In the continuing series of our Gem Scam guides, the rest of which you can see here, we have uncovered a scam that preys on the lone traveller and single holiday maker. So if you’re thinking of visiting Goa? Better stick to the beautiful sparkling turquoise waters of the Arabian Sea, that this tropical haven has in abundance, rather than getting scammed into buying a sparkling gems that you may never see and will definitly get you into trouble.
As a gemstone dealer with over 15 years of experience buying gems and diamonds around the world, I am constantly amazed when when I hear stories from friends (and in some cases family), or read in the press about people being ripped off when attempting to buy gemstones or diamonds on holiday.
If you’re seriously thinking about buying a ruby or sapphire of this kind on your next holiday, please read this series of guides. It is written with the holiday maker in mind and isn’t full of jargon or technical information, just straight forward advice.
Scam 3: The Goa Confidence Gem Scam
How the scam is done
This scam is involved and very clever and so notorious that is has been listed as an advisory on lonely planet, trip advisor and about.com.
A lone traveller will be befriended by either one or two friendly soft-spoken local men. Eventually after a few days your new friends mention that they have a jewellery export business. They explain that they have found a legal loop hope in Indian Law. All you need to do is send a parcel of jewels overseas to yourselves. The you then picks the package up at the other end and hand it to their associate, who would then pay you £6,000. What could go wrong? Read on…
The package is posted to their next destination. After a few days an ‘official-sounding man’ claiming to be from the Indian Customs phones you on your mobile saying that a receipt for the jewellery shipped had not been provided. If a receipt is not produced within 24 hours to prove the gems are not stolen them the traveller would be arrested for fraud.
To avoid arrest and a stay in Indian prison an easy fix is suggested. The traveller must perform temporary transaction using their own credit card to pay for the jewels. Once this is done the package will be released.
The best way to avoid this scam
As a gem dealer, I am always more sceptical when I’m approached. Especially when I’m alone. Please be very cautious when making friends with locals. The scammer’s role is to be your friend and gain your trust. The minute anything of a business nature surfaces, shoot it down. SAY NO and stick to it. Once they realise that you are serious, they will move on to their next victim. Don’t take it personally, for them it was business, for you it’s a lucky escape.
If you’ve had first hand experience of this gem scam or you know of any more gem scams you can warn people of, leave a comment below and we’ll spread the word.. Thanks
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