Citizens' Issues
Another phishing mail on tax refunds resurfaces

Scamsters are using replicas of I-T department and bank login web pages to get your username and password. While the sites are no longer available, the emails are still in circulation

Taxpayers beware, especially those awaiting tax refunds from the Income Tax (I-T) department. Fraudsters, who claim to give I-T refunds online, are back in action. This time, they are promising even bigger refunds and have created pages that are a replica of the I-T department and your bank websites.

Moneylife had alerted readers in a report in October 2009, about a phishing mail, which claimed to give I-T refunds. (Read, 'Fraudsters want to give your I-T tax refund via mail!')These mails later vanished, or the circulation fell substantially. Now, a more sophisticated phishing mail has resurfaced again.

If you have read the earlier report, you would know how to identify a phishing mails. In the latest mail, the language acts like a big hoarding that reads, "SPAM" and "PHISHING", similar to the last email. The salutation in this mail says "Dear Valued Taxpayer" while the I-T department commonly uses "Dear Taxpayer". Similarly, the sign off in the mail reads "Tax Refund Department, Department of revenue, Ministry of finance, Government of India". The I-T department never mentions anything about the Ministry of Finance and Government of India.

This time, the figure mentioned as your tax refund is quite huge, but again reads 47,320.00 INR. The question to be asked is why would our I-T department use an international symbol like INR instead of Rs? Also, the I-T department never mentions any amount in its electronic communication, except in encrypted attachment or attached pdf files, which are password protected.

Another point in the mail is you need to submit a refund request to them, whereas the I-T department processes all refund claims on its own and sends the amount (if any) directly to your bank account or dispatches a cheque which mentions your bank account number and your name.

The next issue is that you have to click on a link to submit your request. And this is where it becomes more dangerous. The click opens a page that is a replica of the I-T department website, except for the IP address. The I-T department's site address is, while the address of the page that opens after clicking the link in the mail is Those who use Mozilla Firefox and a plug-in 'Web of Trust' or WOT, will immediately receive an alert that this site ( has a very poor reputation.

Although, the fake site appears genuine in terms of looks and design, the IP address again raises the banner, SPAM and PHISHING. In case you do not want to pay any heed, then click to select your bank. There are names of a few banks mentioned like Axis Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India (SBI) and so on. But the list is incomplete and you will find the label 'corporate' attached to some banks, like Bank of Maharashtra (corporate). What this 'corporate' means we don't know, and if this relates to state-run banks then why have SBI and Punjab National Bank not been given the tag?

If you still want to select your bank and click on the link, then it will take you to the login page of your bank, except that the URL or IP address remains unchanged. That is, it still reads This page also looks the same as your bank webpage and you may be prompted to provide your account number and password, which will be recorded by the spammers. No doubt, using your username and password they will immediately log in to your account and divert all the money to their own account.

When checked last, the links for the fake site were not working. The browsers were showing an error that the requested URL was not found on the server. It's possible that the Indian authorities or site owners of have removed the fake pages from the servers.

Those who have received such mails in their Gmail account can also mark it as a phishing attack. Open the mails (do not click on anything inside the mail, just open it to read). At the upper end on the right side, next to the 'reply' tab you will see a triangle pointing downwards. Click on it for more options. Click on 'report phishing' and it will send an alert to Google and the sender will be blocked from making a phishing attempt.



Rakesh Tripathi

7 years ago

Do we have Phishing reporting mechanism in India? If yes, have not read anything about it. I occasionally report phished emails to (US Computer Emergency Readiness Team). This area needs to be strengthened in India - so that citizens can report phishing readily.



In Reply to Rakesh Tripathi 7 years ago

No we do not have any mechanism for reporting phishing in India. However, you can report the incident to CERT-In ( Helpdesk +91-1800-11-4949)

Rakesh Tripathi

In Reply to MDT 7 years ago

Thanks. Just browsed through It is surprising to see that there is no phishing reporting mechanism in place. This is supposed to be one of its key functions. About incident reporting too, what purpose does it serve reporting via a printed PDF form ? Security incidents should be feasible to be reported online via web forms. (I do note that this is possible to be report via a telephone call, though)

Govt cannot completely control food prices: Chief economic adviser

New Delhi: As food inflation surged to 18.32%, a top adviser in the finance ministry today agreed with home minister P Chidambaram that the government does not have all the tools to control food prices since it is an enabling body, reports PTI.

