Kolkata police have warned citizens to be extra cautious after several reservation frauds were reported in the city during the pre-Puja rush to book hotels.
Victims lost money by paying through links that were shared with them over the phone.
In most of the cases, the victims got the phone numbers on the Internet.
The phone numbers of hotels that can be obtained by a Google search can be easily edited, said an officer of the cyber crime cell at Lalbazar.
Deputy commissioner (cyber) Praveen Prakash said: “Google results that pop-up after a search includes websites, contact details and Google map location. Such content can be edited. Fraudsters have been successful in editing some of these contents for a few hotels.”
Thousands of people make travel plans during the Puja vacation — a time when fraudsters allegedly become active, the police said.
Sources in Lalbazar said several people in Kolkata who tried to book hotels through search engines got cheated after they dialled phone numbers mentioned on the Internet.
“It is extremely important to exert caution and double-check whether you are contacting a genuine person from the hotel,” Prakash said.
Police said it was always advisable not to call on phone numbers that are obtained through search engines.
Rather hotels should be contacted only through phone numbers mentioned on their official website.
People should not make any bookings through unknown sites that offer huge discounts on hotel rates.
It might be a trap, the police said.