I-T dept’s website cloned | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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I-T dept’s website cloned

In an attempt to cash in on the financial year end rush, fraudsters have cloned the official website of the income tax (I-T) department to send emails to people seeking minute details of debit and credit cards to issue refund.

mumbai Updated: Mar 11, 2010 01:27 IST
Manish Pachouly

In an attempt to cash in on the financial year end rush, fraudsters have cloned the official website of the income tax (I-T) department to send emails to people seeking minute details of debit and credit cards to issue refund.

The emails are being sent from addresses similar to the I-T department, along with a link saying: “Tax Refund Online Form”, clicking on which the (email) receiver reaches the cloned website of the department with the heading: “Where’s My Refund”.

The department has already issued an alert message on their website and had advertised saying: “It is clarified that the income tax department does not send emails regarding refunds and does not seek any information regarding credit cards of taxpayers.”

The alert message by the department also cautions taxpayers that they should not respond to such emails.

The emails, most of which have come from the address Income Tax Department refund-tax@incometaxindia.gov ‘informs’ the email receiver that he or she is eligible of a tax refund of certain amount. In most cases, the amount is mentioned as Rs 820.50.

The email asks the person to submit details through an online form and give the department 3 to 5 business days to process it. It also says that the account holders at Bank of India will receive the money within 12 hours after filling the form.

The email further mentions that if refund is not received in 5 business days, the person can start a refund trace online.

The mail asks for every minute detail of debit/credit card including the card number, card verification number and ATM Pin.

Senior I-T officials said that the department suspects involvement of a gang from either Nigeria, Pakistan or Israel. On checking the Internet Protocol address, the department found that the mails came from different countries.

Shishir Jha, spokesperson for Central Board of Direct Taxes that governs the I-T department, said that they had recently lodged a complaint with the cyber cell of Delhi police.

He said the CBDT has also written to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) of the Department of Information Technology. CERT is a referral agency of the Indian Community for responding to computer security incidents as and when they occur.

The department had received similar complaints last October when fraudsters were sending messages for refund through two different email addresses - lhxbkw@accounts.net and cvhfvs@accounts.net.

However, on that occasion the official website of the department was not cloned. The department suspects that last year, the fraudsters would have made test attempts to see the response.