Attorney General Alerts
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Better Watch Out for Scam Artists Coming to TownMon, Nov 23, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – The most popular shopping days are upon Arkansans and whether shopping online or in-store, scammers can get pretty creative when trying to steal money from consumers. Con artists will take any opportunity to steal money, personal information, or even your identity this holiday season.
“It’s important for Arkansans to always be careful whether they are shopping online or in-store this Christmas season,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Far too often, I’ve seen the lengths that scam artists will go to in an attempt to steal money from hard-working Arkansans.”
Attorney General Rutledge provides the following tips to help keep consumers safe while shopping online:
- Look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar, and the abbreviation “https” in the web address to be sure information is secure and 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.
- Read and understand return, refund and shipping policies before you make your purchase.
- Pay by credit card, which is the most secure payment method. Under federal law, charges can be disputed and consumer liability for theft is limited so long as consumers promptly notify the bank or credit card issuer. Additionally, many credit card issuers have “zero liability” policies under which the purchaser pays nothing if his or her credit card is stolen and used to make unauthorized purchases.
- 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.
- Be cautious when buying gifts from an online auction. Understand how the auction works and check out the seller’s reputation before bidding. Always ask about terms of delivery and return options. Never wire money for the purchase; use some other form of payment.
- Keep records of online transactions and check for emails from merchants while doing business. Merchants may email important information about purchases.
- Promptly and thoroughly review monthly credit card and bank statements for any errors or unauthorized purchases. Notify the credit or debit card issuer immediately if a card or checkbook is lost or stolen or if you suspect someone is using your accounts without your permission.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Don’t Test Your Luck over a Trophy BuckTue, Nov 10, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Even though many activities have changed in 2020, Arkansas is still an outdoorsman’s paradise. According to Arkansas law, all hunters are required to carry a valid Arkansas hunting license while hunting and must check all harvested deer within 12 hours.
“Hunting in Arkansas is deeply rooted in our culture, tourism and family traditions,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans are well-aware of the importance of hunting safely, responsibly and legally because they are conservationists dedicated to passing on our great traditions to the next generation. I am deeply grateful for the many Wildlife Officers committed to preserving the resources of the The Natural State for future generations.”
Attorney General Rutledge urges hunters to follow all regulations and to use the guidebooks and other resources provided by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
- Arkansas hunters and anglers 16 years or older are required to purchase a hunting or fishing license. A license can be purchased online through the AGFC smartphone app, agfc.com, or over the phone at 501-223-6300, at participating sporting goods stores, nature centers and at AGFC offices.
- Arkansas hunters and anglers can carry a digital copy of their hunting and fishing licenses using the AGFC smartphone app. The digital copy also may be carried on their phone as a screenshot of the license image or as an image saved in their phones’ files. They may also carry their license as a paper copy or even a reloadable plastic card to show proof of purchase.
- Arkansas hunters are required to check harvested deer within 12 hours, either by the AGFC app, agfc.com, or by phone at 877-731-5627.
- Anyone born after 1968 must complete a hunter education course to hunt in Arkansas, which can be completed via instructor or online. Children under 16 may hunt without hunter education as long as they are under the direct supervision of someone who is 21 years or older.
For more information on hunting safely and legally visit www.agfc.com.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Scammers Targeting Funeral HomesFri, Nov 6, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – The loss of a loved one is difficult enough for family as they make funeral arrangements, but scam artists have been targeting funeral homes to trick the businesses into giving the recently passed family member’s social security number and other personal information. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s Office has identified scam artists posing as family members calling funeral homes seeking the social security number of “their beloved family member” to complete end-of-life arrangements.
“Scam artists have taken their skills to a new low by targeting families and businesses dealing with the heart-wrenching loss of our loved ones and causing long-term problems for the family and finances,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I urge any funeral homes receiving calls demanding social security or personal information to hang up the phone and call my office immediately.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help consumers and businesses avoid social security scams:
- Establish policies and procedures. Protect consumer information and prevent consumer data breaches.
- Train your staff. Make sure all employees know your office’s policy about consumer privacy protection and safeguards, when it comes to purchasing supplies, receiving goods, and invoicing.
- Verify to clarify. Be wary of anybody who calls out of the blue claiming to be your regular supplier or client. Ask the caller to verify the account number or contact your supplier or client independently to confirm the authenticity of the information offered.
