Beware: The 'Old e-filing Portal Would be Unavailable' Email is Spam
Moneylife Digital Team 23 June 2021
While the income tax (I-T) department is still struggling with its newly launched portal, fraudsters are sending emails to taxpayers about the unavailability of the old e-filing portal.
 
However, this message sent from a Gmail email ID is spam and it is advisable to never open such an email or any file attached or click on any link in the email or the attached file.
 
Closer investigation reveals that this dangerous email, is being sent from ‘[email protected]’ in the name of 'incometax department'. This is not the official way how the I-T department communicates with taxpayers. 
 
Further, the subject line of this spam mail and the text of the message are completely different. Its subject line says, "New e-filing Portal www.income.tax.gov.in launch on June 22th - existing e-filing portal unavailable from June 22th to June 25th, 2021 Plan your work accordingly."
 
However, the email plainly says, "Please find attachment with this email for your all important information within documents. Your Acknowledgement is attachment...No further action needed from your end..." More about the PDF file later.
 
Basically, there is nothing in this message relevant to the subject line and all it insists on is, downloading a PDF file. In the PDF file, there is a link to "Download All PDF files here". This link takes you to a website covin.work, which is nowhere related to I-T department. In fact, it opens a page looking like the Gmail login page.
 
However, the fraudsters, keen to steal your Gmail credentials, cannot write proper English. For example, here they forgot add 'n' in Learn. "Not your computer? Use Guest mode to sign in privately. Lear More," is what is displayed on this link. Plus, the language used here is English from UK, while Gmail uses US English as default language, unless you had changed it.
 
 
The official Gmail page, says, "Not your computer? Use a private browsing window to sign in. Learn more."
 
Coming back to the PDF file, it appears like just an attempt to deceive the recipient about the 'genuineness' of the mail. The PDF mainly talks about some challan and appears to have copy-pasted the text from an official website without making any effort to format the text.
 
Basically, this email and all links, files attached with it are fake and aimed to collect personal data or information from taxpayers.
 
You can immediately delete the mail. Also since this is a misleading email, you can file a complaint against the Gmail ID from where this mail is sent to Google. (Read: How To Report a Fraudulent Gmail Account
 
A few years ago, scamsters used to send what appeared to be an I-T tax payment challan receipt via email. Those emails contained some obvious signals that revealed they were fake, spam or malicious.
 
Later, the fraudsters became smarter and hence, more dangerous. They not only used official email IDs, but were also making the body text looks like the original communication from the tax authorities. They even spoofed the email ID of [email protected] (Read: Beware: The 'Notice of Outstanding Income Tax Demand' Email is Spam)
 
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