"Absolutely," chief economic adviser Kaushik Basu told reporters when asked whether the government does not have all the tools to control food prices.

P Chidambaram, who had served as finance minister in the previous UPA regime, had yesterday wondered whether the government has all the tools to rein in high food prices.

"... Nor am I sure whether we have at our hand all the tools to control inflation. Some say we do, some say we don't (have tools to check price rise). At least in case of food inflation, I have not heard anyone arguing convincingly that we have all the tools to control food inflation," the home minister had said.

Mr Basu said, "I mean this is a huge country in terms of population and land area. It is an utter mistake to think that it is fully within the control of the government to move prices of food up and down."

"Government is just an enabling body, there are little local bodies taking decisions, there are private players taking decisions, farmers taking decisions ... Government can give signals, can intervene strategically to keep the situation as much under control as possible," he said.

While stating that food inflation at 18.32% is not comfortable, Mr Basu said the situation is being watched and appropriate action will be taken. He also said that the spurt in food inflation was expected, but not to the extent of 18.32%, recorded for the week ended 25th December.

He said the movement of onion, whose price rise resulted in surge in inflation, should be facilitated to bring down rates.

Mr Basu said he will emphasise on facilitating the onion movement at a meeting called by cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar to take stock of prices later today.

When asked that the government did not take steps when onion prices were at Rs40 per kg, and woke up only when the rates shot up to Rs75-Rs80 a kg, Mr Basu said, "I am not denying that there are occasions when slightly earlier moves could have been made, no two ways about that."

He, however, cautioned against using any blunt instrument like arbitrary fixing of prices to tame exceptionally high prices, as such a move results in shortage of commodities and retard growth.

"There has been increase in prices. These have to be tackled. True. But, we cannot tackle them with blunt instruments, it will lead to slow down in growth," he said.

Mr Basu said though food inflation is going up, the overall trend is southward.

"So, the situation (food inflation) is not good, not comfortable. We are watching it ... but the overall trend is downward one and we are going through a bit of rough patch over last few weeks," he added.

He said while overall December inflation would be higher than 7.48% in the previous month, it would decline in next one month.

The finance ministry has already revised its overall inflation target to 6.5% by the March end, from 6% as projected in the mid-year analysis tabled in Parliament last month.

The week-based inflation number, which is the highest for 2010 so far, was spiked by the rising onion and vegetable prices. Food inflation for the preceding week was recorded at 14.44%.

While vegetables became costlier by 58.58%, onion prices rose by 82.47% on an annual basis. On a weekly basis, onion rates rose by 23.01% in the wholesale markets.

Mr Basu said food inflation data released today was reflective of prices, before government steps to check rising prices of onion were announced.

The government banned onion exports and removed customs and countervailing duties on the bulb.

"These steps had moderating impact on onion prices," he added.

However, Pakistan has already stopped export of onions to India, a step that can blunt the impact of such measures.


Thursday Market Report: Small rally likely, but may not be sustainable

The market opened with modest gains this morning, upbeat on the economic recovery across the world. However, profit-taking, along with a steep rise in the weekly food inflation numbers, kept the indices range-bound and they closed lower for a third day.

The market opened up, then fell and stayed down through most of the day, breaking the support of 20,200 to close at 20,184.74, a loss of 116.36 points. The Nifty closed at 6,048.25, down 31.55 points. This is a seven-day closing low for the two indices. The three-day drop in the Sensex shows that the rally, which began on 10 December 2010, is losing strength. The next support for the Sensex lies at 20,000 (Nifty at 5,990). The indices are consistently making lower lows and lower highs. Also, institutional investors seem to be reluctant to commit money at current levels. On 5th January foreign institutional investors pulled out Rs240.30 crore and domestic institutions were also net sellers. It has been a slow and laboured rally from 10th December, but now the bulls are losing grip.

The market opened with gains of nearly 100 points this morning, tracking positive global cues. However, choppiness ahead of the release of the weekly food inflation numbers drove the indices into the red in the first hour itself. While the market was range-bound in negative terrain, a sharp spike in the weekly food inflation data pushed it lower in noon trade.

The market lacked conviction and stayed in a narrow range in the post-noon session, touching the day's low. It closed slightly higher after a minor recovery, but a negative close all the same.

The bellwether Sensex touched an intraday high of 20,425.85 in initial trade and a low of 20,107.17. The Nifty swung between a high-low of 6,116.15 and 6,022.30.

