200 fake IRCTC IDs sold to agents for bulk ticket bookings across country - Hindustan Times
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200 fake IRCTC IDs sold to agents for bulk ticket bookings across country

Dec 07, 2023 05:24 AM IST

Investigators said that the probe by the railway police suggests that hackers are involved in manipulating the ticket booking system

The cyber cell of the Central Railway (CR) has discovered multiple fake identities (IDs) of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) sold to agents for bulk ticket bookings across the country. Officials said that they have identified nearly 200 such fake ids involved in booking tickets. Investigators said that the probe by the railway police suggests that hackers are involved in manipulating the ticket booking system.

There are various cyber-related investigations carried out by this cell which include keeping a watch on illegal online ticketing, social media and various cyber frauds. (REPRESENTATIVE PIC)
There are various cyber-related investigations carried out by this cell which include keeping a watch on illegal online ticketing, social media and various cyber frauds. (REPRESENTATIVE PIC)

Railway Protection Force (RPF) Pune divisional security commissioner, Uday Singh Pawar, said, “Our cyber cell team is continuously monitoring and checking illegal websites, links and most importantly, IDs which are used to book the tickets. In the last one year, our team was able to crack down on 200 such fake IDs which were created by hackers to book online tickets on the IRCTC website or mobile application.”

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Pawar said that as per central government telecom rules, one person can have a maximum of 12 mobile numbers registered on his/her name. Still, they have found illegal touts booking multiple tickets from one mobile number using advanced software. “Our cyber cell of the RPF Pune division is constantly monitoring such activities and in the last one year, we have traced the modus operandi of making illegal IRCTC login IDs which these hackers sell to touts and ticket booking agents,” Pawar said.

The Pune RPF division has the country’s first cyber cell under the Indian Railway which was formed in July 2019. The railway decided to start such cyber cells in six different cities with the first started in Pune. There are various cyber-related investigations carried out by this cell which include keeping a watch on illegal online ticketing, social media and various cyber frauds. The cell comprises a dedicated team of officers along with some cyber experts. Sharing details of the cyber cell action, Amar Bhardwaj, inspector at the Pune RPF cyber cell, said, “To book a railway ticket, any passenger or applicant needs to book it from the IRCTC website and for each mobile number, only one person can login.”

“It’s a misuse of the personal information of common people as these hackers take these credentials from different platforms and then once these IDs are created, they are sold to various people through the Telegram mobile application. So, one ID keeps popping up in the system which is sold from different locations in the country,” Bhardwaj said.

Once the cyber cell identifies these illegal IDs, it sends the inputs to various railway divisions across the country and cases are registered by the RPF against persons who have the credentials. Also, fines are imposed as per the law for illegal bulk booking of train tickets and using fake IDs on the IRCTC website. Most of these hackers and touts are found to be from other countries and are involved in the reservation of train tickets in bulk and then selling them at higher prices to passengers.

“Our appeal to citizens is to be very careful while sharing your personal credentials, while creating any account login ID, and sharing only that information which is required to identify you,” said Bhardwaj.

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