This is the tax season and people whose income is above the minimum exemption limit are rushing to file Income Tax Returns (ITR); as the deadline nears. On the other hand, taxpayers who have already filed their ITR are waiting for a tax refund. Cybercriminals are misusing this situation to cheat people and make quick money. This happens each year during the tax season and many people have lost their money.
Fraudsters are very innovative and have come up with new tricks to cheat people of their hard-earned money. This year cybercriminals are using the vishing method to trick taxpayers. They send SMS to people, pretending to be from the Income Tax Department and collect bank account details.
According to Pune-based Quick Heal Technologies, the messages are sent with a note to catch the recipient's attention. The messages say that he/she has been approved on an income-tax refund of a certain amount.
See Also: Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion
This message will be sent as follows
You have been approved an income tax refund of Rs. 15,000/-, the amount will be credited to your account shortly. Please verify your account number 5XXXXX6755. If this is not correct, please update your bank account information by visiting the link below. https://bit.ly/20wpYK6.
The message is then followed by an incorrect bank account number; which asks the recipient to click on a link if the account number is incorrect, thereby making him/her a naive victim.
The message contains a bank account number which asks the recipient to update the account number by clicking on the link; if the bank account number is wrong. The account number provided in the message is a fake and this is trick used by fraudsters to collect the bank account details of people.
Once the victims click on the link provided in the message, they are taken to a fraudulent website which looks similar to the I-T Department site and are asked to enter login details created on the I-T Department website. After that, they will be asked to enter the correct bank account details.
After the details are collected, fraudsters call up victims posing as I-T officials and ask them to pay the fine for being irregular with the IT returns. It is a trick used to intimidate the victims. The scam does not end here. Fraudsters login to the original I-T department website by using the login details provided by the victims and transfer funds from victim's account to their account or modify details, like phone number and email ID, which are required for validation purpose.
1. Never share your sensitive information like bank account number, PIN, OTP and so on to anyone over SMS, emails or phone calls.
2. Never click on any suspicious links which are sent to you through SMS or emails.
3. Even if you open a link accidentally, never give your personal information.
See Also: 5 Income Tax Notices You Receive
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