Income tax (I-T) authorities suspect a Nigerian syndicate behind the fraud emails on tax refunds currently targeted at Indians.
However, those behind the fraud could not be nailed last year when such emails first started coming in, as the Internet Protocol (IP) address was traced to a foreign country.
“The syndicate behind this fraud is suspected to be the same as that behind one of the many lottery scams,” an I-T official said requesting anonymity. He said the gang was also suspected to be behind emails sent in the name of various banks asking the receiver to update account details.
“Once somebody falls for their con and gives out details, they operate the person’s bank account using the internet banking facility,” the official said.
He said the bank account details were not used just to siphon off the balance, but sometimes also to transfer illegal money through internet banking.
Officials said to make it look like an authentic email from the department the fraudsters even created a page identical to the department’s official web page.
The email being sent currently also ends with “tax refund department, department of revenue, ministry of finance, India”, so that taxpayers are easily fooled.
The official said this time the fraudsters have also asked recipients of the emails to fill in their information correctly to enable them to make the refund without delay.
The mail says the refund can be delayed for some reason including “applying after deadline of notification” or “submitting incorrect account information”.
“This is done so that the email receiver gives accurate information,” the official said.
He added that since the fraudsters were operating from outside the country and were untraceable, there was no other way but to keep cautioning taxpayers frequently.