Declining stocks outnumbered the gainers. The Sensex had 19 losers against 11 gainers, while the Nifty closed with 33 decliners and 17 advancers. The broader indices underperformed the Sensex with the BSE Mid-cap index tanking 1.18% and the BSE Small-cap index declining 1.04%.

The top performers on the Sensex were Hindalco Industries (up 1.70%), TCS (up 1.39%), NTPC (up 1.33%), Bharti Airtel (up 0.96%) and Reliance Industries (up 0.94%). The major losers were Sterlite Industries (down 3.80%), Bajaj Auto (down 3.60%), ONGC (down 3.17%), Cipla (down 3.05%) and Maruti Suzuki (down 2.99%).

BSE IT (up 0.47%) and BSE TECk (up 0.37%) were the only gainers in the sectoral space. BSE Realty (down 2.41%), BSE Capital Goods (down 1.88%) and BSE Auto (down 1.59%) ended at the bottom of the sectoral table.

Soaring vegetable prices led to a sharp rise in food inflation at 18.32% for the week ended 25th December, from 14.44% in the previous week. The development could prompt the Reserve Bank of India to tighten monetary policy to check further escalation in commodity costs. The number is close to the high 19.90% of a year ago.

Asian markets ended mixed on Thursday as the surge in the value of the dollar boosted Japanese stocks, while Chinese stocks ended lower on profit booking. Jitters ahead of quarterly corporate earnings reports also played on investor sentiments.

The Hang Seng gained 0.12%, the KLSE Composite rose 0.14%, the Nikkei 225 surged 1.44%, the Straits Times advanced 0.78% and the Taiwan Weighted was up 0.42%. On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite declined 0.51%, the Jakarta Composite tumbled 1.25% and the Seoul Composite fell 0.24% in trade today.

Back home, in a bid to boost clean energy generation in the country, the government has amended the Power Tariff Policy, which mandates that states should source at least 3% of their total power purchases from solar energy by 2022.

As per the amendment, the power purchased by the state electricity boards or other state utilities will be complemented by solar specific Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) mechanism, through which solar power generation companies will sell certificates to the buyers.

Renewable energy major Suzlon (down 1.56%) has bagged a $191 million deal from UK-based Vedanta Group to set up, operate and maintain 150MW of wind farms for Hindustan Zinc, a Vedanta Group company.

The wind farms will be set up in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. The first phase of the project will involve a capacity of 50MW and it is expected to be completed by March 2011. The second and final phase of 100MW will be progressively completed by September 2011.

Omnitech Infosolutions (down 6.43%), a business availability and business continuity services provider, has acquired Avensus Netherland BV for $9 million. Avensus offers managed IT services and security, storage and virtualisation solutions to BFSI, healthcare, and government sectors. The company will pay $4.8 million as an upfront payment and the rest will be a deferred payment and earnout which shall be paid over a period of three years.

India's largest power producer, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), (up 1.33%) is conducting a feasibility study in the Maldives to set up solar power projects. The move is expected to enhance the thermal power generator's green footprint.

Meanwhile, NTPC plans to add 105MW of electricity capacity through five solar power projects in India in the next 2-3 years.




7 years ago

NTPC might be feeling the pinch of unclaimed dues from SEBs which are finding the going difficult with electricity at Rs 3 per kWh supplied to them by former. Then how it can join hands with anil to erect a high cost power plant producing electricity at unbelievable cost of Rs 17 per kWh? Governments should soon scarp all solar electricity projects massive investment in which will surely go down the drain in this country where energy is used to be supplied free for votes and where electricity thieves go scot-free. Can somebody file a PIL against solar electricity power plants in India to save public money?



In Reply to alok 7 years ago

My personal opinion is that there must be more research on using the renewable and practically inexhaustible energy of the sun which is given to us free. The trick is to convert it into electric or other easily transmissible form of energy. Prototype power plants should also be built to try to provide energy without too much cost to the consumer. The venture must not end up as a maneuver by promoters to fleece people by charging high premiums for the energy.


7 years ago

Sensex etc are becoming meaningless numbers as money value is being eroded by inflation. Unless interest rates are always at least a few percentage points above the inflation rate,money gets misdirected to unproductive assets like gold and real estate pushing up their prices for speculative profits. The government has been pandering to corporate interests by artificially keeping interest and money value low forgetting the aam aadmi .

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