Beware of Phishing Scams in E-Filing Tax Returns!

Watch out for the bad guys of cyber space out there who want to get your personal financial details through phishing scam mails or fake online advertisements. McAfee, the antivirus software and computer security company, had recently notified that with increasing number of income tax e-filers, cyber goons could steal information of unsuspecting tax filers.

A typical tax refund phishing scam would send emails to a large number of people asking them to click on a link to collect their Income Tax refund. The link would lead to a website closely appearing like Income Tax departments website where personal financial details like bank account number, net banking password, debit/credit card PIN, will be asked to be disclosed in a form. Thats all they need, the next thing you realize your money is gone from the credit card or bank account.

Another important tactic cyber criminals could use is fake tax filling ads that lead to counterfeit websites which collect your financial details. Be cautious against questionable tax return preparers who charge inflated fees, offer false promises and will vanish with tax refund money and your financial details.

How to make out phishing emails

You can tell an email is part of a phishing scam by looking out for presence of links to a popular website (income tax site, in this case) and threats of consequences if you do not comply with what is asked to do. Phishing emails also have another common characteristic- poor grammar and spelling. If you carefully go through the mail youd be able to catch these errors, which respected organizations would never make in bulk emails they send.

Some links could lead to .exe files. These can embed malicious software on your computer through which the scammer pulls out information he is looking for. They could use graphics that resemble actual website but lead to fake websites with slightly altered addresses.

What to do with suspected phishing email

If you come across websites that appear to be fake or impersonating an original one, report it to the web browser using tools provided for the purpose and forward the email to Phishing scams linked to Income Tax department should be reported to it. Forward the email to

If there is a link in an email from an unsolicited source, do not click on it. Scroll your mouse over the link without clicking and check if the url displayed at the bottom left hand side of the screen is matching with the link. The real address could be different from the link, sometimes a string of cryptic characters. Do not copy and paste the link onto your browser. Do not open attachments, if any

Final caution

Remember that the Income Tax Department never asks for your PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts through e-mail. So open emails from only trustworthy sources and delete junk emails from unsolicited senders.

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