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Old 17th January 2012, 12:18   #1
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Default "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

Came across something strange over the weekend that I thought I should share since it could well be another scam. Searched the forums but didn't find a similar thread; if it exists, mods may please merge this post.

Driving into Mumbai on Friday evening, there was a "nakabandi" (temporary police checkpost) just before the Vashi bridge. The queue extended a long way and traffic was at crawl levels since the cops had blocked all but one lane. My friends and I had just driven up across the expressway and were chafing as we waited our turn in the interminable queue.

Suddenly a man wearing some sort of uniform comes and knocks on our window. I roll it down: "Dickey open karo, checking hai" he commands authoritatively ("Open the boot, checking is on").

Now I am a hardened veteran of Indian streets and follow Fox Mulder's diktat (Trustno1) to the T. So I just look at him and do nothing. He goes to the back of the car and bangs on the boot. The traffic moves ahead a bit and I just ignore the dude and drive on. Astonishingly the guy comes back and angrily tells me to open the boot again. My friends and I decide to take a closer look at the dude: he's not wearing a police uniform; and not even those white and blue ones the rangers who sometimes help out in directing traffic wear. Just some random guy trying a quick con job, is our reading. Drove off when the traffic cleared.

Here is why this is a worrying thing (if it is indeed a systematic con):
  • Any driver's first instinct would be to comply. I am used to security guards at office and many malls/hotels asking me to open my boot and even my bonnet on occasion. It's the simplest reflex in the world.
  • It's not difficult to spot an out of town vehicle coming in on a weekend- such vehicles typically contain luggage, some of it expensive. I had a knapsack with my laptop, ipod and God knows what else in the boot. Easy pickings!
  • Escaping would be the easiest thing in the world. All he has to do is run across the road and hide or pass the booty on to some accomplice. I am surely not going to abandon my car in the middle of a traffic jam on a busy highway and chase him!
  • For all you know, the authorities may be aware of this and, as it happens in some cases, may be hand-in-glove. Who are you going to complain to?
The guy just vanished after his second attempt, when it probably became clear to him that we weren't opening anything just because he said so. Ideally I'd want him questioned by the cops and maybe have some sense thrashed into him. But no crime was committed here (checked my VW logos later, just in case!), so what am I going to report?
Just be careful guys! A handful of T-BHPians whom I shared this experience with insisted that it could be a scam and that I should start a thread on it. Wonder if anyone else has gone through a similar experience and some suggestion on how to deal with it.

Last edited by noopster : 17th January 2012 at 12:24. Reason: Corrected typos and added translation
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Old 17th January 2012, 12:47   #2
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Smile Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

Thanks for bringing this forth to the forum. Was this a one off checking? Coz IIRC on a couple of occasions I was stopped at the Mulund Toll by Khakhi policemen who insisted I get down to open the boot personally. Also kind of used to the security guards asking to check the boot at malls regularly.

Golden Rule: Never leave any valuable stuff in the boot. If you find anything fishy with the Checks, do get down and get the boot checked.
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Old 17th January 2012, 12:55   #3
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Default Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

Thank you for posting, never thought this could become a problem, i need to be more careful especially on police nakibandi. Now we do get asked to open the boot in malls and office but the guards do wear the uniform and its easy to make out if its genuine or not. On the open street when cops are checking it could lead to trouble.

Strange as it may sound, i do not recall cops asking me to open the boot ever in BLR and elsewhere, maybe except while passing through Bandipur jungles (and that too were forest officials and not cops).
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Old 17th January 2012, 12:59   #4
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Default Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

I should have clarified, this was NOT one of the cops who were manning the checkpost- I would have happily complied with their orders if that were the case (but thanks for the warning- will always do it with my key and having got off the car even in that case). This was about 300 metres or so from the nakabandi, and the guy just hopped off the pavement: what made me suspicious is that he avoided all the cars ahead of me and came straight for mine.

In fact one friend of mine was trying to engage with the guy and I cut him off angrily and told him to roll his window back up. That probably made him realise no dice and he mved on. Feel bad if he tried the same trick on someone else and it worked though!

Edit: A related scam is a guy in what look like a valet's uniform standing near a hotel or restaurant offering to park your car for you. Please check with the establishment that the man is authorised to actually park your vehicle or it may be the last time you see it. I got suspicious once with a guy near Sarjaa restaurant at Aundh and refused to hand him my car, at which he pouted and stormed off, which only served to increase my suspicions! I have also seen this con being pulled on The Real Hustle show on BBC!

Last edited by noopster : 17th January 2012 at 13:02.
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Old 17th January 2012, 13:02   #5
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Default Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

This is scary man. It makes me feel really threatened. As you rightly said its the simple reflex and I might have opened the boot if I was in your place. You really cannot guess when and where you will be conned in today's world. Thanks a lot for sharing this. I will keep a look out from now on. BTW did you not try and pass the same message to the cops? It would have been interesting to see there reaction.

And the plain disregard or any fear of law is so evident now. 300 meters from a checkpost which would have atleast 4-5 cops, plus the cars behind you watching him go about his apparent checking.

Last edited by drmohitg : 17th January 2012 at 13:04.
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Old 17th January 2012, 13:04   #6
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Default Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

Have driven to Bombay a countless number of times now, and never have I seen this. This may be some sort of a new gimmick started by these people, out there to make a quick buck.

noop, good that you didnt pay heed to the chap and went on with your thing. As rightly said, any drivers reflex action would be to open the boot.

