Thursday, October 18, 2007

A fraud about an alleged fraud

The following email message about an alleged swindling scheme at Indian airports has been making rounds on the Internet.


Important Information. Please pass it on to all you know..

Dear All:

Be careful At the Indian Airports, This is a well-organized conspiracy by Indian Immigration, Police, Customs and Air India staff with networking at all the Indian International Airports. Be watchful whenever you give your passport to Immigration/ Customs/Air India staff. The passport can be easily tampered and can create trouble to you. They have found easy way of making money from NRIs. This is the way it works.At the time of the passenger's departure, if the passenger is not looking at the officer while he is stamping the exit, the officer very cleverly tears away one of the page from the passport. When the passenger leaves the immigration counter, the case is reported on his computer terminal with full details. Now all over India they have got full details of the passenger with Red Flag flashing on the Passport number entered by the departure immigration officer. They have made their money by doing above. On arrival next time, he is interrogated. Subject to the passenger's period of stay abroad, his income and standing etc., the price to get rid of the problem is settled by the Police and Immigration people. If someone argues, his future is spoiled because there are always some innocent fellows who think the honesty is the basis of getting justice in India . Which is wrong...Please advise every passenger to be careful at the airport. Whenever they hand over the passport to the counters of Air India , or immigration or the customs, they must be vigilant, should not remove eyes from the passport even if the officer in front tries to divert their attention. Also, please pass this information to all friends, media men and important politicians. Every month 20-30 cases are happening all over India to rob the NRIs the minute he lands. Similar case has happened with Armco¢s Arifuddin. He was traveling with his family. They had six passports. They got the visa of America and decided to go via Hyderabad from Jeddah. They reached Hyderabad . Stayed about a month and left for the States. When they reached the States, the page of the American visa on his wife's passport was missing. At the time of departure from Hyderabad it was there, the whole family had to return to Hyderabad helplessly. On arrival at Bombay back, the police caught them and now it is over 2 months, they are running after the Police, Immigration officers and the Courts. On going in to details with him, he found out the following: One cannot imagine, neither can believe, that the Indian Immigration dept can play such a nasty game to harass the innocent passengers.
All the passengers traveling to & from India via Bombay and Hyderabad must be aware of this conspiracy. Every month 15 to 20 cases are taking place, at each mentioned airport, of holding the passengers in the crime of tearing away the passport pages. On interviewing some of them, none of them was aware of what had happened. They don't know why, when and who tore away the page from the middle of the passport. One can imagine the sufferings of such people at the hands of the immigration, police and the court procedures in India after that. The number of cases is increasing in the last 2-3 years. People who are arriving at the immigration, they are questioned and their passports are being held and they have to go in interrogations. Obviously, the conspiracy started about 2 to 3 years ago, now the results are coming. Some of the Air India counter staff too is involved in this conspiracy.



Is the above for real?
Probably not. Why? Because:
1. It is poorly written, indicating it not to be from a credible source.
2. The byline is missing. We don't know who wrote it.
3. The language used is typical of spam: "Similar case has happened with Armco's Arifuddin." Remember the letter that foretold the curse that would fall on you if you failed to make copies of the letter and send them to 100 people? It also used the same language: Arif of Bombay ignored this letter; next day his mother died.
[The truth was otherwise. Arif's mother was sick, but instead of taking care of her he went to make copies of the letter and mail them to 100 people. By the time he was done his mother died.;-)]
4. Even if you ignore #1, 2, and 3, the alleged scheme is too elaborate to take place. It requires collusion of too many people, at various levels. Unless there are regular meetings of all personnel working at Indian airports, to get reports, declare 'income', and equitably divide up the booty, the scheme cannot successfully run.

It is a hoax. Please do not forward "PASSPORT FRAUD" message to anyone. Do your part in keeping the Internet free of spam.

[Photo courtesy of BBC]

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