Warning! Anyone can hack into your tax records online
July, 15th 2008
Sub Heading : For those who prefer to e-file their returns, the current system offers little safety from cyber cons
If you are thinking of filing your income tax returns online, think twice. It is very easy for anyone to hack into your account and have access to your income tax details.
How can this be done? All a hacker needs to know is your name, permanent account number (PAN) and your date of birth. He first needs to log onto the e-filing website (https:www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in).
After this, all he needs to do is click on the login link and then click on the 'forgot password' link that appears. Having clicked on the 'forgot password' link, a screen that allows him to change the password appears. There the hacker needs to choose method 1.
In order to change the password,the hacker first needs to know the login. The login in this case is theindividual's PAN. After entering the login data, he needs to enter your name and then finally your date of birth, or date of incorporation in case of a Hindu undivided family (HUF).
This done, he needs to enter the new password twice and click on the reset password button. And, voila, he has hacked your account. It is as simple as that.
After changing the password, he can access the account using the new password and have access to your tax records. This would include information like your gross income for the year, the amount of tax saving investments you made, the amount of tax deducted at source and the tax refund you may get. He would also have access to your phone number and address. These days, for most financial transactions, right from opening a bank account or a demat account or to invest in a mutual fund, the PAN number needs to be quoted. Along with this the date of birth also needs to mentioned. So getting hold of these details isn't a big deal.
If someone knows your PAN and date of birth, he can also create your login. And if you want access to it, you'll have to hack it. How do you go about doing that? Well, that has been clearly explained above. What is surprising is how the income tax department can set up a system that's so easy to hack into.