New Delhi: Now that the taxpayers are waiting for their I-T return mails, an information-stealing computer malware is being sent camouflaged as an I-T department mail, CERT-in, the government’s nodal cybersecurity body, has said issued a warning to both individual users and businesses.

As emails from the I-T department are taken seriously, this disguise has been chosen.

The advisory said at least two variants of the latest malware emails have been observed. The first variant includes an attachment with extension “.img” which contains a malicious “.pif” file. The second variant is a “.pif” file hosted on a sharepoint page via a link of fraudulent domain incometaxindia[.]info.

So, what should you do if you receive these emails?

1. Do not open documents from untrusted sources
2. Disable running macros in MS Office by default.
3. Don’t open attachments in unsolicited e-mails.
4. Don’t click on unknown URL even if they appear benign.
5. If you think the link is genuine, don’t click on it from your mail. Go to the website of the company and find out the link
6. Update your phones and PCs with the latest security updates
7. Never reveal the one-time password to anyone
8. The tax department never seeks any information from a taxpayer, especially information like username, password, and details of debit and credit card over email.
8. No I-T official will mail you asking you to download an app. So, beware of such absurd requests.
9. If you suspect an email of dubious content, forward the email or website URL to phishing@incometax.gov.in. A copy may also be forwarded to incident@cert-in.org.in.
10. If you have already fallen prey to such phishing scams, inform the police immediately.

This year, a record 49,29, 191 ITRs (Income Tax Returns) have been filed before August 31, the deadline to file ITR for 2019-20. A total of 7.19 crore income tax returns (ITRs) have been processed in 2018-19. The total amount of refunds released in 2018-19 is ₹1,61,457.6 crore.