Coding Economy

Beware of Indian Income Tax Spoof emails

In the past I have seen many bogus emails claiming to be from US Income Tax (IRS) Department, most of those emails are poorly crafted and are immediate give-away for trained IT eyes like mine. These SPAM emails are sent by modern day crooks through Zombies to fish (phishing) your personal information like credit card or bank account passwords. Today I got an email claiming to be from Indian Income Tax department it looked so genuine at first site but for two sure easy give-aways. See the original email I got below.

Hoax email


Two items in the above email raised my suspicion are:

1.Income Tax Department when they are able to send a personalized email with the exact amount of Refund (Rs.36,120.25) surely knows my name or my PAN Number (Unique number for every Tax Payer), but this email says Valued TaxPayer. Indian IT Department normally addresses the taxpayer as “Assesse”.

2. Moving my mouse over the link (not clicking on it) titled “To Submit a request click here”  shows a web address which is different from incometaxindia.gov.in or *.gov.in. See the screenshot below. Copying the base web address alone from what was shown and visiting the site (please don’t try this at home) takes me an Arabic Website which does look genuine but seems to have been compromised (hacked into) and infected with malicious code that if visited can come down and infect your computer as well.

So this is certainly a fraud email and please delete it immediately without opening it. If you opened it and not clicked on the link nothing much may have happened. Run a scan of your machine and relax. If you are curious about what the page would have done here is a screenshot (please don’t try this at home, I have taken this from a safe Virtual PC that I have destroyed immediately after the screenshot), it redirects to another website which shows a cloned webpage of IT Department then sends you to your Bank’s website for online transfer. If you come this far and typed in your password, your money is gone. You may want to complain immediately to your banker and to the nearest Police station or Cybercrime branch – but there is very little of chance of your money coming back, as all these crimes are done across international borders.

The sender (spammer) of this email has done some things correct like the design of the email, sourcing the image (LOGO Image file of IT Department ) from IT Department’s official website itself.

There are of course more technical ways to identify the sender (and hence the authenticity) of an email through SMTP MailServer headers and so on, you can use a simple Bing! search to learn more.

1 Comment

  • A DEMAND NOTICE FOR AY 2005-06 I HAVE RECD. FROM CPC, INCOME TAX DEPT., BANAGALORE. I AM NOT SURE WHETHER THIS IS A GENUINE EMAIL SINCE THE MATTER IS RELATED TO AY2005-06 AND I HAVE HAD NO ADDITIONAL INCOME OTHER THAN PROVIDED BY MY EMPLOYER WHICH ALWAYS DEDUCTS INCOME TAX AT SOURCE. I AM NOT ABLE TO CONTACT CPC NOR THE IT WARD 27(2) OF KOLKATA CIRCLE AT BAMBOO VILLA. IS THERE NO OTHER WAY TO CONTACT THE OFFICIALS OF THE I T DEPTT?
    REGARDS
    B.SAHA
    RBI, AGARTALA