GST phishing schemes on the rise during COVID-19 crisis
- Aug 10, 2020 | Divita S Gupta
While businesses are struggling to stay afloat and the Government is tirelessly working to implement reform and relief measures during the COVID-19 economic crisis, online fraudsters seem to be raising their ugly heads trying to swindle taxpayers of their hard earned money.
Over the last few weeks, online phishing schemes have come to light under which taxpayers are being lured with the false promise of a GST refund from the Government. Several taxpayers have received such phishing messages stating that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Central government has started online processing of GST refund. The receiver of the message is also provided with a hyperlink to claim the refund. The link directs taxpayers to another tab which asks for credit card or debit card details including the card number, name on the card, validity of the card, the card verification value or CVV code and date of birth of the taxpayer.
These bogus websites have the potential to steal sensitive and personal data from taxpayers including financial data. Cybercrime authorities across India are warning taxpayers against clicking on such bogus links stating that there is no such scheme for returning tax refunds and are insisting that taxpayers only visit the authentic and authorised Government hosted website to file their GST returns.
The Income Tax department as well as the Central Board for Indirect Taxes and Customs have already issued notifications warning taxpayers about phishing schemes that are currently trying to take advantage of the economic panic onset by the Coronavirus outbreak.