Income Tax Refund Online FRAUD: A Reader shares her experience!!

Internet frauds have become very common now. Due to insufficient knowledge and lure of easy money, many people become victims of these fraudsters who look for perfect time and opportunity to make a killing….

And this time, I think they want to do it by way of asking people to pay for getting their Income tax refunds!!

Today, I am sharing an experience of one of the readers of the blog and my friend, who received a peculiar e-mail and called me to know more about it…

I knew what it was, but requested her to put it down in her own words for benefit of readers. And she has done a fantastic job…so, let’s hear the story:

Internet Fraud

photo courtesy: Mary597

………………Today when I opened my mailbox to check new mails, I found THIS mail with subject “Tax Refund alert”

A bit curious, I quickly clicked on the link to check what refund they are talking about?  The screen looked like:

 pic2

Page was designed so accurately that no one would question about its worthiness.

Just look at their typical financial language, email address “incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in”, calculated amount and the signature (Income tax Dept. Board of Revenue, India) have been used such that it all appeared so legitimate.

Looking at the calculated amount, I first got a doubt as how come such big amount (with commas and zero’s) pending for payment since as per return filed by me a month back, only an amount of some Rs. 1000 was due as refund.

I checked the email address of the mail to know whether it has come from a legitimate source or not.. and I got few hints which added to my suspicion:

  • In the sender subject line, noreply011 was written in place of noreply (usually the sites use noreply if they don’t want any replies on this mail)
  •  The e-mail was shown as sent from server “victoria.servidonline….”

By now, I was almost sure of what this e-mail was all about. Still, to confirm, I put my doubts aside and actually clicked on the link provided in bold “SUBMIT REFUND REQUEST”

It took me to http://70.33.209.92/~bayviewm/images/cgi/index.html?url=incometaxindia.gov.in

And the screen looked like below:

        pic3       

The URL of authorised website of Income Tax Department, India is www.incometaxindia.gov.in, here came the first doubt…..

Interesting, but the design seemed exactly similar to the Income tax website.

I wanted to collect few more things which will boost my suspicion, I then selected ICICI Bank Net Banking option, now look at the site address it is taking me to: http://70.33.209.92/~bayviewm/images/cgi/icicibank/indexx.html which is not the true link.

They have also created separate pages to mimic those of ICICI Bank website for their purpose.

 pic4png

ICICI bank’s net banking link is https://infinity.icicibank.co.in/BANKAWAY?Action.RetUser.Init.001=Y&AppSignonBankId=ICI&AppType=corporate&abrdPrf=N

I did not proceed after that, because by now, I was clear on the malicious intentions behind the e-mail.”

Small note to Readers:

Most of you have filed your income tax returns around a month or two back and some of you are expecting refunds. The standard process of Income Tax department is that on closure of summary assessment, an assessment order is issued stating the amount of refund.

And then, the refund as shown in assessment order is sent. If you had filed return online and given your bank details, the IT department credits it online in your account and a separate advice is sent by SBI on behalf of Income Tax department. If you have not indicated to receive refund by direct credit, refund cheque is sent to your postal address as appearing in Income Tax database.

Please note that the Income Tax Department will NEVER send you such e-mails and ask you to provide your personal information, bank account information in this manner to get refund. They already have all your information stored in their database.

Please remember these points:

  • Never open Income tax website (or for that matter, even a bank’s website) from a link. Go to the URL bar and actually type the URL yourself.
  • Even if you are taken to a page through a link, check the URL bar. If it seems suspicious, don’t proceed.

The idea behind sharing this is to ensure that you protect yourself from such frauds, AND also save others from becoming a victim of this racket. Please share your thoughts.