ITR 2018-19: Beware! You may get these phishing emails related to tax refunds
New Delhi: It is that time of the year when taxpayers are looking to file their income tax returns as the July 31 deadline inches closer. But it is not just chartered accountants and taxpayers who are active during the tax filing season; there are many fraudsters who are actively trying to con taxpayers during the season. With online fraud on the rise, a TOI report has indicated that “phishing fraudsters” are always on the lookout to lure taxpayers into making mistakes – some that could cost them large amounts of money, especially during the tax filing season.
As per the report, many taxpayers have in the past receive emails from email addresses which have a stark similarity with the original government address. Using these fraud email Ids, fraudsters may request you to provide your net banking details for receiving your tax refund. However, it is worth mentioning that these requests are far from genuine and you should stay away from these traps.
Customers may receive such requests from a fraud mail ID: email@example.com but on proper scrutiny, you can clearly tell that the aforementioned address is a fake. The actual government mail ID is firstname.lastname@example.org. It may be noted that in the fraud email, the spelling of filing has an extra ‘L’ and it also has ‘e’ missing.
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An I-T spokesperson told the publication that the department has already started issuing warnings about such phishing emails on their website and also using text messages to alert taxpayers about these frauds. The spokesperson went on to suggest that it is best for customers to avoid such emails, adding that bank details or credit card details should never be shared.
However, on inspection it has been found that no such warning has been issued by the tax department and considering that the error in the mail ID is hard to spot, many taxpayers have been a victim of such frauds. However, there are several warnings and alerts on the same on social media and instant messaging application WhatsApp. According to the publications report, chartered accounts and tax return preparers (TRPs) have circulated a message, warning taxpayers who have filed returns to not cater to emails that talk about tax refunds. Taxpayers should note that such emails are circulated by fraudsters and on clicking the link within the email, a taxpayer will be redirected to his net banking login page. Once logged in, it will be too late as the account of the individual will already be breached.
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Taxpayers should also note that if the I-T department wants to communicate with you regarding refunds, they will do it via a formal notice and not just an email. Experts have also suggested that there is a spike in such frauds during the tax filing season and taxpayers should be extra careful if they want to avoid being conned.