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Frauds galore in the name of Income Tax


Digital technology is currently advancing rapidly, and fraudsters are also looking to exploit it as much as possible, and now they are targeting innocent taxpayers. Fraudsters are using Social engineering tactics, which is the practise or art of convincing people to compromise their personal information. They are targeting members who have a PAN card and manipulating their perceptions, posing as Income Tax Officers and making them divulge information. They usually claim either (a) Victim hasn’t paid enough taxes as per his earnings (b) There is a tax refund because he excessively paid taxes. (c) Hasn’t paid taxes on time.

Income tax frauds are usually common in the USA but not in India. In the last couple of years, we have seen an unfortunate surge in India, with scammers exploiting the fear of taxpayers about filing returns, claiming refunds, and paying fines for paying less taxes. These scammers impersonate official income tax officers and use common social engineering tactics to create a sense of urgency and fear among their victims and make them believe that quick action is required not to fall behind bars or face huge penalty charges.

Common techniques used by scammers :

The modus operandi of fake income tax officers calling and trapping innocent victims is a well-orchestrated series of steps designed to deceive and manipulate individuals.

  • Scammers use various techniques to appear legitimate and sent emails most likely use spoof emails with fake official letterheads, logos, and email addresses that closely resemble the real Income Tax Department. Victims mostly agree to scammers claims that failure to comply will result in legal actions, arrest, or tax raids.
  • Spoofed income tax websites will trick users into entering their personal information and making payments for either (a) The victim paying taxes as per his earnings or (b) Getting a tax refund because he excessively paid. (c) Paying taxes since he hasn’t paid on time.
  • Scammers make calls from spoofed income tax office phone numbers pretending to be tax officers and intimidate taxpayers by threatening legal action, fines, or arrests if they fail to comply with their demands. Assuming it is true, victims reveal all personal information and also make immediate payments to avoid getting into trouble.
  • Scammers may demand immediate payments for “processing fees,” “tax liabilities,” or “penalties” to facilitate the high returns they promised. They typically ask for payments through unconventional methods, such as crypto currency or prepaid cards, making it difficult to trace the transactions
  • To entice their targets, fraudsters promise unusually high tax refunds or returns, claiming that the target is eligible for special benefits or exemptions. These promises are made to manipulate individuals into cooperating with the scammers’ requests.

Protecting yourself from income tax fraud:

  • Never download any applications from websites (i.e., APK and DMZ files). Download application from either Play Store or App Store.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited emails and messages. All official communication from the tax authorities is typically sent through traditional post mail or from an official email and not from Gmail etc,
  • Ensure you see the complete email header before opening any link attached to the email. (a) (b)
  • Check the validity of SMS by logging in and checking the SMS headers at
  • Never click on short links received via SMS or WhatsApp. First un-shorten them ( or and confirm they are not phishing links before you open them. or
  • The Income Tax Department will never ask for sensitive information, such as your PAN number, bank details, or OTP, through email or phone. Never share such information with anyone who contacts you unexpectedly.
  • Always verify the website URL before providing any personal information. The official website of the Income Tax Department in India is
  • Pay fees, penalties or claim refunds only through official website.
  • Keep yourself updated on the latest scams and fraud tactics by regularly checking official government websites and news sources.

Reporting an income tax fraud:

  • If you receive a suspicious message, email, or phone call, report it immediately to the Income Tax Department or local law enforcement authorities, forward the e-mail or website URL to and ensure a copy may also be forwarded to
  • If the money is lost when paying via any UPI payment, call the toll-free number 14448 or report it at, or alternatively, email your complaint to
  • If you are a victim of cybercrime (lost money via bank, card, or UPI), call the toll-free number 1930, Citizen Financial Fraud Management Systems, or register a complaint at