The Indian Embassy in the UAE has unearthed an apparent online visa scam and has warned foreigners against falling victim to fraudsters operating a fake website claiming to facilitate Indian visas for them. In a statement issued recently, the mission said, “some unscrupulous elements have created a website similar to the Online Visa Application website of the Government of India, and are deceiving people to pay a service fee”. The scam had come to light close on the heels of news that the Indian government has decided to extend visa-on-arrival and electronic travel authorisation to citizens of 180 countries, including the UAE. A move that is expected to significantly push up the number of tourists and other travellers to India. According to the official statement, the mission had also been informed that a few applicants who had fallen prey to this scam had turned up at different BLS International Centres, the visa service providers of Indian missions in the UAE, though exact numbers are not yet available. The embassy said that it would take all needed measures to prevent people getting ripped off like this, and would request UAE’s Telecom Regulatory Authority to block the offending site. “This has happened in recent days, and there have been cases in some other countries of the region as well. So, we felt giving maximum publicity to this is the best thing to do immediately, so that people are aware of this,” the Ambassador said.

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