#CyberCrime: Dubious Online Travel Operators On The Rise

Online Travel Booking
Image for representation only.

 

Online fraud and cyber crime is a growing concern for the citizens of Pune…

With several cases of forgery and cheating becoming apparent, citizens are now wary of dealing with travel operators they find online.

In a recent reported case, ‘a college student was duped of Rs 80,000 by an unidentified booking agent’ that he found through a search engine. A case under Sections 420 (punishment for cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code and Section 66(c) and 66(d) of Information Technology Act was registered, suggested reports.

A city-based couple was robbed off by a travel agent when they booked a honeymoon package from him. The couple who were set to take off for a trip after paying the full amount were denied travel tickets and any other documentation by the travel agent they found online.

Subsequently, the travel agent couldn’t be contacted on phone or email that he used to communicate to the customers.

“It is very normal for people to search the internet for any information or contact they want, but, authentication and credible results cannot be guaranteed from the web” says Priyanshi Arora, a social media manager.

“That said, the presence of every service on search engines makes it simpler for people to fall prey, since not everyone is an expert in gauging the authenticity of a service provider.

The best thing to do when there is a risk of monetary loss is to personally know the person or organisation or go through a registered party who is a trusted source.

“There are many popular travel sites that personalise your trips but having a personal connect, verification and registration under a genuine government body should be pointers when investing with them,” Arora adds.

Another couple, about to be conned by the travel agent smelt something fishy when the travel agent kept postponing their meeting in person and didn’t even provide his local office address.

“It was then that we sensed that he might be trying to cheat us. He kept asking for money to confirm the transaction before meeting in person. We even offered to pay in cash, in person, but he kept insisting on Paytm or bank transfer.

We later dropped the entire process with him and realised that he was just out to con people of their hard earned money, adds Shivraj Handa, a shopkeeper.

Explaining the increased threats in the city, Advocate Rajas Pingle, city based Cyber Law expert, says “Since Pune is a huge IT hotspot, the flow of business, financial, personal as well as sensitive personal information are at astonishing levels. Hence, it has become an ideal playground for the perpetrators.”

Pingle advises citizens who may become a victim of cybercrime to gather whatever information possible, including any evidence.

“They should then take that information along with a formal complaint and file it at the nearest police station or a Cyber Crime Cell in the city. The more diligently this is done, the better the chance of resolving the matter appropriately and in your favour” he adds.

ATM SafetyATM
Safety:

 

  • Memorise your PIN. Do not write it down anywhere, and certainly never on the card itself
  • Your card is for your own personal use. Do not share your PIN or card with anyone.
  • “Shoulder surfer” can peep at your PIN as you enter it. So, stand close to the ATM machine and use your body and hand to shield the keypad as you enter the PIN
  • Do not take help from strangers for using the ATM card or handling your cash.
  • Press the ‘Cancel’ key before moving away from the ATM. Remember to take your card and transaction slip with you.
  • If your ATM card is lost or stolen, report it to your card-issuing bank immediately.
  • If your card gets stuck in the ATM, or if cash is not dispensed after you are having keyed in a transaction, call your bank immediately.
  • If you have any complaint about your ATM/Debit/Credit card transaction at an ATM, you must take it up with the bank that issued the card to you.
  • Check the ATM machine properly for any additional attachments or slots.

Social Media SafetySocial Media Platform Precautions:

 

  • Avoid sharing your personal information and be vigilant internal of what information you share on social network.
  • Use caution when you click links.
  • Don’t trust that a message really is from whom it says it’s from.
  • Be selective of who you add to your social network as cyber stalking cases usually begin here.
  • Assume that everything you put on a social networking site is permanent.
  • Don’t always believe the content shared on social networking websites or instant messengers like Whatsapp as misinformation and fake news is rampant on these platforms.

Public Wifi SafetyPublic WiFi
Precautions:

 

  • Use a good reputed VPN.
  • You aren’t likely to have a VPN available for general Internet browsing, but you can still add a layer of encryption to your communication. Enable the “Always Use HTTPS” option on websites that you visit frequently, or that require you to enter some kind of credentials.
  • Turn Off File Sharing and Air Drop Options.
  • Keep Wi-Fi Off When You Don’t Need It.
  • Use a good paid antivirus and keep the same updated.
  • Don’t access personal bank accounts, or sensitive personal data, on unsecured public networks.

Online Banking Safety

Online
Transaction Precautions:

 

  • Never use Pirated Software. Pirated software is not just illegal, it’s the most popular place to get infected with a Malware/Virus.
  • Use different passwords for different websites and change the password regularly.
  • Use 2 step authentication provided on the websites.
  • Avoid using public wifi for any financial transactions.
  • Use good paid antivirus.
  • Always keep your PC or Smartphone updated with the latest firmware for security features.

 

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Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur

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