New Delhi: India’s ticketing machine fraud epidemic is now so widespread that the government has resorted to using ticket counters to process the thousands of bogus tickets it receives every day, according to government officials and a survey of ticket counters in the capital.
India’s ticket vending machines (TMPs) are often found to be running at full capacity, allowing criminals to sell hundreds of millions of tickets at a time.
The machines can be used for anything from buying a bottle of whisky to buying a ticket for a soccer match.
But there are a few tricks up their sleeves to scam the public and get the money.
Ticket counter fraudsters are known to create fake identities and use fake bank details to make fraudulent payments.
They can also use fake credit card numbers to pay for a lot of fraudulent tickets, according a report by the Government Accountability Bureau (GAB).
The TMPs are used for several transactions, ranging from buying tickets for the football game at Bengaluru FC to buying tickets to go to a movie.
But the problem has reached epidemic proportions.
In the past two weeks, the Indian Railways has issued more than 13,000 fake tickets, with the number expected to go up to almost 20,000 this month, according the official report by Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian.
“The issue is not only in the TMP but also the rest of the infrastructure.
Ticket counters have become very vulnerable,” said a senior government official, who asked not to be identified.
The government has set up a team of four people to investigate the TSPs and ticket counter scam.
But it’s not just the TTPs that are vulnerable to this fraud.
The GAB report states that the scams have been reported to the Railway Board by nearly 10,000 TMP owners.
Ticket counters are also a prime target of criminals.
They are often located at public places and often empty, leading to the creation of a fake identity, the GAB said.
In fact, TMP owner Sharmila Poonawalla told the GABA that the TCPs are one of the reasons she lost her ticket to a cricket match in Bengaluru on May 10.
“I got a false ticket to go for the match,” she said.
“It was not for a cricket, it was to buy a bottle.
The TMP was running full.”
The GAB is not the only authority to warn the public about TMP fraud.
A recent study by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) concluded that the number of TMP scammers was higher than in any other country, with nearly 30 percent of TTP scammers being in India.
The report said that the majority of the criminals are likely to be men in their early twenties, with some of them even younger than 18.
But some of the scammers are also women.
Experts say the scam is particularly dangerous for young women, who are the most vulnerable to it.
“Young women are the ones who are most likely to have a fake passport,” said Nirmal Sengupta, a professor of sociology at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
“They are also more susceptible to being approached and asked to pay money, even when they have already bought a ticket.”