MAN LOSES RS 1 LAKH AFTER RESPONDING TO EMAIL FROM 'I-T DEPT'
Date of Publishing:14/10/2010
BEWARE,I-T'S A PHISHING BAIT! If you get an email asking you to click on a link and get an income tax refund, don’t! Fraudsters are using these to access your bank account. Not only that, they ensure your cellphone is unreachable
As if it wasn't enough to be duped by emails telling you that you have won a million dollars in a lottery and asking for your bank account details, now fraudsters have brought in the Income Tax Department (I-T) as well. Citizens have started reacting to public advisory messages sent out by the Cyber Crime Cell of the Pune Police Commissionerate and media reports about not responding to such mails, but these conmen are not giving up. Now, you get emails from the Income Tax Department stating that that your tax refund is due and asking you to submit a refund request. Tempted, you click on the given link, and you are trapped! Recent targets have been national sales manager of a company, Vinod Shettigar and city-based businessman Sandeep Nigade, both of whom received the emails.
While an alert Shettigar suspected foul play, approached the Cyber Crime Cell and blocked all his cards and accounts, Nigade took the email to be genuine and ended up losing over Rs one lakh. Now, Nigade has also lodged a complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell.
Nigade said, "On October 3, I received an email from the Income Tax Department saying that my tax fiscal payment for the previous months have been reviewed and that I am eligible for a tax refund of Rs 47,250.50. I was asked to click on a given link to submit my refund request. The mail said that the refund would be directly transferred to my account. When I clicked on the link, I was taken directly to the ICICI Bank website which I use regularly for netbanking. I confirmed my account details so that the refund would not get delayed."
Nigade added, "On October 7, I received an email from the ICICI Bank. It said that my account had been violated and that I needed to re-verify my account or else my netbanking facility would be disabled. On the same day, I got a message from Airtel on my mobile phone which read, "Your request id for changing your SIM no from 8991900000109158F to 8991901007135164751F is 319138951. You will receive a confirmation SMS once it is completed.'
You get a mail, telling you you're due for an I-T refund You click on the given link and get re-directed to what looks like your bank website You submit your details, which are sent to the scamsters They then call your cell phone service provider and block your SIM by asking for a new one They then transfer money from your account.You don't get an SMS alert because your SIM has been blocked Beware, I-T’s a phishing bait!
After that, my SIM card kept getting rejected and my cell phone stopped working. I called up Airtel customer care, but they said that I had asked them to change the number. Later, when I came home, my father told me that ICICI Bank officials had called up to inform me that an amount of Rs one lakh had been transferred from my account to a one in Mumbai. They felt that something had gone awry because of which they tried to reach me on my cellphone but could not. It was then that I approached the Cyber Crime Cell for help."
When this reporter spoke to Vinod Shettigar, he had a similar story to tell. "I also got a similar mail. A tax refund sounding tempting and I clicked on the link given in the mail and entered all my details. But then, I thought of checking with the Income Tax Department. When I called the IT department, they clarified that no such mails had been sent by them. I immediately blocked my account and complained to the Cyber Crime Cell."
When we spoke to Deputy Commissioner of Police, Rajendra Dahale regarding this new style of duping citizens, said, "While people are now more careful in responding to such emails, the fraudsters have come up with new ways to trap them. Basically, all these spam mails have a link. When we click on it, it redirects us to a fraudulent site which looks authentic. When we give our details, they all go to the perpetrators rather than to the service providers. So, one should not click on any link sent in such mails."
Inspector in-charge of Cyber Crime Cell, Sangeeta Alphonso said, "Fraudsters are also using this technique of disabling SMS alerts of transactions sent by the concerned bank. They call the mobile service provider's customer care executives and ask for a new SIM. So, if citizens receive any SMS from the phone service provider, they should immediately alert us. Right now, phishing cases have crossed the number of Nigerian fraud cases. Out of the 209 cases registered till now, almost 50 per cent are phishing cases."
Cyber Crime Expert-Pune Police and founder and CTO of Net-Conclave Systems, Niranjan Reddy said, "Never assume that an email is valid based on the sender's email address. A trusted bank/organisation will never ask you for your full name and password. An email from a trusted organisation will never contain attachments or software. Clicking on a link in an email is the most insecure way to get to your account. Know that links to phishing pages are usually spread via email, and often impersonate trusted services and persons, such as making the email appear as though it has been sent from a website where you’re registered, or posing as a friend of yours whose account has been compromised."
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