Saturday 4 May 2024

Street Scams in Guwahati

Photo by Nikita Pavlov on Unsplash

With the increase in the number of various frauds in Guwahati, Assam, India, it is necessary to stay aware of them to avoid falling into any potential trap. After doing online research and discussing experiences with various people, among the hundreds of scams that people face on a regular basis, I have summerised a few of them.

1. Parking Scam

There are few parking places in Guwahati, where you do not have to pay any parking fee (provided it is not a “No Parking Zone”). Those places can easily be identified if there is no banner suggesting that it is a designated parking place or if no individual can be seen helping cars park. However, if, while departing from the place, some random dude approaches you for a parking fee and refuses to provide a receipt, it is a scam, and do not pay any money to the individual(s). Although the amount demanded by the scammer is usually not huge, it is worth avoiding them.

2. Car Lift / Hitchhiking Scam

While waiting for a bus or taxi, you might be approached by people asking if you were travelling to the same location they are travelling to and whether you needed a lift. These are generally private vehicles and not commercial taxis. The proposal might seem tempting due to the lower cost and comfort of a private car. However, at any cost, avoid accepting such proposals, as they might be scammers and might lead to midway robbery or any other regrettable event. In recent times, multiple such cases have been registered, thereby avoiding such hitchhiking scenarios.

3. Honey Trapping Scams

Online scams that target numerous people every day and make false promises to provide sexual favours in exchange for money are not unknown. However, after reading through several discussions and hearing people’s experiences, I have come to realise that similar scams are occurring offline as well. There are few areas in Guwahati, where you can easily spot such "shady" activities being conducted in public places, such as near roads, especially after sunset. You can spot such places if you see multiple women standing in the dark and trying to approach random men. Never walk through such places. If you do, random women will approach you, offering sexual favours in exchange for money. Even if you refuse to accept their offer, they will keep following you. They might even ask you if you want their phone numbers. Even if you reject all the offers, they will start asking you for money on the pretext that you have wasted their valuable time. They will threaten to get you arrested or scream if you don’t pay. In the meantime, a few more women might gather around you, and they will rob your money. If you do not have cash, they will start asking for online transfers, and there is no limit to their demand. You may end up losing thousands of rupees or even more. One example of such a place is near the footbridge in Ganeshguri. Therefore, never walk through such places. Additionally, always avoid getting involved in any kind prostitution-related activities.  

4. Medical Emergency Scam

While walking through a street, especially a lonely one, you might be approached by a stranger with a fake medical bill who will convey to you their dire need for money, usually thousands of rupees at the moment, to pay the medical bill. The act and bill will look extremely real, but avoid falling into such traps. In case your humanity kicks in and you feel like helping the person, you may ask the person to give a hospital address and other details to verify, and although highly unlikely, if it turns out to be true, provide the help within your capacity. Otherwise, do not hand out money to strangers approaching you with such problems.


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