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Attorney General Alerts

Scammers Selling Fake 'Fido' Pets to Families

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Scammers Selling Fake 'Fido' Pets to Families

Wed, Apr 10, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – 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

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Scammers Posing as Trusted Companies to Steal Financial Information

Thu, Apr 4, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – 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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Door-to-Door Salespeople Springing into Action

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Door-to-Door Salespeople Springing into Action

Wed, Mar 27, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – Spring is in full swing, but the warmer temperatures often bring scammers who try to sell products door-to-door. The Attorney General’s office regularly receives complaints each year about door-to-door salespeople using scare tactics and violations of the Home Solicitations Sales Act to sell home alarm systems.

“The Arkansas Home Solicitations Sales Act provides important protections for consumers,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “High pressure sales tactics, misrepresentations of products and failure to provide a copy of the contract are just some of the common illegal practices utilized by door-to-door salespeople. My office is here to educate Arkansans about their rights and to fight for consumers when a business violates the law.”

Attorney General Rutledge provided the below tips for consumers to help spot an unscrupulous door-to-door salesperson:

  • Consumers have a right to review the contract outside the presence of the sales agent and cancel the contract without obligation within three days of the home solicitation sale. The sales agent must provide the consumer written notice of this right to cancel along with the proposed contract.
  • High-pressure tactics are rarely employed by companies whose business depends on providing quality customer service. A legitimate company will allow consumers to weigh options and will review with the consumer the details of the sale and features of the product or service.
  • The solicitor may suggest that an existing service or product needs an “upgrade,” when the salesperson actually represents a different company. This may lead a homeowner to believe the service or product must be “upgraded” to remain reliable.
  • Be wary of home solicitations involving “free installation.” Homeowners may think it is a bargain, but many “free installation” offers are coupled with long-term, high-cost service contracts or other hidden costs. In the long run, the “free” offer may be the most expensive of all.

Arkansans who may have been victimized by deceptive home solicitation sales practices are encouraged to contact 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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Tax Scammers Send Fake Letters

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Tax Scammers Send Fake Letters

Wed, Mar 20, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – With tax season deadline looming, scammers continue to adapt when seeking ways to instill fear and intimidate Arkansans. The Arkansas Attorney General’s office has received reports of a scam being sent through the mail which appears to be a letter from the so-called “Bureau of Tax Enforcement for Pulaski County”—an entity that does NOT exist—claiming the recipient owes money to another state.

“Scammers are determined to steal your hard-earned money and will go to great lengths to intimidate Arkansans,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “The Bureau of Tax Enforcement for Pulaski County is a fake, unlawful organization and these letters often to do not provide a return address, only a phone number.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to use if Arkansans have received a similar letter:

  • Contact the local tax office to make sure you have no outstanding bills.
  • Do not verify sensitive information such as social security number and banking information; verifying that information could lead to identity theft.
  • File a police report with your local law enforcement.
  • If consumers have questions, then contact the Attorney General’s office.

The scam letter may also request that the recipient purchase gift cards or prepaid debit cards to pay off the “debt.” The scammer will ask for the code on the purchased card, which gives them complete access to money on the card. In most cases, once the prepaid card money is depleted, it cannot be recovered.

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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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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