Possible Scams in Nepal

Just like any other country in the world, scams do take place in Nepal too. That being said, the best possible way to stay out of these rip-offs is remaining extra alert all the time. Traveling within Nepal through a reputed tour operator, staying at well-known hotels, and eating at decent places are some apparent ways to stay out of these swindles. Below listed are some of the most common scams that tourists may encounter during their Nepal tour:

  • City Guide Scams: You hire a guide. He is rather interested to persuade you for shopping at places he has a cordial connection. You purchase an item from the shop at a very high price and your guide earns a handsome commission.
  • Shoe Box Scams: A person offers to be your unofficial guide at a cheap price. You will be convinced and impressed by his talks. He will offer to bring you to his home which is in a shantytown.  You will share a meal together with his family. Out of nowhere, a blind man appears with a shoe box and asks you to help him by buying the shoe box. He will state the price of the shoe box from US$100 to as much as US$650.
  • Over friendly people: People seem to do very nice things for you out of kindness. Some people just fake it with an expectation of a very good tip from you. Use your best judgment to analyze people.
  • Dishonest vendors and tourist area cheats: Some shopkeepers could be preying on you. Keep your eyes wide open when you are shopping. If you are a female, do not ignore any sort of sexual harassment in shops, report it. Be careful when paying by credit cards – check that the actual amount is being entered during the transaction, as agreed. Also ask if any additional charges are incurred when paying by your card. If paying by cash, count the notes in front of the shopkeeper.
  • Unofficial Guides: One or two adults become friendly with you. He will ask you your nationality and then offer to be your guide without any cost stating they are students and that it is an opportunity to polish their skills. At the end of your trip, they will ask you for an inflated tip. They may take you to a shop and persuade to buy something from where they will earn a huge commission. They could even get you to sign up for an over-priced tour package with one of their acquaintances.
  • NGOs acting as trekking operators: Some NGOs and INGOs offer trekking services, but in reality they are not registered bodies with TAAN, the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal.
  • Milk Powder, Smiling Babies & Begging Mums scams: A hapless woman or child will approach you but won’t accept money from you. They will say their little child or a sibling is hungry and ask you to buy milk powder for them. They will lead you to a grocery store and pick the most expensive milk powder ‘Red Cow’ at an inflated rate. After you leave, they will return the item to the store and collect the money and share the profit with the store owner.
  • Deceitful tour operators: Also known as fly by night operators that will simply disappear after collecting a large deposit from you. Another marketing inflated fees on various accounts.
  • Helicopter – Rescue & Evacuation scams: A underhand tour operator will advertise a trekking trip at a very cheap price to attract you. If you fall for it, you will need to sign a form accepting helicopter evacuation in case of any emergencies. During the trek, they will manipulate something that you suffer from a certain illness. They will present life-threatening statements and seek for your evacuation on a helicopter and take you to a private hospital. These people work in collaboration with the helicopter services and the hospital that pay them huge commissions.
  • Ruthless Bars:  Some dance bars and nightclubs may charge you insane fees and not allow you to leave until you clear your bill.
  • Taxi Rides: Some taxi drivers will try to rip you off if you do not agree to a price before you proceed to a destination.
  • False stories of Illness and Diseases: Many porters, guides or drivers tend to tell you false stories about a prolonged illness of one of their family members. They will try to convince you that they cannot afford for their treatment and will try to win your sympathy. Check and verify with someone reliable if you really want to help them.
  • Bus Scam: Official staff may overcharge you; make sure to know the fare of your journey before you hop in. You purchase a ticket but later you may be moved to different lousy seat stating various excuses. Beware of this and don’t agree to their demand.
  • Airport taxi, city taxi & rickshaw fares: Drivers sometimes tend exploit foreign tourists who do not know their way around. Get a rough idea of the fare beforehand from your hotel staff.
  • Holy Men Scams: Holy men in the religious areas may come up to you and put Tika on your forehead in a way to bless you. Stay away from them as they will ask you for a huge tip.

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