I’m from Finland and I have been in Goa (Arambol) and the same thing happened to me two months before. When I found out I was cheated I was furious and went straight back to Goa to demand my money back.
Unfortunately I had to learn that these f******! people are organized in some mafia-like structure and that even the police is in on all that because they get bribed by them.
I would really like to know how this girl got her money back because I faced some serious violent behavior and threatening of the worst kind. I was scared and I wouldn’t recommend going there.
Take care if u do

November 8, 2013 at 9:53 am
(26) goindia says:

Hi Friedrich, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. :-( I’ve been in touch with the reader who reported the scam to me. His advice was to speak to the police in Panjim. Speak to an officer who has a ranking of at least 2 stars.

November 8, 2013 at 11:37 am
(27) Niti says:

Hi,Seems greedy people lost the money .THe wanted to evade the tax and give the person who would take the jewellery some pounds/euro.

So did the victims did promise to transfer the jewellery for money or they got emotional and wanted to support ,i dont belive people got emotional here!

November 12, 2013 at 5:29 am
(28) Jason says:

I’ve just found out that I’m a victim of this scam…. I can’t believe the professional act these people played.. I’m completely boggled. If anyone has any update information, it would be very aprecciared of how I can go forth with this. I lost 15,000 dollars. Please and thank you.

November 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm
(29) CodySchauerte says:

Same thing happened to me may of 2012 . I didn’t think there was anything to be done about it. Happened to me in Delhi . Mehrasons jewellers got my money 27k. If anyone wants to go to Delhi and take action with me . Let me know. three-of-hearts@hotmail.com

December 23, 2013 at 8:46 am
(30) Dubbi says:

Hello,

I was approached by a man who offered me about the same deal in Hampi. He said he has a family jewel business in Mumbai and after about 600.000 dollars export they must pay 140% Tax on any export. Limit 10000 euros value for France + insurance. Say he can use my name to send to France, pay everything himself (including local VAT and insurance). I will have to declare it as a gift and on reception give the parcel to his agent and declare returning the goods (unhappy with quality or whatever). For this we will need to go to Bangalore to send the parcel.

He didn t say anything about signing him my credit card details, etc. He told me his agent in France will received papers required to collect. Will need also my passport to collect.

Technically it s all legal, only problem is I don t believe in a 140% tax and don t see the point for a big company to use small loopholes like this. My supsicion is that he would have tried to scam me using violence to make me sign something. Other tips were fake Ray bans and wearing cheap jewellery.

Im supposed to meet him tomorrow, and I wish I could have him arrested. I will try to get all his details.

Good luck

January 3, 2014 at 7:29 am
(31) BigJase says:
February 8, 2014 at 12:15 am
(32) elby says:

I also came fell for these bastards on arambol beach. Luckily I came across this thread and other relevant information on the web. It is, again, word-for-word the same scam. I have a meeting with them today, perhaps I will invite the police, just to see the looks on their faces.

February 9, 2014 at 5:27 am
(33) Alex says:

Just had this scam done to be. The way they befriended me at the start was so genuine, these guys are so on the ball. I have alot of details on them because i was still suspicious because it was too good to be true but, when i realised it was a scam it was too late. They had me surrounded 3 big guys with no escape and i gave them £1500 on my credit card, just to get out of the situation, so think i got off pritty lightly. I tried to cancel the transaction with the card company but because i entered the pin it wont work.

Contact me to collaborate against these scum!

email earyz he @ me . Com

February 16, 2014 at 1:50 am
(34) John says:

I had this scam done to me last week in Goa. I managed to come into contact with a Journalist from the “Times Of India” and she says she can help,so we can find these guys, get justice, and i may get my money back. She wants me to help her do an artical on this scam. I was always suspicious so gatherd quite abit of evidence and information.

If anyone else has had this done and is in the area or can help in anyway email me:

n i s h r a b @ h o t m a i l . c o m

Thanks

February 22, 2014 at 3:33 am
(35) Bharat says:

Dear Sharell, Greed hath a Fall. Humans being mortals are fond of making a quick buck and thus in the bargain end up falling prey to such scams. These scams are not just restricted to India as has been brought out. Thugs are omnipresent. But it is unfortunate that the Community at large pays for the fault of a few foolish people and cheats . I deal with Vedic Gemstones and provide quality and real gemstones at very reasonable price. But yet people end up buying fake and imitation ones at much higher prices than they are worth. Of course when they do not get the desired effects as told to them by astrologers they blame the science of Astrology and hardly blame themselves for buying something without making any enquiries despite being generally aware of the decision they are making. So this “conscious risk” or “Folly” is well known. It is sad when people blame others for their own fault in the name of social upliftment or “Helping Out Poor Indians”. I think people are not so Foolish to make such decision purely on the basis of empathy and compassion.
Thanks

February 28, 2014 at 2:33 am
(36) Romesh says:

Hi Everybody,

Please dont provide your personal details on a public forum. Scammers will use this and cheat you more or take advantage of you again. So be careful when divulging details.

March 2, 2014 at 3:33 am
(37) nisa says:

if anybady get scamed by this peapole just remmber go to police in panjim and tellwhat hepen with u and go togther with police the place where thay scam u the place thay live i am sure 100 percent that u can get ur money beck i am very sure

March 30, 2014 at 7:49 am
(38) Avmatt says:

Hi,

My husband and I have been in Thamel Nepal for 3 days and stupidly fell for the jewel scam, it’s sad to hear of so many people loosing huge amounts of money and I do not believe that anyone deserves it, no matter how intelligent one may be. It can happen to anyone. We luckily only lost $300AUD and this was only a matter of hours ago, we are now researching because we are afraid of getting in trouble/arrested while we are here for the next three months or even when we try to leave…. Is there any way of us being arrested? I’m not too concerned about the money, I just don’t want to end up in jail over here or when we get back to Australia. Does anybody know what to do??? Any help would be fantastic

April 9, 2014 at 9:40 am
(39) Daniel says:

This was also offered to me in Thamel Nepal.
I sat with the guy for quite a while with him explaining it all in detail and showing me receipts from others who had taken the offer. But the large ‘gems’ he asking to be posted did not look so real.
Thankfully decided that it sounded way too good to be true, and besides not worth any risk to break the law.

April 16, 2014 at 10:11 am
(40) john says:

if any one charge there cards with this company H B S HOSPITALITY SE CALANGUTE IND GENERAL PANTS CO BONDI BEACH NS MEITAL GEM JEWELL JAIPUR INDIA PLEASE LET ME KNOW POSSIBLE TO GET 100%MONEY BACK.

April 22, 2014 at 7:34 am
(41) J says:

Had some guys try this scam on me last week in anjuna goa. they were very friendly at first then asked me if i would send some jewellery back to nz and they would pay $3000. I left without asking any details as i knew it must be a scam. be cautious of any one who approaches you in goa

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