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Cyber criminals target devotees planning to visit Char Dham

Dehradun STF blocked 76 fake helicopter service booking websites in 2 years

Cyber criminals target devotees planning to visit Char Dham


Tribune News Service

Nikhil Bhardwaj

Ludhiana, May 16

With the start of the Char Dham Yatra for

Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri, cyber criminals have intensified their activities on social media to defraud devotees. Miscreants have created a lot of websites and social media accounts to dupe innocent people planning the Char Dham pilgrimage.

People need to be aware

Miscreants have been creating fake websites in the name of helicopter service booking. The cyber police have received many complaints regarding the scam in the past two years. Only IRCTC has been authorised to book Char Dham helicopter service (www.heliyatra.irctc.co.in). — Ayush Aggarwal, SSP, STF, Dehradun

Earlier, some people from Ludhiana had fallen prey to these fraudsters and lost thousands in a bid to book helicopters for Char Dham in Uttarakhand and for the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir.

As per information, the Special Task Force in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, with the help of the Home Ministry, has blocked a total of 76 websites in the past two years related to Char Dham and saved people from falling prey to the miscreants.

SSP at STF, Dehradun Ayush Aggarwal, had also issued a statement in May in which he stated, “Miscreants have been creating fake websites in the name of helicopter service booking. The cyber police have received many cyber fraud complaints regarding this scam in the past two years. The main reason for this kind of fraud was that people were not aware of the official websites for helicopter service for the

Char Dham. Only IRCTC has been authorised

to book Char Dham helicopter service (www.heliyatra.irctc.co.in).”

There are several fake pages and websites built to attract people who want to book helicopters for Char Dham. Pages on social media have also been made in the name of helicopter companies at the helm of helicopter services. During interaction with the persons operating these pages, they asked to deposit money in advance and promise to issue tickets later, and they would issue fake tickets later.

A person operating one of these fake pages said, “We have a special quote for VIP darshan booking and helicopter booking for the Char Dham. You need to pay in advance.”

When contacted by the customer executive of ‘Himalayanheli’, which deals in helicopter service for Char Dham, the official said, “Helicopter operators are not authorised to sell tickets as IRCTC is the only ticket seller. Imposters, fraudsters and cybercriminals are selling fake helicopter tickets by posing as company employees and showing a fake photo ID of our company. After they have received money for a booking, they block all paths of contact with the customer.”

Ludhiana cyber police incharge Inspector Jatinder Singh said, “We have not received any such complaint this year so far. However, we have received several such complaints in three years where people got duped of a lot of money through these fake websites. I would advise people to only book helicopter tickets from government websites.”

The Special Task Force at Dehradun has blocked a total of 76 fake websites related to Char Dham. In 2023, the STF blocked 64 fake websites. A total of 12 websites have been blocked this year.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Badrinath #Char Dham #Hindus #Social Media


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