As Air, Hotel Bookings Soar, ‘Holiday Fraud’ Travel Flyers | Bombay News

MUMBAI: Last month, two Bengaluru-based IT engineers paid Rs 6 lakh online to a Chennai travel agency that sent them fake plane tickets and canceled their real hotel reservation to pocket the money. A police case has been filed in Thrissur, Kerala.
Two people registered as travel agents on the Sulekha mobile app with fake numbers. They contacted customers with huge discount offers, booked and sent their flight tickets by WhatsApp and received payments. The duo then canceled the tickets and disconnected their cell phones. A Delhi professor who was cheated out of Rs 1.5 lakh in foreign airfares filed a complaint with the capital’s police, who solved the case in April
Last May, a Ravi Singh paid Rs 5,600 online to “” for a Lucknow-Mumbai ticket. In July, another person, Akil Kumar, paid for a Hyderabad-Vijaywada ticket on ‘’. Their tickets were later canceled by the airlines, and the two passengers received no refund, says, a non-profit NGO.
Airfare and hotel prices have never been higher, as has pent-up demand for travel, making this an environment ripe for “holiday fraud”. According to TransUnion, a US credit reporting agency, the percentage of suspected digital fraud attempts against the travel and leisure industry has increased by 68.4% worldwide.
“In India too, similar trends are seen,” Amit said. revivalDirector, mFilterIt, a global ad fraud detection and prevention company.
A recent study by the company found that the top frauds in the Indian travel industry today are account takeovers, fake travel websites/app cloning and airline “bait” deals. and switch”. “Popular apps are cloned and users unknowingly download them to book flight tickets. The app malware takes control of the device,” Relan said.
A Delhi resident who was looking to book a helicopter flight online to Vaishno Devi came across a hotel website that offered both rooms and helicopter tickets at a discounted rate. “He paid and received a receipt, full of spelling mistakes. He later realized that the hotel’s legitimate website had been hacked,” Relan said, adding that to avoid the trap, one should book directly through the official website.
Explaining the ‘bait and switch’ deal, he said it needed to be determined whether the offer sounded too good to be true. Citing one case, Relan said, “A man booked a 5-day trip to Kashmir from a website which offered the full package at Rs 6,000. When he tried to reach the concerned company, he realized he had been duped. Search engines run pop-up advertisements from websites that offer unrealistic discounts, cashback or coupon codes for the very destination one is planning to visit. But these codes or discounts never work and the customer loses their money, he said.

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