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Attorney General Alerts

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Low Temperatures Can Mean Higher Savings

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Low Temperatures Can Mean Higher Savings

Wed, Oct 31, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – As fall season kicks into high gear, temperatures drop which means home heating costs begin impacting families’ budgets across Arkansas. But there are steps consumers can take to stay warm and save money.

“By taking a few practical steps we can find the balance of keeping warm and saving money,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “It is unknown what winter will bring this year, but as temperatures drop, keeping energy costs down is important to every family.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to save energy costs through the colder months:

· Keep curtains open during the day for natural heat, and close them at night to retain the heat.

· Use a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when no one is home.

· Seal cracks or holes around the home by weather-stripping doors and windows and adding insulation to walls, the attic and crawlspace to prevent it from losing heat.

· Set ceiling fans to spin clockwise to recirculate rising warm air.

· Make sure baseboard heaters, air vents and radiators are not obstructed.

· Service the heating system at least once a year to ensure it is operating properly.

· Consult with a licensed plumber regarding potential options to insulate the water heater to spend less to heat the water.

· Close the vents and doors to rooms that are not being used.

· Keep air filters clean and replace regularly.

Use caution while using space heaters. Always keep them away from flammable materials and consider the impact it could have on the energy bill. The Department of Energy reports that space heaters account for about 45 percent of energy bills in average U.S. homes.

Also, be cautious of products claiming to drastically lower heating costs and avoid unsolicited high-pressure sales calls for visits from contractors offering furnaces, windows, roofing and other home-improvement projects. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Arkansans having trouble paying heating or electricity bills this winter should learn more about the Weatherization Assistance Program.

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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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Trick-or-Treating Doesn’t Have to be Scary

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Trick-or-Treating Doesn’t Have to be Scary

Wed, Oct 24, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Some Halloween costumes and decorations are meant to be scary, but Arkansans can take certain precautions to avoid unnecessary scares this year. Various activities surrounding Halloween are often distractions to important measures we can all take to keep our children and night free from danger.

“Trick-or-treating is a fun activity for all kids,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “But as adults, we need to also remember to keep them safe. This includes visiting trusted neighborhoods, choosing a safe costume and staying visible while on the streets.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to parents to avoid unexpected and unnecessary problems on Halloween:

  • Select flame-resistant materials, masks, beards and wigs and try to avoid baggy sleeves and billowing skirts.
  • Choose costumes with light or bright colors whenever possible, or trim a darker costume with reflective tape. Consider also having children carry a flashlight to make sure they can see the walking path and are visible to drivers.
  • To avoid tripping and falling, choose costumes that fit well and do not drag on the ground.
  • Make sure masks fit securely, have adequate ventilation and provide unobstructed views. Consider applying make-up to children’s faces instead of selecting loose-fitting masks.
  • Swords, knives and other accessories should be made of soft and flexible materials.
  • Take children to familiar neighborhoods and approach only homes with outside lighting.
  • Remind children of everyday safety rules, such as not getting into cars or talking to strangers, watching both ways before crossing streets and crossing with the stop light at an intersection when they are trick-or-treating.
  • Adults should always accompany small children to caution them against running into streets and across lawns or driveways. Please use sidewalks where available.
  • Encourage children to wait until they get home to eat candy so that adults can inspect the goodies.
  • Parents should throw away any treats that are not commercially wrapped or appear to be tampered with.

Rutledge also reminds drivers to keep an eye out for children darting out from between parked cars or walking on roadways, curbs or streets. Moving vehicles can be the biggest danger. Motorists should enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully and watch attentively for children in dark clothing at dusk.

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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AG ALERT: Statewide Prescription Drug Take Back is October 27

AG ALERT: Statewide Prescription Drug Take Back is October 27

Wed, Oct 17, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – The prescription drug epidemic is wreaking havoc across our state and country. More than half of Arkansas teens report it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. The bi-annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day is the ideal opportunity to turn in unused and expired medication, to ensure it stays out of the hands of addicted Arkansans.

“Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have unknowingly become drug dealers to family members,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Properly disposing of medication is imperative and can save the lives of family members, friends and fellow Arkansans. This epidemic impacts a staggering number of families across Arkansas and it takes action by all of us to make a difference.”

Attorney General Rutledge is reminding Arkansans about the national Prescription Drug Take Back Event and the various drop-off locations available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27. 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.

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

· Opioids, such as OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, etc.

· Stimulants, such as Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Dexedrine, etc.

· Depressants, such as Ativan, Xanax, Valium, etc.

· 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.

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 reduces the risk of drug abuse.

The Attorney General’s Office also partners with local law enforcement to host take back events at mobile offices around the State. Since 2016, 611.2 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected and safely disposed of by Attorney General’s office mobile offices – keeping them out of the hands of children and those with addictions.

