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Attorney General Alerts

Favorite Grandchild Scam Fools Arkansans

Favorite Grandchild Scam Fools Arkansans

Wed, Mar 13, 2019

Elderly Arkansans are often a target of con artists, and one of the most convincing ones is called the favorite grandchild scam. This scam involves a scammer calling an elderly individual, saying they are his/her favorite grandchild and are in trouble and need money wired immediately. Grandparents are often willing to do whatever it takes to help their grandchild, and so they more commonly fall for the scam.

“Under no circumstances should you wire money or give a credit/debit card number to a caller claiming to be a grandchild in jail unless you have verified that information with another close family member,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “The caller tricks Arkansans into saying the names of family and then pretends to be that family member in dire need of money.”

Attorney General Rutledge recommends the following strategies to avoid falling victim to the “favorite grandchild” scheme:

  • Resist pressure to act quickly.
  • Never give or wire money based on any unsolicited phone call.
  • Verify the family member’s location by directly calling another family member or the grandchild.
  • Do not send money to an unknown account or entity.
  • Ask the caller for his or her name, and if they cannot provide it, hang up immediately.
  • Have a plan in place when family members are traveling to easily identify whether or not a need is genuine.

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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Top 10 Complaints of 2018

Top 10 Complaints of 2018

Wed, Mar 6, 2019

In conjunction with National Consumer Protection Week, March 3-9, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the top 10 most common complaints the Attorney General’s office received in 2018.

National Consumer Protection Week is a partnership with attorneys general from across the country, along with many national organizations, including the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission and AARP, to encourage consumers to understand their rights and make educated consumer decisions.

“At the Attorney General’s Office, we take every complaint seriously and will work diligently to protect Arkansans and hold bad actors accountable,” said Attorney General Rutledge.

The 10 most common complaint categories from 2018 were:

  • Automobile sales, service financing and repair
  • Sales of goods and services
  • Health care
  • Home repair, construction and maintenance
  • Landlord/tenant and real estate
  • Satellite, cable and internet service providers
  • Wireless and landline telephone services
  • Scams and opportunities
  • Credit repairs and other financial services
  • Utilities

After falling to the number two most received complaint in 2017, automobile-related transactions returned to the most common type of complaint reports to the Attorney General’s office in 2018. Last year, automobile sales, service financing and repairs brought in 1,200 complaints. These types of complaints often involve consumers reporting financing errors; high-pressure tactics to buy add-on services at the time of purchase, such as gap insurance, extended warranties; and sales misrepresentations.

Attorney General Rutledge’s office resolved 5,595 formal complaints in 2018. File a complaint online at ArkansasAG.gov.

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 Taken for a Ride by Imposter Car Renewal Websites

Don’t Get Taken for a Ride by Imposter Car Renewal Websites

Wed, Feb 27, 2019

Arkansans are required to annually renew license plate registrations, which can be accomplished online at mydmv.arkansas.gov. Some online companies, however, have created services that may mislead consumers into purchasing material they do not need. This problem occurs when a consumer conducts an internet search and clicks on results for a website that appears to be the Arkansas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) but is instead an unrelated site that directs consumers to purchase a registration renewal how-to pamphlet and not a registration renewal. If consumers fall victim to this problem, then consumers run the risk of failing to renew their tags by the deadline and spending money unnecessarily.

“Using any site except the legitimate government one ending in dot G-O-V will result in lost time and money,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “At the time of renewal, the DMV mails a reminder letter which includes the correct web address to complete the registration purchase online.”

Attorney General Rutledge released to following tips to ensure safety while making purchases online.

  • Avoid using an internet search to find the DMV’s site, and instead type mydmv.arkansas.gov directly on the URL at the top of the page.
  • When submitting purchase information, look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar, and the phrase “https” in the URL address for a website to be sure information is secure during transmission.
  • Use a secure browser—software that encrypts or scrambles the purchase information you send over the Internet—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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Search for the words “official website” and try to avoid clicking on “ads”
  • The misleading websites will often have an attention pop-up on the front page stating that they are not affiliated with any government agency.

