In a digital age rife with scams, the Press Information Bureau’s (PIB) Fact Check has issued a warning regarding a fake income tax return (ITR) refund message circulating. The viral message falsely informs recipients of an approved income tax refund of Rs 15,490, urging them to update their bank account information through a provided link.
However, the PIB Fact Check clarifies that the income tax department never includes a link for refunds. Authentic refunds are issued only after due processing of the ITR by the Income Tax Department. It is crucial to understand that starting August 2023, tax filers are required to e-verify their returns within 30 days of filing. Neglecting this step renders the ITR invalid, tantamount to non-filing.
The PIB Fact Check team emphasizes caution against sharing sensitive information and stresses the importance of verifying message authenticity before taking any action related to income tax returns. They also caution against sharing debit or credit card information on websites linked via SMS, as these could be phishing scams aimed at stealing personal financial details.
The Income Tax Department does not solicit detailed personal information through email, nor does it request PIN numbers, passwords, or access information for financial accounts. To report suspicious emails or websites pretending to be associated with the Income Tax Department, individuals are advised to forward such communications to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, accompanied by the internet header of the email.
When encountering emails claiming to be authorized by the Income Tax Department, it is advised to refrain from replying, opening attachments, or clicking on links. Anti-virus software, anti-spyware, and firewalls are recommended for protection against malicious software that may compromise computers or track online activities without consent.
In summary, staying vigilant against potential scams is essential in today’s digital landscape. By adhering to these precautions and promptly reporting suspicious communications, individuals can safeguard their financial and personal information from phishing attempts and fraudulent schemes.