ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG, SECRETARY MERRILL URGE BUSINESSES TO USE NEW STATE PORTAL TO HELP PREVENT GOVERNMENT IMPOSTER SCAMS
(Hartford, CT) – In conjunction with the launch of business.ct.gov, Attorney General William Tong and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill are reminding businesses of the dangers posed by so-called “government imposter” scams, and the steps businesses can take to protect themselves.
The State of Connecticut today launched the new business.ct.gov online portal to serve as a primary point of contact between businesses and key state agencies, giving businesses greater confidence that they are communicating with legitimate, appropriate government personnel. The portal is a joint initiative of the Department of Administrative Services, Department of Revenue Services, Department of Consumer Protection, Department of Labor, Department of Economic and Community Development and the Secretary of the State.
“Government imposter scams are a serious threat to small businesses, with sophisticated mailings that can be hard to detect. The business.ct.gov portal is a new, important way for businesses to protect themselves and verify the identity of the agencies they are dealing with,” said Attorney General Tong.
“Business.ct.gov allows businesses to protect themselves from predatory scams. Avoid scams by relying on this new tool - business.ct.gov is the trusted source of information for Connecticut businesses big and small!’ said Secretary Merrill.
Government Imposter scams can take many forms and can target individuals and businesses alike. In one of the more common schemes, scammers mail a solicitation or send an email to business to “advise” them that they must purchase certain products or forms, or file particular reports in order to be in compliance with the law. The scammers then offer to assist businesses with satisfying these requirements in exchange for a fee.
Scammers are careful to design their mailings to resemble official government documents by incorporating elements such as seals, bar codes, and references to statutes and regulations. The mailings may include terms such as “IMPORTANT,” “OPEN IMMEDIATELY,” or “TIME SENSITIVE” to create a false sense of urgency. Businesses which fall prey to these tactics will end up paying significant fees for services they either do not need, or could take care of themselves for much less money.
These types of scams can pose another risk. Some scammers also ask business owners to authorize the scammers to act on their behalf with government agencies. With the authorization in hand, scammers have been known to submit filings to create the appearance that they own or control the business, to open bank accounts in the business’s name but under the scammers’ control, or to borrow money purportedly on the business’ behalf.
To report a scam or instance of fraud, contact the Office of the Attorney General at 860-808-5318 or file a complaint with the office at https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint