To protect the health and safety of the public and our employees, the Department of Banking has limited the number of employees at our office at 260 Constitution Plaza in Hartford. When contacting the Department, please use electronic communication whenever possible. Consumers are encouraged to use our online form for complaints. If you are unsure where to send an inquiry, you may send it to Department.Banking@ct.gov and it will be routed appropriately. Thank you for your patience during this time.

 

Department of Banking Logo

 
 

November 22, 2019

CONSUMER ALERT: REGULATORS WARN CONSUMERS TO BE CAUTIOUS WHEN MAKING ONLINE PURCHASES

Departments of Banking and Consumer Protection Offer Holiday Shopping Safety Tips to Avoid Being Scammed or Defrauded

HARTFORD — The holiday season is upon us, and it can be easy to let our guard down when we’re surrounded by sales, and offers that often sound too good to be true. More holiday purchases happen online than in store on Black Friday – so it’s become even more important to ensure we’re protecting our financial information, and our identity online. 

“While it is the season for giving, scammers and fraudsters are always on the take” said Commissioner Perez.  “My advice is never let your guard down. Be leery of unsolicited e-mails, particularly those that ask for your personal financial information. These are known as ‘phishing’ e-mails and appear to be a reputable entity. Trust your instinct, and if you are unsure if an e-mail is legitimate verify the source before responding, even from apparently trusted sources and companies you’ve done business with in the past. Remember your financial institution will never ask for personally identifiable information, account numbers or passwords through email.”

“Scam artists and fraudsters are constantly adapting to find us in new places, including online,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull, “We encourage consumers to think twice before making a purchase on a website that seems suspect, or trusting a deal that sounds too good to be true. It’s important to invest a little time, and do research before committing to a purchase.” 

Gift-givers shopping online this holiday season should use the following tips to ensure their financial information is protected:

  • Always make sure your computer, tablet or smart phone has up to date virus protection, anti-malware and firewall software.
  • Avoid using public networks or Wi-Fi hotspots for online shopping.
  • Ensure you’re on a secure webpage when entering a card number. Look for a URL that begins with https:// (the “s” stands for SECURE) and a lock symbol toward the bottom of the page.
  • Be suspicious of websites that don't allow you to easily verify a company's identity and legitimacy by clearly providing a physical address, telephone number and email address.
  • Use a credit card for online purchases.  Under federal law, you may dispute unauthorized charges to your credit card in writing. The law also limits your responsibility for unauthorized charges to $50.
  • Carefully check your credit card and bank statements regularly.  If you discover any charges you did not make, contact your financial institution immediately.

    To report a suspected fraud or scam, please contact the Department of Banking’s Consumer Affairs Division, at 860-240-8170 or banking.complaints@ct.gov or file online at ct.gov/dob.  

    If you believe you’ve fallen victim to a scam, purchased a product that was misrepresented, or have done business with someone who didn’t fulfill their contract, you may file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Protection by emailing dcp.complaints@ct.gov.

###

Contact:

Department of Banking
Matt Smith
matthew.smith@ct.gov
860.240.8105

Department of Consumer Protection
Lora Rae Anderson
lorarae.anderson@ct.gov 
(860) 713-6019 (office)
(860) 247-8711 (cell)