Cyber thugs are defrauding tourist booking rooms online
Cyber thugs are the people who defraud people through many online ways be it creating a fake website etc. Cyber fraud in travel and tourism has been emerging for the past many days. The thugs use many deceiving ways to fraud the travelers by creating a fake website or links and defraud tourist booking rooms online.
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Certain cases of cybercriminals deceiving money from tourists
Nainital: In the last two weeks, Cybercriminals steal money from tourists who try to book rooms online at hotels based in Nainital such as Hotel Maharaja, Hotel Alka, Hotel Silverton, Hotel New Bharat, Hotel Atiti, Hotel Chani Raja and Santi Plaza. Tourists trying to book a room at this property are being duped by online scammers.
Taking cognizance of such cases, the Nainital Hotel Association (NHA) reported the matter to the district SSP. Then a case was filed against an unknown cyber criminal and investigation started in this regard.
Manali has come up with many cases of cybercriminals scamming tourists and hoteliers. Hoteliers claim that fraudsters have created fake websites similar to the official site to trick travelers into booking rooms online.
A popular tourist destination, Manali sees a huge footfall throughout the year. To avoid inconvenience, most people prefer to book hotels in advance, usually online. Due to this growing trend, cybercriminals have been deceiving travelers by creating fake hotel websites and accepting bookings.
Recently, a number of complaints have been registered with the police where hoteliers have alleged that fraudsters have taken pictures of their official website and created a duplicate portal.
Mukesh Thakur of the Manali Hoteliers’ Association said it has warned its members about online booking scams and asked them to be vigilant and keep checking fake websites. “The government and the police have also been informed about this.
Hoteliers said that the tourism board should create a dedicated portal for booking registered hotels to prevent travelers from being cheated.
Tourist Krishna said that fraudsters tricked a hotel website in Sikkim and tricked him into saying that the website was in Manali. Jitendra, another passenger, said he had booked a hotel in Manali, but when he reached here he found that the hotel did not know anything about it. He tried to contact the person who paid the advance, but got no answer.
There are hundreds of websites and travel portals that sell Manali tour packages, but most of them are unregistered and run from other provinces. Many websites don’t even list contact information.
Here’s what should you do to avoid getting scammed by a fraud
Most travel bookings are now done online. While this increases the scale of transactions, it also increases the likelihood of malicious attacks and data breaches. The hotel and reservation industry is now facing the reality that it is becoming a target for online fraud. They now need to implement strategies and tools to deal with these digital hotel booking fraud risks.
Update all your old password
According to the Federal Trade Commission’s page on travel fraud, travel-related cyber attacks can occur even before the trip begins. Vacation planning sites are useful, but you need to make sure they are reliable. Many scammers pretend to be real sites, pretending to offer luxury vacations, travel arrangements, discounted trips, timeshare vendors, and steal your personal information.
Using credit card for payment
Online booking using credit card instead of debit card. If the website is fake, you are not giving cybercriminals direct access to your bank account. Many credit card companies offer fraud protection.
Try avoiding a hotel room offering very low price
Hotel camouflage rackets are on the rise. If a shady online hotel site tries to offer you incredibly low prices or unbelievable deals, that’s an immediate red flag. Please review carefully or close the page and search elsewhere.
If you think the room rate is too good, call the hotel’s customer service number directly. After discussing the room rate, ask for recommendations for restaurants and local attractions. Whether you’re talking to a trained customer service representative or someone who doesn’t have experience dealing with tourist inquiries, the way the other person handles long conversations can give you a clue.
When making a reservation, be sure to call the hotel directly or send an email to confirm that you have indeed made a reservation. The more time you spend verifying your hotel, the less likely you are to be scammed and lose money.
Be cautious while clicking any Links
Malware is often hidden in attachments or downloaded via links sent in fake emails or texts. Do not open email attachments or click on links from unknown sources. Some forms of malware are designed to record your online browsing history and share it with scammers. Armed with this information, scammers can target you with phishing emails based on your shopping and browsing habits.
Contributed Ankit Raj Sharma
Edited by Imtiaz Ullah