On 8 April, the ministry of finance issued a release, saying that the income tax (I-T) department would be issuing refunds of up to ₹5 lakh immediately, a move that will benefit 14 lakh taxpayers. It was done to provide relief to businesses and individuals during the lockdown. Cybercriminals took this as an opportunity to target gullible taxpayers.
Many individuals started receiving fake messages, which stated that the I-T department is providing relief to all taxpayers due to covid-19 outbreak. The message contained a link that the individual needs to click to claim tax refund. Following this, the I-T department and the State Bank of India sent out messages on Twitter warning taxpayers about such cyber frauds. These are the things you should keep in mind to avoid falling into these traps.
THE SIMPLE TRICK
If you receive a message from the I-T department about a refund, don't rush immediately to claim it. There are chances that it could be from hackers, who want to trick you into revealing your confidential financial details such as bank username and password.
"These messages are sent out regularly and typically, around the tax filing time, as the individuals are more gullible during this time. This time around, hackers are taking advantage of the government's announcement on refunds," said Preeti Khurana, a chartered accountant with tax-filing website Cleartax.in.
The messages sent out every year have the same content and follow a similar method to defraud the taxpayer. The link mentioned in the message takes the taxpayers to a fake website that looks just like the genuine income tax department's e-filing portal. Once the person enters his credentials, the user is asked to enter his bank account and other details. The hackers can use the details to transfer money, or they harvest the data for identity theft, or they put it up on sale on the dark web, or they can alter the user details in the I-T department's records.
HOW TO GUARD YOURSELF
The tax department doesn't ask taxpayers to verify bank account details. The refund is sent directly to the bank account that the individual discloses at the time of filing the returns. Such refund messages typically would ask you to claim the refund immediately. Tax department usually gives 30 days' time to respond to its communication.
Recognising fake messages is not difficult. "The individual needs to look at a few details. For example, check the link given in the message. The genuine address of the tax department's e-filing website is www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in. Next to the website link, you will see a closed lock icon, which means the website is secure. Fake websites won't have a closed lock icon," said Khurana.
If you receive a message on email, there is a possibility that it could have an attachment. Avoid clicking on the attachment. Other precautions you can take are to install antivirus software with internet security feature. Such software can detect and warn you of malicious links.
The best thing to do is to consult a chartered accountant or tax experts when you receive such messages to verify them.
Here’s how to identify a fraud message:
- Incorrect website address
- Asking to act fast
- Content is too good to be true
- Spelling mistakes
- Link asks for confidential information
Feb 7, 2021 0 1009
Apr 30, 2020 0 2267
Oct 29, 2020 2 29464
Aug 25, 2020 0 861
Oct 15, 2020 0 771
Dec 10, 2020 0 3637
Total Vote: 231I Agree with it
Total Vote: 472Yes
Total Vote: 426Yes
Total Vote: 396Yes
Total Vote: 425Yes
Total Vote: 432Yes
Total Vote: 473OnePlus
Aug 22, 2019 0 816
The Kia Seltos SUV is one of the most awaited cars to launch in India this year...
Nov 22, 2019 0 899
Aayush was talking about his brother-in-law while interacting with the media at...
Oct 5, 2019 0 781
The idiot box is no longer just that, when Sony is putting forward a formidable...
Jun 7, 2020 1 1738
FIR against private hospital for allegedly violating Covid-19 norms
Aug 17, 2019 0 856
While tracking steps, blood pressure and cholesterol may motivate a person towards...
Sep 2, 2019 0 1783
At a starting price of Rs 12.18 lakh, the Hector undercuts the Harrier by almost...
Jan 24, 2020 0 1019
Reliance Jio now allows UPI payments through its MyJio app. India’s largest telecom...
Apr 30, 2020 0 2267
The University Grants Commission or UGC, the higher education regulator, has released...
Apr 30, 2020 0 1347
The study was sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,...
Apr 20, 2020 0 1220
Recent moves by Indian authorities clearly indicate a sense of suspicion via-a-vis...
Mar 4, 2021 0 21448
Mar 3, 2021 0 1268
Mar 3, 2021 0 3847
Mar 3, 2021 0 1361
Mar 4, 2021 0 22256
Jan 26, 2021 2 11525
Mar 2, 2021 0 11139
Feb 28, 2021 0 10385
Feb 28, 2021 0 6818