News/Events

Attorney General Alerts

AG Alert: Apple Support Advisor Scam Uses Scare Tactics

AG Alert: Apple Support Advisor Scam Uses Scare Tactics

Wed, May 23, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Scammers unrelenting phone call tactics are used to convince Arkansans of suspicious activity in Apple iCloud accounts, stating the user must contact Apple Support Advisor immediately. The automated calls that appear to be from Dallas, Nebraska, Hawaii and other locations, ask Arkansans to press 1 or call 925-244-1845 to connect with the company, but this is a scam.

“These deceptive phone calls can often sound legitimate and may scare some Apple users into following the caller’s instructions,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But the caller is likely to ask for remote access to the computer to change settings and trick the user into installing malware. The caller could also convince the user to enroll in a fake maintenance program and ask for credit card information to complete the purchase. Arkansans should never turn over any personal or financial information during an unsolicited phone call and should confirm caller ID and call back numbers from an independent search.”

Attorney General Rutledge and the Federal Trade Commission released the following tips for Arkansans who receive this call, or get a similar pop-up message on the computer:

  • Hang up on unexpected or urgent call from anyone claiming to be tech support. It’s not a real call. And do not rely on caller ID to prove who a caller is because criminals can spoof the phone number they are calling from.
  • Do not give personal or banking information over the phone to an unknown individual.
  • If asked to pay for anything with a prepaid gift card, then it is a scam.
  • Ignore pop-up message on the computer or a mobile device encouraging the user to call tech support. There are legitimate pop-ups from security software to do things like update operating systems. But do not call a number that pops up on the screen in a warning about a computer problem.
  • Call the security software company directly if there is reason for concern – but do not use the phone number in the pop-up or on caller ID. Instead, look for the company’s contact information online or a receipt.
  • Never share passwords or give control of a computer to an unsolicited caller.

My office has received reports of Arkansans receiving multiple calls a day from different numbers, all with the same recordings.

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.

MORE
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Vacationers Beware of Travel Scams

AG ALERT: Vacationers Beware of Travel Scams

Wed, May 16, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansans should be aware of common scams when planning or taking a vacation this summer.

“Countless Arkansans look to summer vacation as a chance to get away and relax, but con artists become creative and recognize this as another opportunity to steal from honest people,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans should not let their guard down, even on vacation. Whether it’s at home, on the beach or by the lake, we all need to remain diligent in protecting our money and personal information.”

All vacationers should exercise caution when booking travel accommodations. Some scammers will take to the internet or phone lines to pitch free or deeply discounted travel deals, trying to convince unknowing vacationers that the only requirement is a “small” processing fee or credit card number verification. Others will post stolen photos and listing information for properties they do not own, take the cash from reservations and leave vacationers without a place to stay.

Arkansans should not only keep their guard up during the booking process, but also throughout the vacation itself. Vacationers should be wary of high-pressure tactics and seemingly legitimate but unverified offers while on their trips.

Attorney General Rutledge also released the below list of common scams consumers could encounter on vacation.

  • Gasoline Scam: Someone approaches with a convincing story that they ran out of gas and money. They only need $40 to fill up the tank and may even offer to mail a check to repay you. The likelihood that the repayment will be received is slim. Either refuse to give the person money or pay for the fuel if the person is at the service station to ensure the money is spent as intended.
  • Ride Service Scam: A “driver” approaches and mentions he is off duty but trying to make some extra money and offers a ride, but he ends up taking the scenic route traveling miles out of the way to boost the fare. To avoid this scam, ensure the driver is on duty, licensed and metered.
  • Fake Front Desk Phone Call Scam: Scam artists call hotel rooms directly, often in the middle of the night while guests are disoriented by being woken up. They say there has been a computer glitch and they need to verify your credit card information. Hang up and go directly to the front desk to verify the call.
  • Wi-Fi Hot Spot Scam: Crooks can create their own Wi-Fi spot and give it a similar name to an actual hotspot. Then these scammers can spy on everything the user does, from accessing bank accounts to making online purchases. Be sure to ask the hotel or restaurant what their Wi-Fi name is before logging on.

It is possible to find a good travel deal or even win a vacation. However, Arkansans should do their homework when booking and remember that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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.

MORE
AG ALERT: Predators Harvest Photos from Hashtags

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Predators Harvest Photos from Hashtags

Wed, May 9, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Posting pictures of your children under seemingly innocent hashtags has a sinister side and could put them on the radar of child predators. With summer quickly approaching, Arkansans must know that predators search common hashtags looking for pictures to sell, trade or use for their own pleasure – including, but not limited to, photos of common summertime activities such as swimming, bath time and sleepovers.

“Parents commonly post pictures of their children to share with family and friends, but what they don’t realize is they may be putting their children in danger,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Hashtags make it easy to share the joys and hardships of parenthood with others, but predators will use those same hashtags, like #bathtime or #toddlerbikini, to find pictures for their own twisted use.”

The Child Rescue Coalition issued the following questions parents should ask themselves before posting an image of children online:

  • Why am I sharing this?
  • Would I want someone else to share an image like this of me?
  • Would I want this image of my child viewed and downloaded by predators on the Dark Web?
  • Is this something I want to be part of my child’s digital life?

Predators near and far can harvest photos that most would consider cherished or fun childhood memories, and distribute them a number of ways – including but not limited to the Dark Web. Arkansas parents should always use extreme caution when posting any pictures of their child online.

Arkansans can report child exploitation by calling the National CyberTipline, (800) 843-5678, or visit CyberTipline.com. To report child abuse, call the Arkansas State Police Child Abuse Hotline, (800) 482-5964, or, in the event of an emergency, dial 911 or a local law enforcement agency.

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.

