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Saturday 16 September 2017

Beware of Phishing Emails from fake Income Tax Dept.

A phishing campaign is fooling Indians into disclosing confidential data such as banking details, experts have warned, urging people to pay careful attention to any e-mail that purports to be from the Income Tax department.
There have been various cases reported across the country of tax payers receiving fake e-mails. These e-mails are more common during the tax return filing time as tax payers await communication from the Income tax department. If you are a tax payer who has received such an e-mail, be careful as it may be a phishing e-mail which would re-direct you to another website seeking your financial details like bank account number and other related details. These kinds of e-mails are camouflaged in a manner that one feels that it has come from an authentic e-mail id. The e-mail id would resemble the common ids used by CPC/ Income tax department. A wrong step could lead to compromise of one’s personal details and the person eventually becomes a victim of online fraud.

Basic checks before responding to such e-mails:
1.    Impromptu response should be avoided for electronic notices.
2.    Always cross check the authenticity of the e-mail id from which you have received the e-mail. The income tax department sends e-mail from some common ids <>, <>, <>. There are e-mails widely in circulation from spoofed e-mail ids which almost resembles the generic ids of the tax department. Do remember that the Income tax department would not use private service providers’ e-mail ids like Gmail, Yahoo etc. Any e-mail from personal e-mail IDs and private service providers should be ignored.
3.    Before responding to the notices, please refer to details appearing on the Income tax portal. Any demand against your PAN appears on Income tax portal and the amount mentioned in a notice can be easily cross checked. Do corroborate the details mentioned in the notice with the return of income filed by you in the earlier years. Further, after e-filing, most of the services or requests can be raised online on Income tax portal itself. Rather than going through the link mentioned in the e-mail, you may independently open the authentic website, which is a user-friendly platform, <> and check all the pending actions against your PAN.
4.    You may also contact the Income tax department help centre, if in doubt. Contact the Customer care of Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) to verify the correctness of the notice. The contact numbers are 1800 425 2229 / +91 80 2254 6500 / 1800 103 4455.
5.    Last but not the least, please consult your tax advisor in case of any mismatch of details / suspicion. 
6.  Being vigilant and being aware of the current developments is the key to tackle such notices. This could save you from being a victim of new age e-frauds, so think before you respond.
Source: Financial Express, EY India, Hindustan Times
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