Income Tax

Be on the Alert for Tax Scams

Be on the Alert for Tax Scams

Last Updated : March 1, 2024, 6:01 p.m.

In the wake of income tax return (ITR) filings, scammers are exploiting the refund process to deceive taxpayers. As you navigate the digital landscape, receiving an unexpected message claiming an approved income tax refund might seem like a pleasant surprise, but it could be a tax scam. Widespread tax scams involve taxpayers receiving messages like the one shared by the Government’s official fact-checker, PIB FactCheck. The fraudulent message reads: “Dear Sir, You have been approved an income tax refund of Rs. 15,490/-, the amount will be credited to your account shortly. Please verify your account number 5*8564. If this is incorrect, please update your bank account information by visiting the link below: [Scam Link].”

It’s crucial to remember that the income tax department will never request your bank account details, updates, or verification through messages. Genuine refunds are seamlessly transferred into pre-approved bank accounts provided during the ITR filing process. Moreover, the income tax division communicates with taxpayers through registered mobile numbers and email addresses for refund-related notifications. The income tax department has clarified that such communication is never conducted through messaging platforms. Instead, taxpayers are notified via official channels if any issues arise during the ITR processing, requiring additional information.

Tips for Taxpayers to Avoid Tax Scams

Here are some key points to protect yourself from falling victim to tax scams:

  • Avoid Clicking Suspicious Links: Refrain from clicking on any links received through SMS or messaging apps. Exercise caution and only respond to official communication received directly from the Income Tax Department.
  • Report Suspected Scams: If you receive a message urging you to click on a link for updating or verifying your bank details, report it to the Income Tax Department promptly.
  • Stay Informed about ITR Filing Dates: Understand the deadlines for filing ITR to avoid late fees and additional penalties. As a reminder, the due date for salaried workers and others with unaudited accounts was July 31, 2023. While late filings are accepted until December 31, it’s crucial to remain cautious and prioritize official communication channels to safeguard your financial information during this period of increased scam activity.

As of July 31, the Income Tax Department processed over 3.44 crore ITRs out of the 6.7 crore filings, emphasizing the need for taxpayers to remain vigilant against emerging threats. Stay informed, stay cautious, and protect your hard-earned money from potential scammers lurking in the digital shadows.

Reporting and Identification of Phishing, Fraudulent Refund E-mail Scams, and Fake Income Tax Websites

Disclaimer: The Income Tax Department strictly refrains from soliciting detailed personal information via email. It never requests PIN numbers, passwords, or similar access information for credit cards, banks, or other financial accounts through email.

Identification of phishing/fraudulent refund e-mails:

  1. Check Sender’s Address: Verify the sender’s email address carefully. Legitimate communication from the Income Tax Department will use official domains.
  2. Grammar and Spelling: Beware of emails with poor grammar or spelling errors, as these are common signs of phishing attempts.
  3. Hover over Links: Hover over any embedded links without clicking to reveal the actual URL. Ensure it directs to the official Income Tax Department website.
  4. Official Communication: The Income Tax Department primarily communicates through registered emails and mobile numbers. Be wary of unsolicited emails.
  5. Avoiding Clicks: Refrain from clicking on links or downloading attachments in suspicious emails. Report such instances directly to the Income Tax Department.

Stay informed and protect your sensitive information from potential phishing threats and fraudulent activities.


In the digital age, tax scams and phishing attempts are unfortunate realities. The Income Tax Department remains committed to ensuring taxpayer security. By understanding the red flags of phishing emails, verifying sender details, and staying vigilant against unsolicited requests, individuals can fortify their defences.

Remember, the Income Tax Department will never seek sensitive information via email. Genuine communications are routed through registered channels. As we navigate the complexities of the tax season, let’s prioritize cyber hygiene, report suspicious activity promptly, and collectively contribute to a secure financial environment. Stay informed, stay cautious, and protect yourself against deceptive tax-related schemes.

Related Post