Online scam disguised as a 'Tax Refund Notification'

The web-age is a boon in many ways. However, each coin has two sides and we just brushed through the other side. Online scams have been on a rise and the social networking fad has elevated it further. We came across a mail stating tax refund earlier today. The email appeared to be sent on behalf of the official Indian Income Tax website. On digging deeper, the email was confirmed to be fraudulent. The link takes you to a website hosted in Poland and eventually prompts at adding your bank’s login details. One needs to beware of such malicious emails, which may appear genuine on the outside.

Online scam

The fraudulent e-mail (Image Source: Marco D'Souza)


The email read, “We have read your tax fiscal payment for previous years and have resolved that you are qualified for a refund of the sum 36,120.25 which is your accumulated tax access. Please submit a tax refund request and allow us to process it within 7 working days.”


According to the data maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of cases under Information Technology Act has more than doubled last year with 966 registered cyber crime cases. And, cyber crime cases reported under Cyber Crime related Sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) sum up to a total of 356 for 2010, compared to 276 in the year 2009. Seemingly, it shows an increasing trend and one shouldn’t be surprised to see a much higher number this year, taking into account the deeper penetration of Internet in India. On contrary, there has been a dip in the government website hacked by malicious groups, Compared to the 252 government websites hacked last year, the figure shows 219 websites for the period between January 2011 to October 2011. There have been amended acts to fight and prevent such crimes along with stringent punishments like fine and imprisonment.

One has to be alert while accessing emails or websites that ask for confidential personal information, and even clicking on dialog boxes and executing files. With the social networks in picture, one should always recheck such requests, even if sent through a friend.


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Image credit: Getty Images

Published Date: Dec 01, 2011 03:18 pm | Updated Date: Dec 01, 2011 03:18 pm