ITR Refund Fraud: Why you should exercise caution when clicking on the link of income tax refund?

Cybercrime cases have grown significantly in recent times and the scammers have found a new easy target among taxpayers, especially those who are waiting for their refund after filing Income Tax Return (ITR). The deadline to file ITR was July 31, 2023, and the Income Tax Department has started processing refunds for eligible taxpayers.

As a large number of assessees are waiting for ITR refunds, the online fraudsters are targeting them by sending fake links. Many taxpayers have reported receiving phishing messages. The scammers are impersonating the tax officials and sending fake links for income tax refunds. Notably, the Income Tax Department has been sharing cautionary advice to taxpayers asking them to remain aware of such fake links and to refrain from disclosing any personal information based on such messages.

While taxpayers may get confused after receiving such messages, often believing that the messages are genuine and they have indeed received their ITR refunds, there is a need to remain alert while clicking on the links provided in such messages.

PIB Fact Check warns about fake ITR refund messages

The PIB Fact Check, a part of the Press Information Bureau,  while sharing one such example of a fake message claiming an ITR refund of Rs 15,490, cautioned taxpayers about how scammers are luring them into updating their bank account information through fraud links. It also warned people from sharing any sort of sensitive information and to verify the authenticity of the messages before taking any action.



On the other hand, the Income Tax Department has also clarified that it does not send any messages with URLs to confirm or offer ITR refunds.

How to avoid ITR Refund scams?

It is advisable not to click on the links provided in unverified messages and further refrain from sharing personal details like PAN number, Aadhaar, OTP, debit or credit card information and bank account details.

On the other hand, taxpayers must ensure that they don’t engage with the messages in any form, including replying to them, opening attachments, or clicking on the links as they can unknowingly install malware into their system.

Meanwhile, to receive genuine updates about their ITR refunds, the taxpayers can access the official website of the Income Tax Department at and log in with their credentials.

The Income Tax refund could take between 10-45 days after you e-verify your ITR filing. So, it’s advisable to wait during this period or to check the status only on the official portal of the I-T Department

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