News/Events

Attorney General Alerts

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Take a Pass on Fake Online Sellers

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Take a Pass on Fake Online Sellers

Thu, Sep 24, 2020

LITTLE ROCK – Over the last several years and as COVID-19 has changed Arkansans’ daily routines, shopping online has become the new normal when purchasing necessities, gifts and even school supplies. While many sites may look honest and trustworthy, they sometimes have no intention of delivering the product that has been advertised.

“Scam websites can take advantage of Arkansans through fake advertising on social media at unrealistic rock-bottom prices,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Consumers should be careful and avoid purchases from suspicious websites until they research the seller and determine whether the seller can be trusted.”

Attorney General Rutledge offers several tips for Arkansans shopping online.

  • Pay with a secure payment method such as a credit card or PayPal. Avoid wire transfers and gift card payments. Before entering personal information, confirm that any payment information provided online is through a secure website with a “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar and the letters “https” in the URL address.

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.

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Don’t Fumble When Buying Tickets This Year

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Don’t Fumble When Buying Tickets This Year

Mon, Sep 21, 2020

LITTLE ROCK - If Arkansans want to take in a live football game at any of our great in-state institutions this fall, it is going to be a much different experience than it has been in years past. Due to the novel coronavirus, many precautions have been implemented in an effort to keep students, student athletes, and fans safe when taking in the game. In addition to COVID-19, every year scammers often try to sell fake tickets to unsuspecting fans and Arkansans should be cautious when purchasing tickets from an unverified ticket broker. The stadium should be a safe haven for fans rather than for scammers.

“Football in Arkansas is a cherished tradition and it is worth protecting,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Whether you support the Razorbacks, Red Wolves, Bears or Boll Weevils, all Arkansans deserve to cheer for their favorite team while feeling safe and without worry of being taken advantage of by scammers.”

The Arkansas Department of Health issued the following directives for large outdoor sports venues during the upcoming football season.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following tips to help Arkansans protect themselves when looking to buy game tickets during the upcoming football season.

  • Research the seller or broker with the Better Business Bureau and ensure it is a member of the National Association of Ticket Brokers.
  • A legitimate ticket broker will offer a refund policy. Only buy tickets from a reseller that provides clear details about the terms of the transaction.
  • Always use a credit card to make a ticket purchase because credit card laws provide buyers with some recourse if the tickets are fraudulent.
  • Check the seats ahead of time. Ask for section, row and seat numbers to avoid obstructed views and purchasing tickets that do not exist.
  • Stick with well-known ticket sellers who offer guarantees and policies that protect buyers and have the ability to investigate and restrict accounts of merchants who violate the policies.
  • If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Refuse to be rushed. Scam artists often try to hurry prospective buyers into making a decision.

According to AARP, nearly 5 million consumers receive fraudulent concert, sporting event or theme park tickets each year. We can all do our part by ensuring our neighbors, friends, and families are educated on the deceptive practices of scammers and ways to avoid them.

Consumers who think they may have purchased a counterfeit ticket can contact the National Association of Ticket Brokers at 630-510-4594 or the Arkansas Attorney General’s Public Protection Department.

For more information on other tips to avoid being scammed and other consumer-related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at 800-482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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Attorney General Alert: CDC Temporarily Halts Evictions

Attorney General Alert: CDC Temporarily Halts Evictions

Wed, Sep 9, 2020

LITTLE ROCK – To prevent the spread of the novel COVID-19 virus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a national moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent from September 4 until December 31, 2020. This moratorium places a temporary halt to residential evictions in an effort by the CDC to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The moratorium does not prevent evictions for other reasons and does not relieve tenants of any obligations to pay rent, late fees, or penalties.

“The CDC has laid out strict guidelines tenants must follow in order for the moratorium to apply,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As Arkansans continue to recover from the economic hardship created from the pandemic, many states are working with our federal partners to prevent further spread of the virus during uncertain times.”

Tenants seeking protection under the moratorium are required to submit a declaration, under the penalty of perjury, stating their inability to pay rent with specific supporting facts. The declaration, for example, must include statements reflecting: the tenant’s efforts to obtain government assistance; the tenant’s income; the tenant’s inability to pay rent due to loss of income, work, or significant medical expenses; the tenant’s efforts to try to make full or partial rent payments; and whether the eviction would likely cause the tenant to live in a homeless shelter or in close quarters with others where COVID might proliferate.

