Attorney General Alerts
Protect Yourself from Prowling Scam Artists While Holiday ShoppingWed, Nov 20, 2019
As the most popular shopping days of the year are upon Arkansans, scam artists are proactively searching for opportunities to steal your identity, money and personal information. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has identified best practices that will be rolled out throughout the week for consumers that can be used during the entire holiday season.
“Every Christmas season, many Arkansans experience some form of fraud from a con artist or bad actor who tries to steal your personal identity, bank account or credit card information, or who fails to uphold the terms of a sales agreement,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday often have us plugging in credit and debit card numbers online where predatory scam artists could be lurking, waiting for an opportunity to steal your money.”
Every year, countless American shoppers fall victim to identity thieves by not following a few simple rules. Attorney General Rutledge provides the following tips to help keep consumers safe while shopping online:
- Look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar, and the abbreviation “https” in the web address to be sure information is secure and to help guard the security of your information as it is transmitted to a website. Be sure your browser has the most up-to-date encryption capabilities by using the latest version available from the manufacturer.
- Read and understand return, refund and shipping policies before you make your purchase.
- Pay by credit card, which is the most secure payment method. Under federal law, charges can be disputed and consumer liability for theft is limited so long as consumers promptly notify the bank or credit card issuer. Additionally, many credit card issuers have “zero liability” policies under which the purchaser pays nothing if his or her credit card is stolen and used to make unauthorized purchases.
- Keep personal information private. Do not disclose personal information – address, telephone number, Social Security number, bank account number or email address – unless you know who is collecting the information, why they are collecting it and how they will use it.
- Be cautious when buying gifts from an online auction. Understand how the auction works and check out the seller’s reputation before bidding. Always ask about terms of delivery and return options. Never wire money for the purchase; use some other form of payment.
- Keep records of online transactions and check for emails from merchants while doing business. Merchants may email important information about purchases.
- Promptly and thoroughly review monthly credit card and bank statements for any errors or unauthorized purchases. Notify the credit or debit card issuer immediately if a card or checkbook is lost or stolen or if you suspect someone is using your accounts without your permission.
According to the National Retail Federation, 55 percent of consumers cited online shopping as the most popular shopping destination this year. They also expect holiday sales to increase 4.1 percent over last year. That means consumers are expected to spend an average of $1,007.24 this year on gifts.
Also, research companies before finalizing the online purchase to ensure it is a credible merchant, and check the anticipated delivery date to make sure it will be delivered in time for the holidays.
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.
Watch Out for Fake Military Charities Stealing from ArkansansThu, Nov 7, 2019
Year round, scammers will steal money from Arkansans by posing as veterans charities and requesting donations. These scams result in money being directed into the pockets of con artists rather than the veterans charities that rely on them. Attorney General Rutledge knows that with Veterans Day it is important to educate consumers on recognizing charitable solicitation fraud and distinguishing between fake and real charities.
“It’s unbelievable that con artists will create charities named similarly to existing, trustworthy organizations in the name of our beloved and dedicated military,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Knowing and asking the correct questions will alert Arkansans to potential scams. I am determined to protect Arkansans’ hard-earned money and especially those helping veterans and our brave servicemen and women.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help consumers ensure an organization’s legitimacy before giving money:
- Ask questions before giving. Only give when comfortable that the donation will support a trustworthy organization or activity. Refuse high-pressure appeals; legitimate charities will not rush a donation.
- Ask for written information and research the organization online. A legitimate charity will send information that provides the organization’s mission and how the donation will be used along with proof that the contribution is tax deductible.
- Call the charity directly. To avoid falling victim to sham solicitors, personally contact the charity before giving a donation by email, to the person knocking at the front door or to a telephone solicitor.
- Do not send cash. For security and tax records, make donations by check or credit card.
- Search the Arkansas Charities Database for more information on charities in Arkansas, including those benefiting service members and their families.
In 2015, Rutledge launched the first-ever Military and Veterans Initiative at the Attorney General’s Office to assist active duty military service members, reservists, veterans and their families with consumer-related issues and many other collaborative efforts.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Don’t Test Your Luck over a Trophy BuckWed, Oct 30, 2019
Says, “hunt safely, responsibly and legally”
LITTLE ROCK – From deer to ducks, Arkansas is every outdoorsman’s paradise. According to Arkansas law, all hunters are required to carry a hunting license with them while they are hunting and must tag all harvested deer within 24 hours.
“I want every Arkansas hunter to enjoy themselves,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But I also want them to hunt safely, responsibly, and legally. I am deeply grateful for the many Wildlife Officers who are committed to preserving the resources of The Natural State for future generations.”
Attorney General Rutledge urges hunters to follow all rules and regulations and to utilize the guidebooks and other resources provided by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
- Arkansas hunters and anglers 16 years or older are required to purchase a hunting or fishing license. A license can be purchased online through the Arkansas Game and Fish app, AGFC.com, over the phone at 501-223-6300, at participating sporting goods stores, nature centers or at Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Offices.
- Arkansas hunters and anglers can carry a digital copy of their hunting and fishing licenses using the Arkansas Game and Fish app. The digital copy may be carried on their phone as a screenshot of the license image or as an image saved in their phone’s files. They may also carry their license as a paper copy or even a reloadable plastic card to show proof of purchase.
- Arkansas hunters are required to check harvested deer within 24 hours, either by AG&FC’s app, AGFC.com, or by phone at 877-731-5627.