MORE
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: The Dangers of Unwashed Poppy Seeds

AG ALERT: The Dangers of Unwashed Poppy Seeds

Wed, May 2, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning consumers about a lethal opioid that may be lurking in their kitchen pantries – unwashed poppy seeds. After meeting with parents who lost a child to these seemingly innocent seeds, Attorney General Rutledge wants to ensure that all Arkansans are educated about the dangers. While washed poppy seeds are a safe and popular ingredient in everything from baked goods to salad dressings, some individuals are engaging in the dangerous behavior of making a “tea” with the unwashed seeds to settle their nerves or to get a high.

“The brewing and consumption of unwashed poppy seed tea is a dangerous trend with potentially lethal consequences,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Unwashed poppy seeds are available from many online retailers and could be easily confused for the commonly-used washed variety. Arkansans should ensure that they are purchasing and using the correct variety of poppy seeds since the unwashed seeds can be dangerous, addictive and even lethal.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers shopping online who may have purchased unwashed poppy seeds instead of washed by mistake.

  • Thoroughly review the order to ensure you are ordering the product(s) you searched for.
  • Carefully research the product by reading manufacturer information, consumer reviews and other literature to determine whether the seeds are washed or unwashed.
  • Read and understand the refund and shipping policies before you make your purchase. Look closely at disclosures about the seller’s refund and shipping policies.
  • If possible, use credit cards for payment. Credit card purchases are the most secure and easiest to return. And under federal law, you can dispute the charges if you do not get what you were promised.

Arkansas consumers should also be aware of the overdose risks that may come with unwashed poppy seeds. Recent research found that the unwashed seeds can have an opium latex on them that is activated during the tea brewing process. Morphine levels vary widely among unwashed seeds, ranging from trace to lethal amounts, and consumers should be cautious and thoroughly research the products they are purchasing.

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.

MORE
AG Alert: Statewide Prescription Drug Take Back is April 28

AG Alert: Statewide Prescription Drug Take Back is April 28

Wed, Apr 25, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – As the opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc across the state, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is encouraging all Arkansans to participate in the statewide Prescription Drug Take Back this Saturday, April 28. In the face of an epidemic that claimed 401 Arkansans in 2016, it is more critical than ever to clean out medicine cabinets and ensure that unused, expired and unwanted prescriptions remain out of the hands of children and those with addiction.

“The number of Arkansans impacted by the opioid epidemic is staggering and we all must work together to end opioid abuse and misuse,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have unknowingly become drug dealers to their family members. By cleaning out our medicine cabinets and properly disposing of expired and unused prescription medication, whether at the Arkansas Prescription Drug Take Back on April 28 or one of my office’s take back events, we can save lives.”

Attorney General Rutledge is reminding all Arkansans about the national Prescription Drug Take Back Event and the many drop-off locations available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. Medications may be returned in the original bottle or in any other container for increased privacy.

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

According to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory and Medical Examiner’s Office, 401 Arkansans died from drug overdoses in 2016. More than 40 percent of teenagers in Arkansas have tried prescription drugs and more than half of all teens report that it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets.

Take backs are also important in protecting the environment and home. Many medications are not removed by wastewater treatment plants or septic systems, meaning that medicines flushed or poured down the drain can end up polluting waters and contaminating food and water supplies. 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.

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 the updated ARTakeBack.org. The Attorney General’s Office also partners with local law enforcement to host take back events at mobile offices around the State. Since 2016, 570.8 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected and safely disposed of at 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-faced approach to ending the opioid crisis. Rutledge is also suing the 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. 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 57 schools across 50 counties and reached over 6,000 students with an additional 24 schools committed to launch the program this fall. Each year, Rutledge partners with a number of agencies in hosting the Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit, a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators.

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.

MORE
AG Alert: Storm Victims Seek Repairs

AG Alert: Storm Victims Seek Repairs

Wed, Apr 18, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Con artists are trying to take advantage of Arkansans who suffered property damage from the eleven tornados that touched down across our state last Friday, April 13. Damage is strung from the northwest corner to the southeast corner of the Natural State, leaving countless storm victims vulnerable to scams as they assess the damage and seek repairs this week.

“Home repair scams are common following severe weather and place additional strain on hard working Arkansans when repairs aren’t completed as promised,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “These bad actors prey on victims of severe weather and take advantage of the unexpected and urgent nature of storm damage repairs. I urge all Arkansans to stay alert and use caution as they begin the clean-up process.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to ensure they hire a reputable contractor to complete the repairs:

  • Beware of door-to-door solicitors selling home-repair work. To find someone reputable, ask friends or family who have recently used a home-repair contractor or professional. Consider contacting the Arkansas Contractor’s Licensing Board to verify that the contractor is licensed and has not had any complaints filed against it.
  • Avoid any home-repair solicitor who asks for an upfront payment or who will not provide you with a written contract.
  • Get at least three written estimates. A reputable contractor or professional will never try to pressure you to obtain your business.
  • Obtain and check at least three references from your contractor or professional.
  • Check with the Attorney General’s office or the Better Business Bureau to find out if the company has a complaint history.
  • Obtain a written and detailed contract that includes the grade, quality, name brand and quantity of any materials to be used. The name and address of the contractor must be on the contract.
  • Avoid paying for the entire job up front. One-third paid in advance, one-third paid halfway through the job and one-third paid upon completion is a better plan, helping assure that your project will be completed. Never make the final payment until you have had an opportunity to inspect the work.
  • Remember that all contracts resulting from a home-solicitation sale generally must include a buyer’s right to cancel within three business days after the contract is signed.
  • Make sure all warranties and guarantees are in writing.

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.

MORE
Contact Us
Sign Up For Consumer Alerts