News/Events

Attorney General Alerts

Make Sure Your Personal Information Stays Personal

Make Sure Your Personal Information Stays Personal

Wed, Sep 18, 2019

Says, ‘scam artists are skilled at adapting quickly to using new practices to steal your personal identity’

LITTLE ROCK - Identity thieves continue to adapt their scam techniques to fill their pockets with the money of hardworking Arkansans. These criminals know that any personal information they are able to gather, the better, and they will resort to any means necessary to steal your information. They often do this by calling consumers while pretending to be a legitimate business.

“Unfortunately, scam artists are skilled at adapting quickly to using new practices to steal your personal identity,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If you have any doubt, hang up the phone and find the company’s official phone number from a trusted source to verify the phone call.”

Attorney General Rutledge has compiled a list of precautionary tips to protect yourself:

  • NEVER give away your personal information over the phone. Legitimate companies will have processes in place to protect personal information and will not request it by telephone.
  • DO NOT trust the source even if it has some of your personal information. Scammers often use partial pieces of personal information in order to verify current personal information or gain personal information.
  • NEVER verify your personal or banking If you verify your personal information to a scam artist, it can lead to identity theft.
  • BE MINDFUL of scammers who spoof the caller I.D. The caller may appear to be from a trusted source and in reality, is a scam artist.

If you have been a victim of identity theft, close accounts that have been tampered with or fraudulently opened, and file a complaint with the FTC. For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or ArkansasAG.gov.

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16 Apps Parents Should Know About

16 Apps Parents Should Know About

Thu, Sep 12, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas parents across the State want what is best for their children. So many Arkansans benefit from technology, but at the Attorney General’s Office, we routinely hear about preteens and teenagers who are bullied or have started relationships with strangers online.

“Keeping Arkansas kids safe is a top priority,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Being informed, opening every app on your child’s phone and knowing who they are talking to are some of the best ways we can protect our kids from predators and online bullying.”

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is alerting parents to 16 smartphone apps that may make children vulnerable to dangers online:

  • Bumble – Bumble is a popular dating app that requires women to make the first contact. It is common for minors to use this app and falsify their age.
  • Calculator% – Calculator% is one of several "vault" style apps that appears to be a harmless app, but is used to hide photos, videos, files and even browser history.
  • Chatous – Chatous is a messaging app that allows users to chat and share images. This app makes it easy for predators to engage in age-inappropriate conversations with potential victims.
  • Discord – Discord is a voice and text chat tool that allows gamers to communicate in real time. Users can chat, add friends one-on-one or in larger groups. This app discusses content geared towards adults, but allows users as young as 13.
  • Grindr – Grindr is a dating app for LGBT adults, not children. The app gives users options to chat, share photos and meet with people based on a smartphone's GPS location.
  • House Party – House Party is a group video chat app that allows users to communicate via live video chats and texts. There is no screening and the video is live. Users can also communicate with people they don't know.
  • Live.Me – Live.Me allows users to livestream videos using geo-location to share the videos so other users can find the broadcaster’s exact location. Users can earn "coins" to "pay" minors for photos.
  • Monkey – Monkey is an app that allows users as young as 12 to chat with people all over the world during a brief introductory call, then users are given the chance to add each other on Snapchat.
  • TikTok – TikTok is a popular app among kids that is used to create and share short videos with limited privacy controls. Users are vulnerable to explicit content and cyberbullying.
  • Tinder – Tinder is a dating app that allows users to "swipe right" to like someone and "swipe left" to pass. Users can falsify their age, share photos, messages, and meet.
  • Tumblr – Tumblr is a blogging app and website that allows users as young as 13 to create an account. There are very few privacy settings and pornography is easy to find. Most posts are public and can't be made private. This app was removed from the Apple App Store in '18.
  • Snapchat – Snapchat is a photo & video sharing app that promises users their photo or video will disappear even though it doesn't. Snapchat stories allow users to view content for up to 24 hours and share their location.
  • WhatsApp – WhatsApp is a popular messaging app allowing users to text, send photos, make calls and leave voicemails worldwide.
  • Whisper – Whisper is a social network that allows users to share secrets anonymously and it reveals the users’ location so strangers can meet.
  • Yubo – Yubo is a social media app that allows users as young as 13 to create a profile, share their location, view other users’ profiles in their area and view livestreams. Substance use, profanity, racial slurs and scantily clad people are common.
  • YouTube – YouTube is a video sharing app that may not be age appropriate for kids. Inappropriate content can be found using innocent search terms, but with parental controls this can be avoided.

For more information on smartphone, apps and internet safety, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at 800-482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Don’t Fumble When Buying Tickets

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Don’t Fumble When Buying Tickets

Fri, Sep 6, 2019

LITTLE ROCK - When Arkansans decide to take in a live football game at any of our great in-state institutions this fall, it is important they don’t fumble when buying tickets. Oftentimes scam artists will try to take advantage of fans by selling them tickets that are fake, duplicates or don’t actually exist at all. They may use high-pressure-sales tactics to rush innocent Arkansans into buying tickets using deals that seem unbelievable and many times are. The stadium should be a safe haven for diehard fans rather than for scammers.

“Football in Arkansas is a cherished tradition and it is worth protecting,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Whether you support the Razorbacks, Red Wolves, Bears or Boll Weevils, everyone deserves to cheer for their favorite team without worry of scammers trying to take advantage of their wallets.”

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following tips to help Arkansans protect themselves when looking to buy game tickets during the upcoming football season.

