Taxpayers Beware! Never fall for this income tax refund fraud, warns I-T Department
Income tax payers beware! The Income Tax Department never asks for your debit card details or CVV number in order to process your income tax refund. Therefore, if you have received an email or SMS from someone asking you to share your debit card details to be able to get your tax refund in your bank account, then alarm bells must start ringing in your head. For, this is a new method adopted by fraudsters to extract your debit card details.
Thankfully, in a bid to educate the taxpayers about such scams, the Income Tax Department keeps sending email/SMS alerts to them. One of the latest messages being sent to the taxpayers states, “Beware of fake messages claiming to be from the I-T Department. We will never ask for your debit card details or CVV number in order to process your refund. Don’t share your number with anyone.”
Tax experts say that in such cases a fake email or SMS is sent to the user stating that his/her income tax refund has been approved. “The amount of refund sanctioned also looks genuine as they don’t mention a round figure, but an exact figure with decimals. (See a sample message below). The fraudsters then mention that for the Income Tax Department to transfer the refund to his bank account, the user is required to share their bank details with the income Tax Department. The common man, thus, gets excited that his refund has been approved and shares all his bank details. He also furnishes his debit card details as well as the CVV No. which was never required,” informs CA Karan Batra, Founder & CEO of CharteredClub.com.
It is important to note here that for the refund to get processed, only bank details are required, and not debit card details. However, in the above-mentioned case, if the user furnishes his debit card details as well, then the fraudsters will have access to his banking passwords. And in some cases, rather than the amount getting refunded to their bank account, the very amount actually gets deducted from the user’s bank account.
The fraudsters, in fact, disguise such transactions in such a manner that rather than the refund getting approved, a payment transaction gets processed for this amount. Rather than the person receiving the money, he ends up paying it.
“This is a scam which has been happening at large. The Income Tax Department has been trying its best to educate the taxpayers that the I-T Department does not ask for debit card details, but only for the bank account details. However, any taxpayer receives such a message from someone, then he should not fall for such messages and should cross-check with his ITR if he was even eligible for this refund. And even if he was eligible, he should not furnish his debit card details,” says Batra.
Tax experts say that at a time when technology is helping people in many ways, it is also being misused sometimes. For instance, “many a time we receive phishing scam messages via SMS, e-mails etc, which promise a refund, either an LIC policy refund or an ‘Income Tax Refund’. Many of the taxpayers are getting such messages, which seem to be from the I-T Department, that their ‘Income Tax Refund’ has been issued and they are just one step behind of ‘Confirmation of Bank Detail’ from the refund, which can be done from the link attached in the same message. Once the taxpayer opens the link and fills the details, it gives the right to the hacker to access the account and transfer the amount,” says CA Abhishek Soni, Founder, tax2win.in.
Taxpayers should note that the Income Tax Department, from time to time, keeps warning and making the taxpayers aware of such fake SMS, e-mails. Further, if the department asks for something, then they will mail you the reason and also the process for doing the same. However, there will be no link attached in the mail regarding the ‘Confirmation of Bank Account’ or ATM Card details. So, be careful and never share your bank or debit card details to anyone, including your banker.