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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Plan Ahead for Potential Destructive Storms

Plan Ahead for Potential Destructive Storms

Wed, Feb 20, 2019

As springtime nears, the threat of severe weather increases. There are steps Arkansans can take to be better prepared heading into a potentially dangerous season, which often brings large amounts of rain, floods, severe storms and tornadoes.

“We often talk about what to do following a natural disaster, but there are steps Arkansans can take ahead of time to prepare for a potential disaster,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “I urge Arkansans to take time to protect your finances and property in advance of the stormy season. These preparations prevent harm to families, promote financial security, and prevent loss of items that may become lost or damaged.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips on how to prepare for potential storms:

  • Create an emergency plan to share with friends, family and neighbors.
  • Heed severe weather warnings. Once a warning is issued, go to a safe place.
  • Secure personal belongings. It is a good idea to always keep an updated record of the descriptions and serial numbers of electronics and other valuables in case they need to be tracked down, replaced or reported to the insurance company after a disaster strikes.
  • Review insurance policies and consult with a qualified agent or broker to assess insurance coverages.

Recent storms have pushed the capacity of the Cache River to major flood watch due to a threatened breach of the levee along the White River. Both Woodruff and Jackson county officials will continue to monitor and notify local residents of the rivers and levees status as wet weather will continue throughout spring.

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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Tax Season IRS Imposters

Tax Season IRS Imposters

Wed, Feb 13, 2019

Tax season is in full swing and scammers are posing as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents and sending emails with fake tax bills and transcripts to Arkansans. These malicious emails often include an attachment that is not a document from the IRS but rather something harmful that will infect the user’s computer with vicious malware once it is opened. The email may even threaten Arkansans with arrest if payment is not received immediately using a gift card, prepaid debit card or wire transfer.

“The IRS will never send unsolicited emails or accept payment from a prepaid gift card or wire transfer,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “This scam to dupe Arkansans out of their hard-earned money, or steal their personal information, is just one more shameful attempt by criminals to line their own pockets.”

Attorney General Rutledge issued the following tips for anyone who receives an email from someone claiming to be from the IRS:

· Do not reply to the email.

· Do not open any attachments which can contain malicious code that may infect computers or mobile phones.

· Do not click on any links.

· Delete the original email.

Consumers who receive this scam via email should forward it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

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 Seek Money Not Love On Dating Apps

Scammers Seek Money Not Love On Dating Apps

Wed, Feb 6, 2019

Valentine’s Day is another opportunity for scam artists to take advantage of Arkansans putting their heart and money on the line to find love. Con artists are using dating apps, often pretending to be someone they aren’t, with false pictures and information, to get the attention of others with the intent of stealing money from the kind-hearted people they meet on these sites.

“Arkansans should have the opportunity to meet new people without the fear of someone taking advantage of them and their wallets,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “On dating sites, Arkansans must be cautious and keep personal information private. Con artists know how to play on emotions to convince people they need help when they are only wanting to steal money and identities to open credit accounts.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for social media users:

  • It’s called personal information for a reason—keep it to yourself!
  • Do not give out personal information such as addresses and telephone numbers.
  • Consider speaking by telephone before meeting in person, and when meeting in person, make plans to meet new people in a public venue, or bring a friend.
  • Don't post any information that would let someone know you are away on vacation or your house is empty. Posting about being out of town for a few days could make someone a likely target for thieves.
  • Don't post any information that can lead hackers to passwords for online banking or other accounts. For example, common questions for those who have forgotten their passwords for financial or other sites include: “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” or “What’s your favorite pet?” Criminals may be able to find those answers easily on social networking sites.

The Attorney General’s office provides a tip card for consumers, information for parents to spot cyberbullying and offers a Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety. Community educators are also available to present an internet safety program to parents and educators across the state.

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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