As the New Year approaches, Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin B. Sullivan and Attorney General George Jepsen are reminding Connecticut taxpayers to be more vigilant in protecting themselves and others from identity theft and fraud.
Said Attorney General Jepsen, “Hardly a week goes by that my office doesn’t hear about a data privacy breach where hackers or scam artists attempt to gain access to social security numbers, credit card numbers, and bank accounts,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “Some use sophisticated cyber attacks to get information, while others may search garbage cans, use misleading emails or fake Web sites, or even just look over an unsuspecting consumer’s shoulder.”
Said Commissioner Sullivan, “The Department of Revenue Services (DRS) is continuously improving our protection of taxpayer information and our efforts to fight tax fraud. In 2012, we were able to stop more than $7 million in fraudulent refunds from being issued. But cyber criminals become more sophisticated all the time.”
Commissioner Sullivan noted that the agency worked with Attorney General Jepsen’s office to create website information that helps taxpayers help themselves not become victims of identity theft. The site links to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) where taxpayers can obtain free credit reports and to the Attorney General’s website identity theft page where individuals can find out what to do if they may be victims of identity theft. The Department as also adopted a zero tolerance policy for employees who compromise taxpayer identity information and is now requiring participation in an extensive cyber-security training program across the agency.
Attorney General Jepsen added, “An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure,” Attorney General Jepsen said. “By becoming informed and taking simple steps, consumers can help ensure than their personal information is protected – be it when filing their tax documents in the coming months or when just going about a day-to-day routine.”
Commissioner Sullivan also thanked Governor Malloy and the State Legislature for action during the recent special session to support a new anti-tax fraud initiative proposed by the Department. ”Some taxpayers may experience a small delay in refunds and some additional security review before getting their refunds because of our improved anti-fraud screening. However, I know our taxpayers will agree that any inconvenience is more than outweighed by preventing fraudulent refunds from being stolen by criminals.”
Attorney General Jepsen and Commissioner Sullivan also urged federal and state taxpayers to file early. Said Sullivan, “More and more taxpayers who delay are discovering that criminals using stolen identity information have already beaten them to their refunds. Filing early is one way taxpayers can help themselves not to be the victims of identity theft and tax fraud.”
Fore more information on protecting yourself from identity theft and secure income tax filing through the state’s Taxpayer Service Center, visit the new identity theft web page at www.ct.gov/DRS/identitytheft.