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Governor Rell and Banking Commissioner Pitkin Remind Holiday Shoppers
to be Cautious While Shopping On-Line

December 5, 2007

Governor M. Jodi Rell and State Banking Commissioner Howard F. Pitkin warn holiday shoppers to be careful to protect their financial information when making on-line purchases. 

Purchasing gifts on-line is a very convenient way to buy that hard-to-find gift.  Unfortunately, this is also the time of year that scam artists take advantage of the higher volume of on-line shoppers.  Their goal is to steal personal financial information from unsuspecting consumers and ultimately use this information to commit fraud.

“While on-line shopping has become more secure than ever, we as consumers must still do everything we can to protect our personal information,” said Governor Rell.  “If your credit card number is stolen, an unscrupulous person may go on a shopping spree and leave you to foot the bill.  Even worse, if they obtain your Social Security number they might use it to apply for additional credit cards and wreak havoc on your good credit.” 

Some steps consumers can take to protect themselves when shopping on-line are:

  • Do business only with merchants you know and trust. High-tech scammers use graphics or logos that appear to be legitimate, so be certain that the Web sites you visit are genuine.
  • Be suspicious of Web sites that don't allow you to easily verify a company's legitimacy by clearly providing a physical address, telephone number and e-mail address.
  • Before completing a purchase or financial transaction, be sure that the Web site you're visiting supports secure transactions. Your browser should clearly indicate when you link to a secure location. Look for a URL that begins with https:// and a browser icon displaying either an unbroken key or a closed padlock.
  • Keep records of your online transactions.
  • Review your monthly credit card and bank statements for any errors or unauthorized purchases.

“If you are uncertain that a site is secure, contact the retailer instead via phone, fax or mail to make your purchases.  You should always feel comfortable that your credit card information remains private,” advised Commissioner Pitkin.

Commissioner Pitkin also warns consumers not to be tricked by an e-mail that appears to have been sent by your bank or credit card company.  “Your bank will never contact you by e-mail requesting account information.  If you receive an e-mail purportedly from your bank, call and verify its authenticity,” added Commissioner Pitkin.

For more information please contact the Department of Banking’s Consumer Affairs Division, at (860) 240-8299, Toll-free, at 1-800-731-8225, or on-line, at