Indian Income tax refund messages could be a new cyber crime racket, being investigated

The racket was discovered a month ago when people started getting messages allegedly stating that they were sent from the I-T department

  • Published: August 3, 2018 12:42 PM IST

Cyber crime agencies in India are currently investigating a new crime racket, which involves fraudsters getting access to a victim’s income tax login details and thereby getting access to their bank accounts. The new racket was discovered a month ago, when people across the country started getting text messages allegedly stating that they were sent from the Income tax department.

According a report published by The Hindu, the impostors sent out messages to people right around the deadline for filing Income tax returns. The message states that the person’s income tax refund has been approved and mentions a random bank account number next to it. As the listed bank account number is wrong, the target is prompted to go update the details for the same by visiting the link mentioned in the message.

Clicking on the link further opens a website which looks similar to I-T Department’s official website. Here the target is instructed to enter their login ID and password for the online account he/she would have created on the actual I-T department website. After doing so, the next step requires the target to enter bank account details, which will now be easily accessible to the scamster, who sent the message.

Having access to the login ID and password for the I-T department website can open up possibilities for a wide range of threats. For starters, scammers can simply use it to transfer the I-T refund to a different bank account. They can also change the target’s cell phone number in the I-T department’s records, so they cannot be notified about the changes.

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The impact of the crime racket can be even worse. Superintendent of Police, Maharashtra Cyber Crime, Balsing Rajput was quoted by The Hindu saying, “This scam does not even need to be perpetrated by the original scamsters. They can simply sell the data in bulk to gangs involved in such activities, which happens quite often on the dark net,” further adding, “Last year, a similar scam was busted by the Thane police, where Indians accused were cheating citizens of the U.S. by posing as officials of the Internal Revenue Service.”

  • Published Date: August 3, 2018 12:42 PM IST