- Consider adopting a policy where the company does not provide personal information over the phone without prior authorization
- Be skeptical of any phone call requesting personal information, such as social security numbers, and verify the identity of the caller
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Casting Your Vote in 2020Fri, Oct 23, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Election Day 2020 is quickly approaching - a time when Arkansans have the opportunity to have their constitutional rights heard by making important decisions on candidates and issues being considered on the ballot. This year has brought forward challenges that have required additional precautions which will ensure all Arkansans are safe while executing their voting rights. Despite any concerns with the changes, it is important for Arkansans to know that the integrity of the election is preserved and that when a ballot is cast, it will be counted.
“Voting is one of the most important rights we have as Americans,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “We are blessed to live in a country with free and fair elections where our voice truly matters when we exercise our right to vote.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following voter information list:
- Confirm your voting registration, location and precinct with your county clerk on your voter registration card or online at VoterView.org.
- Check with your County Clerk to view a sample ballot before you vote.
- Due to COVID-19, you may request an absentee ballot from the County Clerk’s office by printing an English or Spanish absentee ballot application and return it by mail or in person to your county clerk by October 27.
- The Arkansas Health Department issued a guidance for voters to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
- Review candidate information and ballot issues by visiting the Secretary of State’s Elections website.
- Research ballot issues from a non-partisan source beforehand to be a more informed voter.
- Early voting for Arkansas began Monday, October 19th and will run through Monday, November 2nd, the day before Election Day. The polls are open on Monday through Friday 8am-6pm and Saturdays 10am-4pm with hours on Monday the 2nd at 8am to 5pm.
Absentee ballots must be returned to your County Clerk by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, November 3. Military ballots must be post marked by Election Day and received by Friday, November 13.
For tips on what to expect at your polling location, you can review the Secretary of State’s Voting 101 Pocket Guide or if you would like to report a voting concern, please contact the State Board of Election Commissioners at (501) 682-1834 or visit arkansas.gov/sbec.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Statewide Drug Take Back Day Scheduled for October 24Wed, Oct 14, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is encouraging Arkansans to clean out their medicine cabinets and bring any unused or expired medications to one of the State’s more than 250 Prescription Drug Take Back Day drop-off locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 24.
“Overdose abuse statistics are staggering, but cleaning out medicine cabinets and turning the expired, unused medications over to law enforcement during a Drug Take Back event can save lives,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “With overdoses on the rise during the pandemic, now more than ever we must continue to properly dispose of these prescription drugs.”
Prescription Drug Take Back Day is held semi-annually with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Rotary Clubs, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, DEA, FBI, Office of the State Drug Director and over 130 additional law enforcement and government agencies, community organizations and public health providers.
Event sites are held at various locations across the State but year-round locations are also available and can be found at ARTakeBack.org. The Attorney General’s office also hosts take back events at mobile offices around the State. Since the program began, more than 72 tons of medication have been collected in Arkansas, which is an estimated 201 million individual pills.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Operation Corrupt Collection: Nationwide Crackdown on Phantom and Abusive Debt CollectionWed, Sep 30, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and more than 50 federal and state law enforcement partners announced today a nationwide law enforcement and outreach initiative called Operation Corrupt Collector. The goal of this initiative is to protect consumers in Arkansas and nationwide from phantom debt collection and abusive, threatening debt collection practices.
“Scammers are creative and conniving when trying to steal from Arkansans and I won’t stand for it,” said General Leslie Rutledge. “Operation Corrupt Collector is a nationwide effort to help Arkansans resist the high-pressure, deceptive tactics that lure them into repaying debts they don’t owe.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers who receive abusive or misleading debt collection inquiries:
- Debt collection phone calls are only allowed to a consumer’s home during the hours of 8 AM to 9 PM. Legitimate debt collectors cannot harass, intimidate, threaten, or embarrass consumers and cannot make false or misleading statements, including false threats of imprisonment or criminal charges.
- If a caller requests payment of a suspicious debt, then request a written verification of the debt. A legitimate collection agency is governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. When asked by a consumer, it must provide written verification of the debt, including the name of the original creditor.
- Keep detailed records, and report the debt collector to the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Arkansas State Board of Collection Agencies if wrongdoing is suspected.
The Operation Corrupt Collector initiative includes 54 total enforcement actions brought by the FTC, other federal agencies, and various state agencies against debt collectors engaged in these illegal practices. In coordination with 46 states, Arkansas joins with the FTC in rolling out new information to help consumers know their rights when it comes to debt collection and what steps to take if they receive a call trying to collect on a debt that they do not recognize. The FTC has also created a new online dashboard with information about reports received from consumers on debts not owed and abusive and threatening collection practices. So far in 2020, the FTC has received more than 85,000 reports from consumers related to debt collection, and nearly 45 percent of those were related to debts the consumer did not owe or abusive and threatening practices.