September 22, 2023

Government Issues Scam Alert for Fraudulent ITR Refund Claims via SMS

Fraudulent messages have become a pervasive menace, with scammers constantly devising new tactics to deceive unsuspecting individuals. The latest wave of scams now targets taxpayers and bears a striking resemblance to the notorious PAN update hoax. The Public Information Bureau (PIB) Fact Check has issued an official alert about a viral message that falsely claims the recipient is eligible for an income tax refund of Rs 15,490. The message further instructs recipients to update their bank account information by clicking on a provided link.

It is essential to recognize that the Income Tax Department will never issue a refund via a link in an SMS. Such messages should be approached with caution, as they might be phishing scams aimed at stealing sensitive financial information, such as debit or credit card details. The Income Tax Department does not seek detailed personal information through email, nor does it send emails requesting PIN numbers, passwords, or any other access information related to credit cards, banks, or financial accounts.

To safeguard yourself from falling victim to these scams, it is crucial to exercise certain precautions when dealing with suspicious emails or messages claiming to be from the Income Tax Department. Do not respond to such emails, refrain from opening any attachments they may contain, and avoid clicking on any links provided. It is also advised not to enter confidential information like bank account or credit card details on any websites linked from these messages. Phishers can manipulate links to appear legitimate but redirect users to malicious websites designed to exploit personal data.

Employing a robust defense system can fortify your online security. Use up-to-date anti-virus software, anti-spyware tools, and a firewall to protect against inadvertently accepting harmful files or malware. Some phishing emails may contain software that can harm your computer or track your online activities without your knowledge. By keeping your security software updated, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling prey to such scams.

If you encounter a suspicious email or website purporting to be from the Income Tax Department, report it immediately to [email protected]. For additional assistance, forward the message with its Internet header to [email protected]. The Internet header contains vital information that can aid in identifying the sender. After notifying the authorities, it is essential to delete the message promptly.

To check the status of your Income Tax Return (ITR), follow these simple steps on the government’s income tax portal:

  1. Visit and log in using your PAN or Aadhaar number as the user ID, along with your password.
  2. Once logged in, click on the ‘e-file’ option, then select ‘Income tax returns’ and choose ‘View Filed returns.’
  3. Check the latest ITR filed.
  4. Select the ‘View Details’ option to view the status of the filed ITR, including the date of tax refunds issued, the respective amounts, and the clearance dates.

By staying vigilant and adhering to these precautionary measures, taxpayers can protect themselves from falling victim to these deceptive ITR refund scams and maintain the security of their financial information.