In a sneaky attempt to cash in on the rush at the end of financial year, cyber criminals have started sending out emails posing as the income tax (I-T) department, asking for net banking details of accounts to which they say the refunds will be issued.
Getting wind of the scam, the I-T department has cautioned people against sharing any information related to their accounts or debit/credit cards and warned them to avoid responding to such mails altogether.
The latest modus operandi has come to light with many people receiving such emails in the past few days. I-T officials said cyber criminals have shifted to asking for net banking details instead of card details to trap taxpayers with what they think is a more believable ask. “Many people now pay their taxes online, hence the cyber criminals are now using this new way to dupe people,” said chartered accountant Naresh Dharia, who has himself come across the fraudulent message.
The email has been sent using the address Income Tax Refund Department, with the subject: Income Tax Department: Tax Refund Exercise Please Confirm Your Account Details. It asks taxpayers to download a form and fill in bank and net banking details as part of a tax refund exercise valid for a limited period.
“If anybody does this [send the details], they will lose money as the fraudster can hack into their account and transfer their balance,” said an I-T official. He added that banks also send out cautionary messages saying they do not send mails asking for confidential information.
Senior I-T officials said they suspect the involvement of a Nigerian, Pakistani or Israeli gang. On checking the Internet Protocol (IP) address the mails came from, the department found they were from different countries.