NEW DELHI : After the income tax return (ITR) filing season is over, taxpayers have started to get tax refunds in their bank accounts. Miscreants have now started to take advantage of unsuspecting assesses by sending out fraudulent SMSes with phishing links.
Sample this. “Important Alert! Dear xxxxxxxx, the lncometax_Department requires you to click the link below to submit a formal request for the payment of your unclaimed and overdue tax-refund of xx,xxx INR. http://18.104.22.168/ITRefund.” Several taxpayers might consider this to be an authentic SMS sent by the income tax department to claim tax refund.
One such alert taxpayer contacted the I-T department and shared this SMS on Twitter and asked “Is it authentic?”.
Tax sleuths were quick to point out that this is a phishing message. “You are requested not to click on any such link or any other link which promises to facilitate filing of ITR or give refund,” said the department in its warning.
How to identify fake SMS
On its website, the department has also released a detailed note on reporting and identification of phishing, fraudulent refund e-mail scams and fake income tax websites.
The I-T department has clarified that it does not request detailed personal information through e-mail nor does it send e-mail requesting PIN numbers, passwords, etc for credit cards or bank accounts.
If you click on the link sent on the fraudulent SMS by scamsters, you might be asked to submit sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details. This is nothing but a case of phishing where an attempt is made to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one.
What to do after receiving such SMSes:
If you receive an e-mail or SMS which claims to be sent by the Income Tax department, then you should never reply to it directly.
Be very careful while opening any attachments as those may contain malicious code that might infect your computer or mobile phone.
You also need to be careful while clicking on any link sent in the email or SMS. Even if you click on it, do not reveal confidential information like bank account, credit card details.
To check your tax refund status, the best option is to log-in to income tax e-filing website.
Also, the income tax department has asked all assesses to report any such doubtful emails to them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.