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Consumer Alerts

CONSUMER ALERT: Statewide Prescription Drug Take Back is October 28

CONSUMER ALERT: Statewide Prescription Drug Take Back is October 28

Wed, Oct 18, 2017

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas State Crime Laboratory and Medical Examiner’s Office report hundreds of Arkansans died in 2016 from drug overdoses, with nearly 40 percent of those deaths from Pulaski, Sebastian and Washington counties.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is encouraging Arkansans to clean out their medicine cabinets and bring any unused or expired medications to one of the state’s more than 100 Prescription Drug Take Back Day drop-off locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28.

“Oftentimes teens first use prescription painkillers by stealing the pills from a family member’s medicine cabinet,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The abuse and overdoes statistics are staggering, but cleaning out medicine cabinets and turning the expired and unused medications over to law enforcement during a Drug Take Back event can save lives.”

Rutledge released the following list of medications that will be accepted at these events:

  • Opioids, such as OxyContin
  • Stimulants, such as Adderall
  • Depressants, such as Ativan
  • Other prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Vitamins
  • Pet medicines
  • Medicated ointments and lotions
  • Inhalers
  • Liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers (up to 12 ounces)
  • Medicine samples

Medications may be returned in the original bottle or in any other container for increased privacy and will be properly destroyed by law enforcement officials.

Medicines that are flushed or poured down the drain can end up polluting waters, which could contaminate food and water supplies. Many medicines are not removed by wastewater treatment plants or septic systems. Turning over these medications at Take Back Day events also reduces the risk of accidental poisonings by children, seniors or pets, as well as reduces the risk of drug abuse.

To find event sites and year-round drop-off locations near you, visit ARTakeBack.org. The Attorney General’s office also hosts Drug Take Back events at mobile offices around the state.

Rutledge is partnering on the Prescription Drug Take Back Day with the Arkansas Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Rotary Clubs, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, FBI, Office of the State Drug Director, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and over 130 additional law enforcement and government agencies, community organizations and public health providers.

For more information about consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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CONSUMER ALERT: Help with Tech Support

CONSUMER ALERT: Help with Tech Support

Wed, Oct 11, 2017

LITTLE ROCK – Tech Support Scams continue to be on the rise as con artists will call, email or send pop-up windows claiming to be a technician from well-known companies like Apple or Microsoft. In these cases, there is no real problem but tech support makes contact claiming to have the fix your device needs.

These fake techs will claim to see a problem that you cannot see, such as a virus or malware, and request remote access to the device. The scammer may then tell you the only way to fix it is to download unnecessary and likely harmful software and to wire money.

“As part of Cyber Security Awareness Month, it’s important for Arkansans to watch out for unexpected pop-ups, phone calls or spam emails, offering quick fixes to a computer or tablet,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “These criminals will be very convincing, but if you have not noticed a problem then there likely is not one and you do not need tech support.”

Attorney General Rutledge and the Federal Trade Commission offer the following tips on how to spot a Tech Support Scam:

  • Asking for remote access to your computer – which lets them change your computer settings so your computer is vulnerable to attack.
  • Malware may be installed, giving them access to your computer and sensitive data, like user names and passwords.
  • They will try to sell software that’s worthless, or that you could get elsewhere for free
  • They will try to enroll you in a worthless computer maintenance or warranty program.
  • Asking for credit card information so they can bill for phony services, or services you could get elsewhere for free
  • Direct you to websites and ask you to enter a credit card number and other personal information

If Arkansans are concerned about their computer or other device, call a security software company directly.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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CONSUMER ALERT: Stealing Deals

CONSUMER ALERT: Stealing Deals

Wed, Oct 4, 2017

LITTLE ROCK – When purchasing items through an online auction, Arkansans should be aware that criminals routinely steal money and do not provide the product. It is important to know how to safely and smartly bid on online auction websites to avoid this common fraud.

Scammers might post sales for vehicles, boats and other items that turn out to be fake or already sold. Other times the item being sold is legitimate, but the con artists will purchase the item and send a counterfeit check or money order for an amount greater than the item to the legitimate seller. The seller will then be told to deposit the payment, deduct the actual sale price and return the difference, leaving the seller on the hook for the entire amount of the check or money order. Other common internet auction scams include wire transfer scheme and second-chance scheme.

“Online auction sites can produce some of the best deals, but there is always risk doing business with an unknown seller especially one that turns out to be overseas,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Knowing what to do before placing a bid and the warning signs of fraud can save a lot of time and money in the long run.”

Keep these tips in mind before placing a bid:

  • Contact the seller with any questions about payment options or questions about the item.
  • Review the seller’s feedback on the internet auction site.
  • Stay away or be very cautious when dealing with sellers or purchasers out of your own country.
  • Understand the refund, return and warranty policies of the auction site you are utilizing.
  • Determine the shipping method and charges before you buy.
  • Stay away or be very cautious if the seller only accepts wire transfers.
  • If the seller insists on an escrow service, ensure it is legitimate.
  • You may want to insure your purchased item.
  • Stay away from unsolicited offers.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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CONSUMER ALERT: Falling Leaves, Increasing Scams

CONSUMER ALERT: Falling Leaves, Increasing Scams

Wed, Sep 27, 2017

LITTLE ROCK – Consumers should use caution when hiring someone to rake leaves or clean out the gutters because con artists will be looking to take advantage. Home improvement scams are commonly in the top ten complaints the Attorney General’s office receives each year, with 442 complaints filed in 2016.

