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Rajasthan

Health & safety

Dangers & annoyances

Warning – gem scams

A disturbingly large number of travellers continue to get bedazzled by gem deals. These too-good-to-be-true con tricks might involve buying gems for resale at a supposedly huge profit, or getting paid by wealthy dealers to cart gems then suddenly coming up against ‘customs problems’ that mean you have to shell out huge amounts, or some other cunning ploy.

The con artists are invariably charming, often taking travellers to their homes and insisting on paying for meals. Mistaking a smooth operator for someone showing genuine Indian hospitality, the unsuspecting traveller begins to trust his or her new-found friend. The proposed money­making scheme a few days later seems too good to be true – and it is. If you buy gems for resale, they are usually worth a fraction of the price paid (or, if you agreed to have them sent, they never arrive, even if you see them posted in front of you). Hard-luck stories about an inability to obtain an export licence or having to pay huge taxes are not your problem. Testimonials from other happy gem-dealing punters are easy to fake. Don’t let the promise of easy money cloud your judgment.