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Attorney General Alerts

Vacationers Scammed By Online Hotel Bookers

Vacationers Scammed By Online Hotel Bookers

Wed, May 8, 2019

Third-party travel websites are popular but some may charge Arkansans unnecessary, hidden fees. As Arkansans begin to make summer vacation plans, they should use caution when going online for services including booking travel through an online third-party vendor.

“Some unscrupulous online travel vendors use deceptive and misleading marketing tactics to convince consumers they are talking directly to a hotel,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “In these situations, the consumer is actually talking to a third party that may charge additional fees and may cause the reservation and any special reservation requests to be lost or incorrectly recorded.”

Attorney General Rutledge urges all Arkansans to observe the recommendations of the Better Business Bureau and the American Hotel and Lodging Association to ensure safe travel booking:

  • Whenever possible, book directly with the hotel or resort.
  • If using a third-party booking site, make sure the site is legitimate. Do not trust a website just because it appears to be legitimate or comes up near the top of online search results.
  • The best hotel deals are often available far in advance. Planning ahead will give the opportunity to research different sites, compare options and amenities, and lock in a good rate.
  • Avoid broad internet searches like “best deals” or “cheapest rates.” Broad search terms can sometimes lead to websites that look official, but are not. Deceptive travel sites often pose as the actual hotel’s website, even using the hotel’s name in the URL and its logo and copyrighted images throughout the site. Double check the website address before providing your credit card information.
  • Call the hotel a few weeks before the travel date to confirm the reservation.

In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission settled a federal lawsuit with a third-party hotel-booking website accused of misleading consumers into believing they were booking directly with a hotel.

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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Don’t Get Hung Up by Phone Scammers

Don’t Get Hung Up by Phone Scammers

Wed, May 1, 2019

Scammers are continuing to find ways to steal Arkansans’ Social Security numbers. Many of these attempts begin with a robocall requesting a call back and stating that the consumer’s Social Security number has been found, often at the scene of a crime. The person on the other end of the phone threatens the consumer by stating if they do not return the call they will be sent to jail.

“Never give out or confirm personal information, such as your Social Security number, to someone you don’t know,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Con artists are very good at convincing consumers to turn over personal information, sometimes even turning forceful or threatening. We must all remain vigilant and not turn over any information, especially through an unsolicited phone call.”

Attorney General Rutledge and the Federal Trade Commission released the following tips to use if someone calls claiming to be from a government agency or have your personal information:

  • Use due diligence to confirm the identity and legitimacy of the person on the other end of the phone by hanging up and finding the phone number from an old bill or the organization’s website before giving or confirming any information.
  • Be cautious of callers using organization names similar to existing agencies. Scammers use internet technology to spoof area codes, so although it may seem the call is from Washington, D.C., for example, it could originate from anywhere in the world.
  • The Social Security Administration and other government agencies have warned about these scams and suggest contacting that agency 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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Flooding Brings Headaches for Arkansans

Flooding Brings Headaches for Arkansans

Wed, Apr 24, 2019

After the recent heavy rains and severe storms swept across Arkansas, which caused a section of I-30 to be temporarily shut down and storm damage throughout the State, Arkansans are left picking up the pieces and preparing for storm season. While nature’s fury can be devastating, there are many things that Arkansans can do to protect themselves and their property in the aftermath of a storm.

“Severe storms and flood waters can cause terrible damage to property,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Arkansans need to know the steps to take if their property has been impacted by the recent severe weather. We also need to know how to protect our pocketbook from those who want to take advantage of us during this difficult time.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers who are cleaning up water damage on their property:

  • Call your insurance agent. If insurance covers the damage, the agent should have an adjuster contact you.
  • Make a list of the damage and take photographs or video as you clean. This documentation will be needed for insurance claims, applications for disaster assistance, and income tax deductions.
  • Clear away any mud, and clean and disinfect every surface.
  • Check with the Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau before hiring anyone to clean up or make repairs.
  • Get multiple estimates and compare prices.
  • Turn off all electrical and heating and cooling systems to be inspected and repaired or cleaned by a qualified or licensed contractor.
  • Appliances and electronics should be professionally cleaned and serviced to prevent electrocution.
  • Never pay in advance for any repair service, and inspect the completed project before making the final payment.
  • Communicate with the insurance company directly rather than authorizing a contractor to negotiate with the company.