“Yard care and home repairs can be costly,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “But an unlicensed or unreliable individual or company can make the project even more expensive. Consumers are often left having already paid and the job incomplete or not done at all.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following advice before hiring a person or company to do yard work around your home this fall:

  • Ask for recommendations from people you trust.
  • Have a written and signed contract before any work begins on your home or property.
  • Think twice before hiring out-of-town or unknown contractors, especially those soliciting door-to-door.
  • Question contractors who use terms like “special introductory offer,” “limited-time offer” or those who offer discounts to use your house as a “model home.”
  • Do not fall for high-pressure tactics from contractors who want to discuss the price of the job later.
  • Beware of those demanding a full payment before work is finished.

Arkansans should consider contacting the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board (ACLB) at ACLB.Arkansas.gov or (501) 372-4661 to verify a contractor’s license, the date it was issued and whether any complaints have been filed against that contractor. Any contractor building, repairing or doing improvements to a home costing more than $2,000 is required to be bonded and licensed by the ACLB.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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CONSUMER ALERT: Harvey and Irma Produce Flood-Damaged Vehicles

CONSUMER ALERT: Harvey and Irma Produce Flood-Damaged Vehicles

Wed, Sep 20, 2017

LITTLE ROCK – While Arkansas did not see the type of damage and flooding that our neighbors in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas have seen in recent weeks that does not mean products from those states will not end up here – especially vehicles.

Arkansans who are considering a new or used vehicle have been contacting the Attorney General’s office to find out how to spot a flood-damaged car or truck and what is required of the dealer or seller.

Consumers should review a vehicle’s title for any flood damage reports. Arkansas law requires dealerships to place a separate disclosure in the window of cars for sale that have previously been submerged, but consumers should be careful if purchasing a vehicle through a private sale. Although the private seller is required by Arkansas law to notify the buyer of any flood damage, a posted disclosure is not mandatory for this type of transaction.

“Many dealers follow Arkansas law and provide the proper documentation when selling water damaged vehicles,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But it is common following severe weather in our state and in nearby states for unscrupulous sellers to try and take advantage of consumers by selling damaged vehicles without proper disclosure.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers shopping around for a new or used vehicle:

  • Ask the seller if the car has been damaged by hail or flood waters, and always check the car’s title history.
  • Inspect the vehicle for water stains and mildew in the vents and behind the dashboard. Also look under the hood for signs of oxidation.
  • Flood damaged cars may look fine because of cosmetic repairs, but they may have defective electrical systems, steering problems, faulty computers, faulty air bag systems and persistent mold problems.
  • Have the car inspected by your own mechanic before you decide to buy.
  • If the car has experienced significant damage and is considered a salvage vehicle, a buyer’s notification should be posted, and the price should be much lower than the price of a similar car with a clean title. Consider that you may have difficulty later selling a salvage vehicle and its value will be compromised.

For more information on purchasing a vehicle and other consumer-related issues, contact the Attorney General's office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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CONSUMER ALERT: Equifax

CONSUMER ALERT: Equifax

Wed, Sep 13, 2017

LITTLE ROCK – 143 million. That is how many U.S. consumers Equifax says could potentially be impacted by a data breach that occurred in mid-May and lasted until July 29 when the company discovered it. Since Equifax announced the breach last week, the Attorney General’s office has received a number of calls from concerned Arkansans – and hopes more will do the same. Arkansans can visit ArkansasAG.gov to get the latest information about breach.

“The Attorney General’s office is here to do the fighting for you, and I urge Arkansans who have used Equifax to contact my office,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Taking on a leading role and working with other states, I have already begun to conduct a thorough review of this breach to assure that Equifax takes steps to minimize the exposure of Arkansans’ personal information.”

Identity theft should become a major concern if you or someone you know has used Equifax services. Identity theft is when another individual uses another person’s information to commit fraud or other crimes, most commonly to obtain access to credit in your name. If successful, scammers can ruin your credit and steal your hard-earned money.

Equifax says the information accessed in this breach includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain credit dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed.

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help Arkansans recognize when they might be a victim of identity theft:

  • Receiving unexpected bills or collection calls. Getting an account statement for an account that you did not authorize is an indication that an individual may be the victim of identity theft. Likewise, getting collection calls from a creditor or debt collector regarding an account that you did not authorize is an indication that you may be a victim.
  • Not receiving expected bills or account statements. If a monthly credit card statement stops, this could be an indication that someone has stolen mail or changed your account statement mailing address. Promptly report this to the account provider.
  • Having a credit application denied when there is no reason to believe there is a problem with the credit history. Be sure to periodically review the credit report, and always review it again before making an application for credit on a big purchase.

Rutledge reminds Arkansans that the Attorney General’s office has routinely referred individuals to one of three national credit bureaus, including Equifax, when they have fallen victim to identity theft. It is important to note that a consumer does not need to have used Equifax for their data to be exposed to these hackers.

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. The Attorney General’s office also offers an ID Theft Passport to help victims reestablish their good name.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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