IRCTC Tatkal Ticket Scam: How Scammers Book 100 Tickets in One Click

You wait eagerly for the clock to strike the opening hour for Tatkal bookings, armed with all the necessary details and documents for authentication. With 200 seats available, you’re confident that your last-minute travel plans are secure.

However, as the Tatkal booking time arrives, you rush to complete your transaction only to discover that all the tickets have been snapped up. Perhaps it was due to a poor internet connection, you think.

Determined, you decide to visit the railway station a few hours before the next day’s Tatkal timings, ensuring you’re at the front of the queue. Upon arrival, a few people are already waiting, but you manage to be third in line, hopeful that it won’t take long.

But once again, as your turn comes, you find that all the tickets have been booked. How is this possible? The answer lies ahead.

Tatkal tickets become available one day before the journey date, with AC bookings opening at 10 AM and non-AC bookings at 11 AM. A typical user must enter all their details, complete a captcha for authentication, and process the transaction.

Completing this procedure usually takes at least 120 seconds, assuming the internet connection is strong. But here’s where things get interesting. Hundreds of Tatkal bookings can be made in just a single click. Magic? No, it’s a trickery rooted deep within the binary world.

IRCTC Tatkal Rail Tickets Scam exploit

An ex-employee of IRCTC exploited vulnerabilities in the ticket booking system to create software that could bypass the standard booking procedures, enabling the booking of hundreds of tickets with a single mouse click.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken note of this scam and apprehended those directly involved. Additionally, investigations are underway for indirect victims who utilized this fraudulent software. The software operates by pre-filling all required details and initiating mass bookings precisely as Tatkal bookings open.

Under normal circumstances, an IRCTC account holder can book only one ticket per login, which is time-consuming for multiple bookings. To circumvent this limitation, the rogue software employs US-based proxy server capable of generating hundreds of fake IRCTC accounts. Moreover, it can bypass captcha verifications, OTPs, and other security measures, significantly speeding up the process and facilitating illicit mass bookings.

This IRCTC Tatkal Scammer Works For CBI

Ajay Garg, the architect of the fraudulent software, worked at IRCTC from 2007 to 2011 before joining the CBI in 2012. His insider knowledge from IRCTC, combined with resources from the CBI, enabled him to develop this sophisticated software.

His accomplice, Anil Gupta, played a crucial role in marketing the software to various travel agents. The payments for the software, which allowed travel agents to book tickets en masse, were collected in bitcoins—a cryptocurrency known for its global popularity and anonymity.

See also: Beware of These 8 Cryptocurrency Scams

Beyond the initial cost of the software, Garg ingeniously tracked the tickets booked by the agents, charging them for each ticket issued. This arrangement ensured a recurring revenue stream from the travel agents using the tool.

This racket involved a mix of Indian and foreign servers, online anonymity techniques, and cryptocurrency transactions. The CBI techie’s software could book hundreds of Tatkal tickets within seconds, exploiting the system’s vulnerabilities.

Garg, along with his accomplice, has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Additionally, Garg’s family members have been detained for engaging in illegal financial transactions using bitcoins and other methods like hawala. Ten agents have been implicated in this scheme, with seven from Jaunpur and three from Mumbai.

Railway officials assert that while the generated tickets were genuine, leading to no direct financial loss to the Railways, the real victims were the legitimate users of IRCTC who relied on Tatkal tickets for urgent travel needs.

The exposure of this scam has highlighted significant security flaws within the IRCTC system, emphasizing the urgent need for more secure booking processes to prevent future incidents.

Now, the mystery behind how Tatkal seats are filled so quickly is finally unravelled!

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Mensholong Lepcha

Financial journalist specializing in cryptocurrencies, bitcoin scams, crypto scams, crypto investing and crypto exchanges.