Planning a Goa trip? Watch out for online fraudsters
Cases of unscrupulous elements duping travellers in the guise of hotel and other services have surfaced; At least three cheating cases have been registered in various States during the last few days wherein persons planning to travel to Goa tried to book rooms or air tickets and got duped of thousands of rupees
PANJIM: Goa’s tourism season has already set in, several cases of unscrupulous elements duping travellers in the guise of hotel bookings and other services have come to light. Such incidents continue to put the touristic state in bad light.
As the Tourism Department plans to launch a mobile application for tourists to register their grievances, fraudsters seem to have gained an upper hand. At least three cheating cases have been registered in various States during the last few days wherein persons planning to travel to Goa tried to book rooms or air tickets and were duped of thousands of rupees.
Almost every day, web news portals are publishing reports of travelers getting duped via online frauds. A quick check revealed that at least three such incidents were reported from across the country where fraudsters cheated travelers planning their holidays to Goa.
With Covid-19 restrictions being lifted and people desperate to go on holidays, the fraudsters are targeting those travelers who find it difficult to make hotel and air ticket bookings. Fraudsters pretend to offer free travel or dirt-cheap holiday packages to these tourists.
It has been reported that cyber fraudsters have also been involved in editing website information of various hotels and resorts thereby cheating potential tourists of lakhs of rupees.
Frauds reported last week: A 30-year-old CA from Parvati, Pune was duped of Rs 94,000 by a cyber fraudster while trying to book a hotel room online for his Goa trip.
According to the complainant, he was planning a three-day Goa trip on October 2. He browsed the Internet for resorts through which he came across a contact number and paid Rs 94,000 through his mobile wallet only to realise that he has been duped.
In another case, Ashish Jain, a businessman from Rohtak was cheated of Rs 88,000 in the guise of booking an air ticket to Goa. The businessman had planned to visit Goa with his family to attend a wedding ceremony scheduled on November 23. A case has been registered in this regard at the Civil Lines Police Station in Rohtak.
In a third case, a couple from North India practising yoga, who was willing to stay in Goa, was cheated of Rs 17,000 through Facebook. The couple had found the contact of the fraudster through their community in Goa. The couple was shown the place and asked to pay the amount only to be duped.
The Superintendent of Police (SP) incharge of cyber crimes Nidhin Valsan said, “We are in contact with the hotel and restaurant owners to keep a track on suspicious websites. When we are informed, we reach out to Google and other service providers, register FIRs and request them to bring down the websites.”
SP Valsan also informed that the police are willing to assist the investigations of such fraud cases registered outside the State if a complaint is filed or help is sought by their counterparts from other States.
Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte said the government is taking serious cognisance of the fraud and cheating cases.
“This issue will be prominently discussed in the next Goa Tourism Board (GTB) meeting to be chaired by Chief Minister. We need to handle this issue with a proper roadmap,” he said.