March 20, 2018

Scammers target CT's web-sales crackdown

Scammers are using a recent crackdown by the Department of Revenue Services on those who haven't paid the state use tax on their internet purchases to try to trick Connecticut residents into sending them money.

DRS warned last week that some taxpayers had reported receiving emails that purport to be a tax bill from Amazon or Newegg, directing payments be made to a fraudulent website.

While the agency has sent legitimate tax notices by U.S. mail regarding use tax owed, it said it never contacts taxpayers by email, text message or social media to request payments, or personal and financial information. Anyone confused about the legitimacy of a tax communication should contact DRS, the agency said.

The latest scam comes after DRS launched a unique crackdown on those who had not paid use taxes when purchasing from an online retailer that, unlike Amazon, does not collect Connecticut sales taxes.

The Hartford Courant reported in February that Newegg had "ratted out" Connecticut customers, providing DRS with purchase records from 2014, 2015 and 2016. DRS sent out notices to Newegg customers who hadn't paid use taxes related to those purchases.

A tax expert told the Courant that Connecticut was the first state to try the enforcement approach.

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