Tourists lose money to fake Nagarahole safari booking site
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Tourists lose money to fake Nagarahole safari booking site

May 26, 2024

Complaint lodged with Kodagu Cyber Crime Police; New Delhi-based fraud group created website

Mysore/Mysuru: Those planning online bookings for a safari in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, beware! There are fake websites offering bookings where fake Customer Care Executives paint a rosy picture of safari opportunities and animal sightings and take hefty payments. Once the payments are made, these fake Executives vanish without a trace.

The Nagarahole Tiger Reserve has issued a public notice warning tourists & safari enthusiasts about fake websites. Officials said these websites accept bookings in the name of Tiger Reserve, cheating people by taking payments but never offering confirmations or safari tickets.

Harshakumar Chikkanaragunda, Director, Project Tiger, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, told Star of Mysore that they came across a fake website accepting payments in January 2024. “We immediately complained to the Kodagu Cyber Economic and Narcotics (CEN) Crime Police Station and the sleuths blocked the fake website and deleted it. Now, again last week, the same website has come online, cheating people,” he explained.

“Beware of unauthorised websites for Nagarahole Safari Booking. For official safari bookings, please use the official website: https://nagaraholetigerre serve.com. Stay safe & ensure your bookings are legitimate,” reads a post from the ‘X’ handle of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve.

Those booking through these fraudulent websites will eventually lose money. Once payments are made, the fake websites neither send confirmation messages nor issue tickets. If the ‘Customer Care’ number listed on the websites is contacted, there will be no response or the phone number is fake, the Director said.

The fraudsters have created a genuine-looking website for the Tiger Reserve. The unsuspecting user is induced to pay online and once the payment is done, the customer either never receives confirmation messages or the safari, though the amount is deducted from the person’s debit or credit card. He added that on cancellation or non-confirmation, tourists are not receiving any proper support from such entities.

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“The Police have informed us that almost all the famous tiger reserves with frequent big cat sightings are victims of this fake website menace. We have information that fraudsters are operating from New Delhi and an investigation is ongoing. Always visit the genuine website and do due diligence before making any financial transaction,” he said.

In 2023, 1.2 lakh visitors took the safari at Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, and this year, we are hopeful of achieving 1.5 lakh safari visitors. Safaris are taken from Kakanakote Point, Nanachi Gate and Veeranahosahalli. A bus safari costs Rs. 610 per person, a jeep safari costs Rs. 850 per person and if a full jeep is booked, the group must pay Rs. 7,500. Timings are from 6 am to 9 am and from 3 pm to 6 pm.

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