The Attorney General released the following tips to help consumers understand the CDC’s Order:

  • The CDC’s Order does not forgive rent payments and does not relieve tenants of the obligation to pay rent.
  • Tenants are encouraged to continue paying rent in an agreed amount with their landlord in order to avoid any large amounts of rent due following the expiration of the moratorium.
  • Tenants protected by the moratorium will still have to pay all rent due under the lease when the moratorium ends.
  • To utilize the CDC Order’s protections, tenants must submit a copy of a declaration to their landlord. A sample declaration is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-eviction-declaration.html.
  • Consumers who are in need of legal advice should contact a private attorney or Arkansas Legal Services.

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.

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Don’t Let Scam Artists Clean Out Wallet after Storm Damage

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Don’t Let Scam Artists Clean Out Wallet after Storm Damage

Wed, Sep 2, 2020

LITTLE ROCK – Tropical Storm Laura brought devastating weather to Arkansas and has been wreaking havoc on our communities and neighboring states. As countless storm victims assess the damages, con artists see opportunities to take advantage of Arkansans who suffered property damage or losses. Vulnerable Arkansans should use caution when seeking a contractor or professional to complete repairs.

“Arkansans always come together after a natural disaster, but it is also common in bad situations to see bad actors,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “These bad actors prey on victims of severe weather to take advantage of the potentially urgent nature of storm damage repairs. I urge anyone who is seeking home and auto repairs to be cautious of potential scams that are common after storms.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to ensure consumers hire reputable contractors 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 a written contract.
  • Get at least three written estimates. A reputable contractor or professional will never try to pressure to obtain business.
  • Obtain and check at least three references from the 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 the project will be completed. Never make the final payment until there has been 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.

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 visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Shut Down Scammers Threatening to Shut off Utilities

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Shut Down Scammers Threatening to Shut off Utilities

Fri, Aug 21, 2020

LITTLE ROCK – As the hustle and bustle of school returns and families begin in their own unique routines, scam artists are using an old playbooks to identify ways to trick Arkansans by claiming they have not paid their utility bill. The scam involves Caller ID spoofing to make the name or phone number of the utility company display on the phone’s screen. The scam artists will then claim the consumer must pay immediately over the phone because a representative is on their way to disconnect their services. Be cautious of unsolicited calls and consider hanging up and finding the company’s phone number from an independent source and calling them to confirm any outstanding balance.

“Remember, you should never be forced to make an immediate payment for utilities over the phone and or give away your personal information,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to ensure payment is sent to the utility company safely, securely and timely:

  • Add the utility payment due date on a calendar when the bill is received.
  • Drop off the payment at the utility office or an authorized payment location.
  • Pay online on the utility company’s website with a credit card or call the company directly.
  • Consider participating in an automated bank account draft system, if it is offered.
  • Mail the payment to the company directly.

The scammer may also request that the recipient purchase gift cards or prepaid debit cards to pay off the amount owed. 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. Remember, utilities will not require you to pay by gift card or prepaid debit card – scammers will.

Arkansans should notify the company if they have been contacted by one of these scammers. If Arkansans have turned over money to the scammer, file a complaint with the Attorney General.

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 visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Protect Your Credit and Identity from Unemployment Fraud

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Protect Your Credit and Identity from Unemployment Fraud

Wed, Aug 5, 2020

LITTLE ROCK – Unemployment fraud has become a prevalent problem in Arkansas and around the nation. The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services recently announced over 37,000 suspected fraudulent unemployment claims have been identified and are being investigated in Arkansas. Depending upon the extent of the fraud, consumers may choose to request a fraud alert or security freeze with the credit reporting agencies or to seek an ID Theft Passport from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s Office if unauthorized lines of credit have been opened.

“Con artists are filing unemployment claims using stolen information and potentially ruining the good names of nearly 40,000 Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “No one is safe from these criminals who have brazenly attempted to file a claim pretending to be Governor Asa Hutchinson.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for those who believe they have been a victim of identity theft:

Many consumers are rightfully concerned about the safety of their personal and financial information and want to prevent fraud and identity theft. Attorney General Rutledge encourages Arkansans to never give their personal information over the phone or via email, to use strong passwords on all online accounts and to be diligent in reviewing all types of financial statements.

Committing identity theft in Arkansas is a felony and comes with a sentence that could include incarceration, fines up to $25,000 and restitution. Consumers are advised that if you receive funds that you did not apply for and that you were not expecting, do not accept them. Instead, report the matter to the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services at 501-682-1058 and to local law enforcement. Even if you did not request the funds, accepting such funds as part of an unemployment scam is unlawful.

For more information on identity theft and other consumer related issues, or to apply for an ID Theft Passport, contact the Arkansas Attorney General's Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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