LITTLE ROCK – As spring break approaches, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning of the all too popular “family emergency” scam. The scam starts with an Arkansan receiving a panicked phone call from an unknown number claiming to be a family member, like a favorite grandchild, or a friend desperately needing money to get out of trouble. The Arkansan’s initial reaction is to immediately lend a hand to the loved one in need by offering to send money via wire transfer or purchase a gift card, where the money cannot be retrieved or traced. The reality is that the friend or relative on the phone is actually a con artist looking to profit from rushed emotional decisions.
“Con artists are ruthless and will quickly take advantage of the innocent with a simple phone call,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “If an Arkansan gets a call like this, he or she should hang up immediately and directly contact the person the caller claimed to be, and then report the scam to my office.”
Attorney General Rutledge recommends the following strategies to avoid falling victim to the “family emergency” scheme:
- Resist pressure to act quickly.
- Ask the caller for his or her name, and if it’s not provided, hang up immediately.
- Never give or wire money based on any unsolicited phone call.
- Verify the friend or family member’s location by calling the family member directly, or confirm with another family member or friend.
- Do not send money to an unknown account or entity.
- Have a plan in place when a family member is traveling to easily identify whether or not a need is genuine.
For more information related to scams, call the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.