Rutledge is partnering on the Prescription Drug Take Back with the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas 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.

Prescription Drug Take Back days are just one step in Rutledge’s multi-faceted approach of education, prevention and litigation to end the opioid crisis. Last fall, Rutledge launched Prescription for Life, a first-in-the-nation educational tool offered at no cost to all high school students in the State to help them understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. To date, it has been launched in 80 schools, across 60 counties and reached over 8,600 students. Rutledge has a new initiative, called #Rx4LifeStories, inviting Arkansans to submit videos discussing how the nation’s opioid epidemic has impacted their lives and the lives of their families.

Rutledge is also suing the opioid manufacturers that created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.

Each year, Rutledge partners with a number of agencies in hosting the Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit. The summit is a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. The seventh annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit is scheduled for Nov. 1 in Hot Springs, with more than 800 taking advantage of early bird registration.

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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AG ALERT: Online Services May Not Be All That They Appear

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Online Services May Not Be All That They Appear

Wed, Oct 10, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – From food delivery to job applications, many services are available online rather than requiring Arkansans to visit a storefront, but the quality of services may diminish if completed online rather than in person. Some companies are offering medical services online, including eye and hearing exams, potentially decreasing the accuracy of the services.

“Arkansans should take advantage of advances in technology often to make our busy lives easier,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “But we should all do our due diligence to research companies and apps to ensure that the services are accurate, effective and legitimate.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers who decide to pay for services online:

· Check the site’s privacy policy before providing any personal financial information and determine how the information will be used or shared with others. Also check the site’s statements about the security provided for your information. Some websites’ disclosures are easier to find than others — look at the bottom of the home page, on order forms or in the “About” or “FAQs” section of a site.

· Pay by credit card, the most secure way. Under federal law, you can dispute the charges if you do not get what you were promised. You may also dispute unauthorized charges on your credit card. Many credit card issuers have “zero liability” policies under which you pay nothing if someone steals and uses your credit card.

· 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.

· Review monthly credit card and bank statements for any errors or unauthorized purchases promptly and thoroughly. Notify your credit or debit card issuer immediately if your credit or debit card or checkbook is lost or stolen, or if you suspect someone is using your accounts without your permission.

Rutledge encourages Arkansans to check a business’s status with the Attorney General’s Office or the Better Business Bureau to ensure its legitimacy.

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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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Military Service Members Can Vote Absentee

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Military Service Members Can Vote Absentee

Wed, Oct 3, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Voting at the ballot box is an important right for all Americans, including our active duty military men and women, and their families. But voting absentee may be confusing and often an option some may not be aware of. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act ensures voting eligibility in the military member’s state of legal residence.

“The deadline is quickly approaching to register to vote to be able to cast a vote in November’s general election,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “It is important that all Arkansans have their voices heard in November, including our military service members who are currently stationed outside of their home State or country. Absentee ballots can be requested by contacting the county clerk where the service member is registered to vote.”

Attorney General Rutledge shares Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin’s list of qualifications for voting absentee:

· The voter will be unavoidably absent from the polling site on election day.

· The voter will be unable to attending the polling site on election day due to illness or physical disability.

· The member of the Uniformed Services, merchant marines, spouse or a dependent family member are away from the polling location due to the member’s active duty status.

· A U.S. citizen whose residence is in Arkansas but is temporarily living outside the territorial limits of the United States is eligible to vote absentee.

According to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Elections Division, absentee ballots can be delivered through either the U.S. Postal Service or Ballot Safe, a secure online website. If the military service member decides to download the ballot instead of receiving a hard copy, the ballot will need to be printed, filled out and mailed to the county clerk, postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 6.

Military and family members are eligible to vote in their state of legal residence. This could be an original address, or the families can change their legal residence at each permanent duty station change. The American Bar Association encourages military families to keep voter registration, vehicle registration and State of legal residence the same for tax purposes.

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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AG ALERT: Flood-Damaged Vehicles Make Their Way to Arkansas

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Flood-Damaged Vehicles Make Their Way to Arkansas

Wed, Sep 26, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – While the damage from Hurricane Florence was mostly concentrated to the Carolinas, the effects may be felt across the country as bad actors line their own pockets by selling water-damaged items and vehicles.

“Unfortunately Arkansas has some unscrupulous car dealers who may not follow Arkansas law by providing the proper documentation when selling water-damaged vehicles,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is common for these sellers to try to take advantage of consumers by selling damaged out-of-state vehicles without proper disclosure.”

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.

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for Arkansans to consider before purchasing a new or used vehicle that could have been involved in the recent flooding.

  • 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.

Consumers who believe they have been sold a flood-damaged item that was not advertised as such should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office.

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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