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Don't fall prey to Tirupati Ticket Scam

Fake darshan ticket scam hits Tirupati, 41 websites shut down

TIRUPATI: Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the richest Hindu endowment body in the whole world, is now facing an unusual threat from websites and apps that are deceiving devotees by selling tickets for various sevas. These fake websites and apps are virtually running a multi-crore online fake darshan ticket scam. It is suspected that gangs from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are involved in the scam as most of the devotees who were duped belong to central and north India.

TTD sells tickets online, but the quota is exhausted within hours of its release. The fake websites take advantage of this. They are also made intentionally similar in design to the official site, which result in confusing devotees.
They even sell the VIP break darshan tickets at a premium when TTD issues them only under the discretionary quota in the current booking mode and never online.
The temple trust, which has received hundreds of complaints from devotees, has lodged Police complaints and after that 41 fake websites have been shut down so far.
One of the victims was Pune-based devotee G Rohit (name changed), who followed a link being circulated in local WhatsApp groups, which led him to a fake TTD website.
He booked a special entry darshan for April 8 by paying Rs 4,000. The website asked Rohit to collect the ticket from the TTD office in Tirumala. When Rohit reached Tirumala, TTD officials informed him that the invoice was fake. He was denied darshan. This is one of several cases that have come to light recently.
TTD's IT division general manager LM Sandeep held a series of meetings with officials of Andhra Pradesh Technology Services (APTS), ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY), internet domain registrars, a web-hosting company and payment gateway service providers, and initiated steps to shut down the sites and 13 apps.

TTD is also in the process of engaging sophisticated brand management tools to identify fake websites and mobile apps in real-time. The official website to book Tirupati darshan ticket is https://www.tirumala.org/. Don't fall prey to scamsters by following a link in your whatsapp groups or through a SMS. Best is to verify the identity of the website if it's original or not.

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