Surf and Shop Safely: DRS Commissioner Says Awareness Important in Preventing Identity Theft

Source: DRS

December 1, 2015

HARTFORD – The abundance of smart phones and ease of online shopping are moving consumers away from traditional brick and mortar stores, but Commissioner of Revenue Services Kevin B. Sullivan suggested consumers take precautions before and while shopping online. 

Said Commissioner Sullivan, “It’s unfortunate, but identity thieves and scam artists see the holiday season as a prime time to steal information from vulnerable shoppers. Following advice provided at the recent Taxes Security Together press conference, such as monitoring your accounts and shopping only on secure websites, can prevent you from becoming a scam artist’s Santa.” 

Some of the Taxes Security Together recommendations are: 

  • Regularly monitor your credit history and all accounts for any unauthorized activity, no matter how small;
  • Beware of phishing emails like those that ask you to update a bank account or tax software account. The link may take you to a fake website designed to steal your log-on information and attachments you open may include malware that allows a thief to get into your sensitive files;
  • Be cautions when using public Wi-Fi. These services, while convenient, are often not secure;
  • Use reputable security software on all of your devices and allow it to update automatically;
  • Check the security of a website’s “check-out” page before entering your information. A secure web address will contain an “s” in the https; and
  • Immediately report any unauthorized or suspicious activity on your accounts. This may prevent you from being responsible for purchases you did not make and will stop further transactions.

Said Commissioner Sullivan, “Information security has become vitally important in every industry. However, cyber thieves are constantly looking for possible weaknesses, so our efforts to improve protection for consumers and taxpayers is never ending. Individuals who take steps to protect their information help us be more effective.” 
More information on steps to prevent fraud and how to report it can be found on the Department of Revenue Services Taxes Security Together web page. 
In another online note, Commissioner Sullivan advised that while most online retailers now collect the state sales tax on purchases, shoppers need to keep track of any untaxed purchases. While an internet retailer may not collect the sales tax on purchases, it does not mean the items are “tax-free.” 
See Informational Publication 2015(21), Q&A on the Connecticut Individual Use Tax, which is available on the Department of Revenue Services website at, for information about the Connecticut use tax.