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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Prescription Drug Take Back Scheduled for April 27

Prescription Drug Take Back Scheduled for April 27

Wed, Apr 17, 2019

The bi-annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for April 27. It is an important opportunity for Arkansans to clean out old and unused prescription medications because more than half of Arkansas teens report it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. Prescription Drug Take back is one way to ensure these lethal drugs stay out of the hands of addicted Arkansans.

“The prescription drug epidemic continues to wreak havoc on our state and country,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Misuse and abuse of prescription drugs impacts a staggering number of families across Arkansas. It will take all of us working together to make a difference, including properly disposing of medications.”

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
  • 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, April 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.

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.

Attorney General Rutledge has been a leader in the State and nation combatting the opioid epidemic by using a multifaceted approach through education, prevention and litigation. Her first-in-the-nation Prescription for Life program is free for high schools and over the last year has reached almost 14,000 students. In November, the Attorney General hosted the annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit with record attendance, which provided training and educational opportunities for law enforcement, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. Rutledge has taken an aggressive approach to protect Arkansans and combat the epidemic by suing Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Endo, opioid manufacturers who created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.

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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Scammers Selling Fake 'Fido' Pets to Families

Scammers Selling Fake 'Fido' Pets to Families

Wed, Apr 10, 2019

Scam artists are hiding online pretending to sell domestic pets, but instead are taking the consumer’s money without turning over a new fluffy friend. Often, these ads are found on free buy-and-sell websites and use especially endearing photos of the animal they have no intention of sending, or may not even own.

“Con artists are scouring the internet looking for new ways to get into our wallets,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Families considering adding a new pet have a lot to think about, especially whether having this new pet is the right decision for them. They should not have to also worry if the seller is trying to scam them.”

Attorney General Rutledge and the Federal Trade Commission released the following tips to avoid falling victim to a scammer selling a pet that does not exist.

  • Visit in person the breeder or rescue group offering the pet. Responsible individuals and organizations will allow potential customers to tour their facility.
  • Search the user’s profile for warning signs that it may be a scam. Fake breeder websites can often look real because they steal content from legitimate rescue sites. Look for duplicate sites by copying a line from the website into a search engine and looking for identical wording elsewhere on the Internet.
  • Arrange to pick up the animal from a kennel instead of meeting the breeder at a potentially unsafe location. Do not rely on the breeder to ship the animal, and never pay for shipping.
  • Check the organization’s references. Talk to others who have purchased pets from this breeder and the breeder’s veterinarian.
  • Pay for the puppy with a check or credit card. If a breeder pressures for a wire transfer or prepaid debit card payment, it is probably a scam.

Attorney General Rutledge encourages Arkansans to do their research regarding adopting and purchasing pets. If you have questions about a potential pet shipper, the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association provides a list of trusted shippers across the world.


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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Scammers Posing as Trusted Companies to Steal Financial Information

Scammers Posing as Trusted Companies to Steal Financial Information

Thu, Apr 4, 2019

Scammers are posing as employees of legitimate and trusted businesses such as pest control, lawn care or alarm companies in an attempt to steal personal information from Arkansans. The caller tries to set up an in-home appointment or confirm personal information in hopes of gaining access to credit card numbers, social security numbers or bank account information. This is a scam, and Arkansans should hang up immediately.

“Arkansans should be cautious of unsolicited callers trying to confirm personal information and set up appointments,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “If you have any doubt, hang up and find the company’s phone number from an independent source and call them to confirm the information you have been told. Do not use the number on your caller ID from the original call.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for recognizing and responding to these types of scam calls:

  • These callers may request to be contacted only at the number provided instead of the company’s general number.
  • These scammers know your name but try to gather other personal information.
  • Be mindful that scammers can spoof the caller ID to suggest they are calling from the trusted company when they are not.
  • Do not trust the caller simply because they have personal information.
  • Do not verify information or give out personal banking or similar information because it could lead to identity theft.

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, which requires that consumers first file a police report for financial identity theft.

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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