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Fake hotel bookings on the rise in Shillong; tourists scammed

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SHILLONG, July 2: Against the backdrop of surging tourism in Meghalaya, a phenomenon involving tourists being scammed under the pretense of hotel bookings is rearing its ugly head. Numerous visitors have fallen victim to fraudsters while attempting to secure accommodation in the state.
Parambir Singh Sehdave, president of the Federation of Shillong Hotels, informed The Shillong Times about the scammers’ tactics. They use hotel room photos from various websites and post their own phone numbers on unverified websites. Posing as hotel representatives, these scammers lure unsuspecting tourists with offers of expensive rooms at significantly lower prices.
Upon arrival, the duped tourists discover that no such bookings exist at the hotel. Sehdave emphasised that booking through reputable and verified websites can prevent such scams.
The prevalence of these scams in Meghalaya is significant, with many cases remaining unreported. Almost every hotel property in the state has been affected in some way.
Scammers often employ digital transaction spoof apps to deceive victims into believing payments have been made, when in reality, no money has been transferred. These spoof apps are readily available in the market, further complicating the issue.
Tourists have been advised to use caution and verify the authenticity of booking websites to avoid falling prey to these scams.

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