  • Research the seller or broker with the Better Business Bureau and ensure it is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers.
  • A legitimate ticket broker will offer a refund policy. Only buy tickets from a reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction.
  • Always use a credit card to make a ticket purchase because credit card laws provide buyers with some recourse if the tickets are fraudulent.
  • Check the seats ahead of time. Ask for section, row and seat numbers to avoid obstructed views and purchasing tickets that do not exist.
  • Stick with well-known ticket sellers who offer guarantees and policies that protect buyers and have the ability to investigate and restrict accounts of merchants who violate the policies.
  • If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Refuse to be rushed. Scam artists often try to hurry prospective buyers into making a decision.

According to AARP, nearly 5 million consumers receive fraudulent concert, sporting event and theme park tickets each year. We can all do our part by ensuring our neighbors, friends, and families are educated on the deceptive practices of scammers and ways to avoid them.

Consumers who think they may have purchased a counterfeit ticket can contact the National Association of Ticket Brokers at 630-510-4594 or the Arkansas Attorney General’s Public Protection Department.

For more information on other tips to avoid being scammed and other consumer-related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at 800-482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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Scammers Luring Seniors into Sharing Medicare Numbers

Scammers Luring Seniors into Sharing Medicare Numbers

Wed, Aug 28, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansans eligible for Medicare and Medicaid should beware of scam artists attempting to steal their new individual Medicare card number. Thieves are actively targeting older Arkansans by spoofing their caller ID numbers—making the calls appear to be from a government agency—and luring seniors into sharing their Medicare card numbers.

“Medicare will never call asking for your Medicare card number because they already have it,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “If you receive a call claiming to be with Medicare, hang up and call the phone number listed on your account statement.”

In 2018, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid started issuing beneficiary cards with unique identifying numbers in place of the cardholders’ Social Security Number. The transition period to Medicare Beneficiary Identifier numbers for all participants is set to conclude by December 2019.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following tips to help Arkansans protect themselves.

  • Never give out or confirm sensitive information, such as a bank account, credit card or social security numbers unless the caller is trusted and his or her identity has been confirmed.
  • Be cautious of callers using organizational or familiar-sounding names similar to existing agencies. Scammers use internet technology to spoof area codes, so although it may seem that a call is from Washington, D.C., it could instead originate from anywhere in the world—even from scammers.
  • The Center for Medicare and Medicaid and other government agencies have warned about these scams. If contacted, hang up and call the government agency directly at a trusted number.

If someone asks you for your information, for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don't share your personal details, then hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visit www.medicare.gov/fraud.

For more information on other tips to avoid being scammed and other consumer-related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at 800-482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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Student Loans have Potential for Long-Term Financial Issues

Student Loans have Potential for Long-Term Financial Issues

Thu, Aug 15, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – Starting school at a new college or university can be intimidating, especially when factoring in the immense expense and the potential need to take out student loans. There are some key items that every student should know before agreeing to a loan that often takes decades to repay.

“A student loan should be a short-time obligation to give students an opportunity to be successful,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Unfortunately, these loans are too often carried over for decades and hold our best and brightest back from making investments or taking risks as entrepreneurs.”

Attorney General Rutledge has provided the following tips for students considering taking out a student loan:

For more information, the Arkansas Student Loan Authority can be contacted here or at 800-443-6030 or call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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Phone Scams Stating Your Social Security Number Has Been Cancelled

Phone Scams Stating Your Social Security Number Has Been Cancelled

Wed, Jul 31, 2019

Says, ‘The Social Security Administration will never contact you by phone’

A new variation of social security fraud has invaded the State of Arkansas, threatening the livelihood of Arkansans. This phone scam is typically initiated by someone saying they work for the Social Security Administration and claiming that your social security number has been cancelled due to fraud or misuse. In response, Arkansans will often verify their social security number over the phone. Once the number is shared, the scam artist steals the victim’s identity and uses it for their own monetary gain and to wreck the credit of the victim.

“From Lake Village to Salem to Lewisville, I have met with Arkansans who have received calls from someone claiming to be with the Social Security Administration stating their number has been cancelled,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Let me be clear: this is a scam to steal your identity to open up fraudulent credit cards — the Social Security Administration will never contact you by phone about your number.”

Social security fraud continues to be a big problem for Arkansans. The Attorney General’s office however, is taking back the fight. In March of this year, Attorney General Rutledge announced that Joseph Sensabaugh, from Conway, was ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution for the part he played in a social security scam. Likewise, Carl Smith, of Fort Smith, was ordered in June to pay $72,000 in restitution after being convicted on charges of social security fraud.

Attorney General Rutledge endorsed the following Federal Trade Commission tips for Arkansans who may be dealing with a government imposter:

  • Never give out or confirm sensitive information, such as a bank account, credit card or social security numbers unless the caller is trusted and his or her identity has been confirmed.
  • Be cautious of callers using organizational or familiar-sounding names similar to existing agencies. Scammers use internet technology to spoof area codes, so although it may seem that a call is from Washington, D.C., it could instead originate from anywhere in the world—even from scammers.
  • The Social Security Administration and other government agencies have warned about these scams. If contacted, hang up and call the government agency directly at a trusted number.

The Social Security Administration can be contacted at 1-800-772-1213 to verify the reason for the contact and the person’s identity prior to providing any information to the caller.

To report this scam to the Social Security Administration, contact its Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271, or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, please call the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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