Individual tax payers often receive tax notices through E-mail relating to outstanding tax payment and it becomes difficult for them to segregate between the real and spam. This spam IT Notice looks like legitimate letters from the Income Tax department. Cyber criminals are finding alternative ways to steal client data from tax professionals that may be used to file fraudulent tax returns or other things that we cannot imagine.
Earlier, fraudsters used to send an E-mail that contains signs and symbols allowing easy recognition of a fake notice. But now they have refined it by sending the mail through official looking email IDs and contents that look very similar to the original communication from the tax authorities. It looks real to the extent that it is almost impossible to differentiate between a genuine notice and a fake one. Hence, it is important for everyone to stay updated on how to protect themselves from such spam tax notices.
How to identify it is a fake tax notice?
A spam tax notice may contain words that relate to threatening or crime while a genuine notice from the IT department never contains such words.
A real tax notice will never demand payment without giving an opportunity to question or appeal the amount they mention a taxpayer owes.
A real tax notice will never ask for credit or debit card number and any other personal or financial information over the phone, texts, email or social media.
A fake notice may demand immediate payment and require a taxpayer to use only a specific payment method like a gift card or wire transfer.
The spam IT Notice greets you as Dear Taxpayer without mentioning your name, while the Income Tax Department refers the taxpayer by their full name.
The IT department never uses words like Notice of Outstanding Income Tax Demand to be paid in the email but the Spam IT Notice would.
The fake notice may contain an attachment or file that may install some malware on a person’s system.
A real tax notice is digitally signed and shares a link to know the process of validation of digital signatures. However, the fake notice contains a link that is not from the IT department website.
The same spam tax notice may sometimes be sent to several persons while the real notice is never sent to many persons at a time as it contains the PAN number of the taxpayer.
What to do if you receive spam IT notice
If you receive any spam IT notice , you should keep these little yet important things in your mind to protect your information and money.
Never make hasty decisions and do not reply to the suspicious message or mail directly.
Never provide your personal information via phone, email or text message.
Never send money just by seeing the mention of word ‘Urgent’.
Do not click on any link in the email or download any attachment as they may contain malware.
Install an anti-virus software on your device.
If you receive an E-mail that pretends to be of income tax department, forward the E-mail to the official mail id of IT department and contact them directly via the numbers or addresses listed on their website.