Thanks for the warning. Shall help a lot of out of towners.
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Old 17th January 2012, 13:44   #7
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Default Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

Shades of Daniel Craig in Casino Royale at the Ocean Club in Nassau?
Also in that BBC Serial Hustle, where either Mickey Stone or Ash pull such stunts!
Like someone said, there's a sucker born every minute, which is what these con bags survive on!
Hope it doesnt happen to anyone else though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Edit: A related scam is a guy in what look like a valet's uniform standing near a hotel or restaurant offering to park your car for you. Please check with the establishment that the man is authorised to actually park your vehicle or it may be the last time you see it. I got suspicious once with a guy near Sarjaa restaurant at Aundh and refused to hand him my car, at which he pouted and stormed off, which only served to increase my suspicions! I have also seen this con being pulled on The Real Hustle show on BBC!
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Old 17th January 2012, 13:54   #8
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Default Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster
A related scam is a guy in what look like a valet's uniform standing near a hotel or restaurant offering to park your car for you. Please check with the establishment that the man is authorised to actually park your vehicle or it may be the last time you see it.
This actually happened at a top hotel in Chennai sometime ago.

Like many here, I do my parking myself and if they insist on valet-parking, I just find myself another hotel. So, this scam wont work.
But the open-boot thing. Hmm. I usually just open the boot when asked by cops/security. Need to be careful there.
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Old 17th January 2012, 15:08   #9
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Default Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

Man! The kind of innovation these guys indulge in to con people amazes me.

Here's a rather interesting thing with my Corsa SAIL's hatch : there is no boot-open lever. The boot lock has 2 positions : one where you need a key to open it and another where it can be opened by pushing it provided the driver door is unlocked.

At security checks, I tell the guard I'd need to give them the key to open the lock and disinterested in their job that they are, they are more than happy when I ask them to check the boot from inside.

At the risk of massively pissing other people in the queue off, I think it makes sense that someone from the car get down to supervise when the boot is being checked.

PS : Do not try this anywhere in the NCR; somebody will get hurt real bad!
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Old 17th January 2012, 15:22   #10
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Default Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

I have never been asked to open the boot of the car, even when I was stopped during nakabandi. The cops usually verify the papers and if they are in order, you should be fine.

Cops in Mumbai will invariably talk to you in Marathi. It's only if you don't understand Marathi they will switch to Hindi. Also the language they use is actually very polite. If they did stop you or pull you over for something, they won't tell you the reason upfront. So I doubt if a real cop would order "Dicky kholo, checking hai".
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Old 17th January 2012, 15:28   #11
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Default Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

noop; it was great that you were alert enough to notice where this chap came in from. Usually when the car is stationary, drivers tend to relax a bit and maybe this is what this guy was trying to take advantage of. Even more reason to keep our cars locked centrally and all windows closed.

Any valuables I carry are usually stowed near my son's feet. As he is strapped into his car seat, he does not use that space and he is usually more attentive than the rest of us put together! No valuables in the boot unless we are on holiday, but then again its different for a hatchback owner than for a sedan owner.
It is certainly useful for me that you pointed this out. It is a reminder for people like me to keep their antennae out for such cons.

Not sure if I missed this part, but did you ask the cops there about this? I presume they must be busy with their primary objective than to run after such cons.

Last edited by selfdrive : 17th January 2012 at 15:30.
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Old 17th January 2012, 15:35   #12
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Smile Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

One quetion Noop, Did you by any chance report this to the cops patrolling the toll booth. I think it would have saved a few gullible car owners the risk of opening the boot.
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Old 17th January 2012, 16:05   #13
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Default Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

Good question- simple answer is No. By the time we'd reached the actual checkpoint, about 15 minutes had passed (yup it was a LONG queue ). Also the cops just waved us through so we sped away and only later realised we should have probably at least alerted them to it.

I don't have any doubt in my mind that it *was* a scam: the only thing I am wondering is whether it's a one-off some genius thought up or an organised racket. If it's the latter, am really regretting letting that joker off so easy.
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Old 17th January 2012, 16:15   #14
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Default Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

Thanks Anoop!

I have an hatch and there is no parcel tray. So when the hatch door is open for inspection, even while being in the driver's seat, I keep both my eyes on the person. Be it at a mall or office or naka-bandi, in the current state of affairs, there is no reason to trust a complete stranger.

At my office, I don't even open the hatch. The security guy knocks, tries to open the hatch, realizes that there is no parcel tray and he can look at the dickey from the hatch glasspane, he does that and then waives me on.

If and when I move to a sedan where I don't have a view of the dickey from inside the car, I can't think of any other alternative than getting down, opening the dickey myself, standing there till the inspection is done, and finally closing the dickey myself. Can't rely on those chaps (including our police folks) to close the dickey properly and not flick anything from the dickey.

I know I am being completely paranoid here, but besides something being stolen, the possibility of something being planted (e.g. some explosives) also exists.

Last edited by SDP : 17th January 2012 at 16:16.
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Old 17th January 2012, 16:28   #15
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Default Re: "Open Dickey for check"- new scam?

Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post one-liners that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the overall quality of this forum.

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Last edited by GTO : 18th January 2012 at 15:28.
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