IT threat to I-T customers

Hoax mail promising tax refund

The e-mail has been doing the rounds for a while now, leading to scores of customers bombarding the Income Tax department with calls and queries.

These e-mails are being sent out with the aim of phishing out personal information of customers, including bank account details.

On April 11, a media professional received an e-mail, which the department of Income Tax, Karnataka and Goa region, has now confirmed as a hoax.

The subject read ‘Tax Refund of Rs 820.50’ and the text was as follows: “Dear India Taxation Office customer - After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity, we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of Rs 820.50. Please submit the tax refund form and allow us three to five business days to process it. To access the form for your tax refund, please click here.”

When the customer clicked on the link, a warning message popped up saying –– ‘Reported Web Forgery! Entering any information on this web page may result in identity theft or other fraud.’

Officers in the I-T department said they have been receiving calls about such e-mails for at least the last one month. Web forgeries are designed to trick customers into revealing their personal and financial information by imitating sources that one might trust.
Customers need to ensure that their web pages are locked through appropriate security preferences, which will block such hoax e-mails, officers said.

The department has written to the Central Board of Direct Taxes alerting it about such e-mails. The department wants  customers to ignore the mails, and refrain from giving out  personal information. “Tax refund amount is directly sent to the banks or is dispatched to the customers to their addresses via snail mail,” the officers said. They added that the department also never refunds the amount in fractions or paisa, and is always rounded off.

The department may take the assistance of the department of Cyber Crime to set right this matter.

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