- Anyone born after 1968 must complete a hunter education course to hunt in Arkansas, which can be completed via instructor or online. Children under the age of 16 may hunt without hunter education as long as they are under the direct supervision of someone who is 21 years or older.
For more information on hunting safely and legally visit the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at www.agfc.com.
Don’t Get Tricked During This Giving SeasonFri, Oct 25, 2019
Says, ‘be cautious and ask questions of those soliciting donations’
LITTLE ROCK –The giving season is right around the corner, and in preparation for the holidays, October 21 through October 25 is recognized as Charity Fraud Awareness Week. Unfortunately, con artists are constantly inventing new ways or recycling old scams to trick unsuspecting, generous Arkansans into giving their hard earned money to fake charities. Every Arkansan should be armed with tips to protect himself from scammers and know that his donations are going to organizations truly making a difference.
“Con artists and criminals will take advantage of every opportunity to use Arkansans’ generosity to funnel money into their sham charities,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I urge all Arkansans to be cautious and ask questions of those soliciting donations to ensure donations go to those in need.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help consumers verify an organization’s legitimacy before giving money:
- Ask questions before giving. Legitimate charities will be happy to answer questions and will not rush a donation.
- Ask for written information or research the organization online. A legitimate charity will send information that provides the organization’s mission and how the donation will be used, along with proof that the contribution is tax deductible.
- Call the charity directly. To avoid falling victim to sham solicitors, personally contact the charity before giving a donation online, to the person knocking at the front door or to a telephone solicitor to ensure it is not a scam.
- Never send cash. For security and tax records, make donations by check or credit card.
- Search the Arkansas Charities Database for more information on charities in Arkansas and Charity Navigator for more information on charities across the United States.
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 email@example.com or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
Take Back Vapes and Prescription Drugs at Statewide EventWed, Oct 16, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas’s 18th Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for October 26 at various locations throughout the State. Arkansans are prescribed opioids at a rate of 62 pills per every man, woman and child in the State. With such an influx of pills, half of Arkansas teens report it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. New this year, e-cigarette devices and vape pens will be accepted. This statewide event has a goal to collect 30,000 pounds to emphasize the importance for Arkansans to safely dispose of old and unused prescription medications and e-cigarette devices while ensuring these drugs stay out of the hands of addicted Arkansans.
“We lose too many Arkansans to opioid addiction and too many teens are addicted to vaping,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Working with law enforcement officials, Arkansans can safely clear out old medications and trash dangerous vape products their kids are using.”
Rutledge released the following list of medications that will be accepted at these events across Arkansas:
- Opioids, such as OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, etc.
- E-cigarette and vaping devices
- Stimulants, such as Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Dexedrine, etc.
- Depressants, such as Ativan, Xanax, Valium, etc.
- Other prescription medications
- Over-the-counter medicines
- Pet medicines
- Medicated ointments and lotions
- 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.
Prescription Drug Take Back locations will be available 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 26. The National Prescription Drug Take Back Days are held twice a year, but to find event sites and year-round drop-off locations near you, visit ARTakeBack.org.
Properly destroying these medications also protects the environment. Medicines that are flushed or poured down the drain can end up polluting waters, which could contaminate food and water supplies. Wastewater treatment plants or septic systems may not remove many medicine compounds. Turning over these medications at Take Back Day events also reduces the risk of accidental poisonings by children, seniors or pets, as well as the danger of drug abuse.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Get the Facts Straight Before You VapeThu, Oct 3, 2019
Says, ‘Just because the vaping industry says vapes are safer than cigarettes does not mean they are safe’
LITTLE ROCK – There is a lot of misinformation about e-cigarettes and vapes, but you should get the facts straight before you vape. Vaping is the act of inhaling a vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. The term “vaping” is used because e-cigarettes do not produce smoke as traditional cigarettes do, but rather an aerosol that consists of fine particles potentially containing varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as seizures, respiratory and heart diseases.
“In recent months, the rampant use of e-cigarettes among teens and preteens has hit a fever pitch with too many young people identified by medical experts as being harmed by inhaling these powerful chemicals,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Just because the vaping industry says vapes are safer than cigarettes does not mean they are safe. Through education, enforcement and consumer protection, we can help protect an entire generation from becoming addicted to nicotine.”
E-cigarettes are marketed as a safe alternative to cigarettes, but in reality they are not. Attorney General Rutledge has released the following facts about vaping to help parents protect their children.
- Many e-liquids used in vapes are as strong or stronger than cigarettes and can contain as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes.
- Vapes can be easily disguised in clothing pockets, backpacks and purses; they can look like a USB drive or pen and some are even covered with cartoon character designs.
- Arkansas teenagers and children are twice as likely to start using e-cigarettes and vapes as compared to adults.
- Vape pods and e-liquids are sold in many different flavors including fruit, cinnamon, candy and crème.
- The average age of first time Arkansas users is 14 years old.
- In Arkansas, it is illegal to buy nicotine products, including vapes, online or through the mail.
Attorney General Rutledge will be hosting Youth Vaping Summits at Arkansas Children’s, Children’s Hall on October 7th starting at 9 a.m. and at Bentonville High School on October 9th starting at 2 p.m. The Summit will include discussions and panels from health care professionals, educators, law enforcement, concerned parents and representatives from the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office.
For more information or to attend one of the Youth Vaping Summits, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at 800-482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.