Bengalureans have been duped of lakhs of rupees by conmen posing as Indigo Airlines customer care representatives who promised tickets at very low fares. The fraud came to light after a newspaper report threw light into the elaborate scheme. Following the expose, Indigo issued a statement warning customers.
The address and phone number of the scamsters are listed online. When International Business Times contacted them, a man spoke in Hindi asking the details of the trip. He then assured that we would get a very good discount for the trip and gave the timings of flights on the required date.
When asked about a discount, the man confidently told us that he will give a 20 percent discount for a group of nine people. Regarding the payment process, the man asked to provide the last six digits of the card. When he sensed a hesitation, he said that we don't need to pay now but just provide the debit card details. He also said that he is willing to receive the payments through Google Pay.
He said that when we provide our card details, he will send us a link confirming our tickets and then we can pay the money.
An official statement was released by Indigo Airlines that said the operation was indeed a scam and that bookings will be taken through the official website or their phone numbers - www.goindigo.in or their customer care number which is 0124 617 3838/ 9910383838.
The statement also added that the airline is sensitising customers of fraudulent agents and how to identify them since no one asks for card details when booking flights. While booking via the official Indigo website, the payment is done via a portal after choosing the dates, the flight timings and the seats. In this case, none of this was done, reports Times of India.
The office of the fraudsters had an address in Richmond Road in Bengaluru and Indigo confirmed that they do not have an official address in the city except the ticketing counter at the Kempegowda International Airport.
Many have fallen prey to this scam in Bengaluru. For example, Bhasker P, who lost Rs 22,000 to the scam, told TOI: "The man spoke only in Hindi and kept calling back. He trapped me by offering an attractive ticket package. I thought it was genuine as his caller ID displayed IndiGo Airlines and so did his WhatsApp display image."
Another woman, Aparna Murali, fell prey to the scam in April when she wanted to book a religious tour for her family and friends. She lost Rs 10,800 to the scammers. She said: "I was looking for a discount as we wanted 46 tickets. I browsed online and found IndiGo Airlines had an office on Richmond Road with 070049 32719 as the contact number. I dialled it and the receiver confirmed it was IndiGo's office and spelled out the fares and airline policies."
She sent her OTPs to the man and recalled him saying that she would receive a link with the ticket as a text for the ticket concession. However, the text she received was of the OTPs she gave the man.
This is similar to the conversation IBT had with the scammer who promised to send a link with the details after we provide him with the debit card details. It is important to note that no official airline would ask for sensitive information such as bank or card details over the phone.