Indore: Be alert if you are going to take online appointment for seeking a new passport or for renewal. There are at least four fake websites which are charging Rs4,000 per appointments, according to the Regional Passport Office (RPO), Bhopal. Taking the curative action, RPO has urged Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA) to ask Union Ministry of Communication to block such website. The cyber criminals have also penetrated in passport appointment system, which is solely operated by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of India. RPO Bhopal interfaced with as many as four such incidents in the last four months.
Talking to Free Press, Rashmi Baghel, Regional Passport Officer, Bhopal, said that we have received four cases in the last four months, one each from Indore, Bhopal, Balaghat and one more city. The people reached to Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) and submitted appointment letter to officers. Our investigation found that these appointments were fake and generated from unauthorised and fake websites. The victims informed that they made payment of Rs4,000 for getting the appointments, she added. Rashmi clarified that innocent people become victim of cyber crimes. They float similar name or non-traceable difference name carrying websites. There is provision of Rs1,500 for seeking appointment under normal quota and Rs3,500 for Tatkal quota. But they charge Rs4,000.
She said that on our request made through MEA, Union Ministry of Communication has blocked www.passportonline.com. However our investigation says that still www.online-passportindia.com, www.passport-india.org, www.onlinepassport.org and www.applypassort.org are still functional, which are totally fake. Rashmi said that we have requested the victims to lodge complaint to Cyber Cell of the district police. “On the other hand, I have requested MEA to take up the matter with Union Ministry of Communication for blocking these websites,” she added. She also urged people to remain alert and not to use such websites and ensure that they are taking appointment from www.passport.india.gov.in only. “This is the only official website of the MEA, where applicant first create login ID and then activate it through their mail ids and thereafter they could apply. At this site charges are taken as per the norms,” she added.