LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning Arkansans of a widespread statewide scam.
The method is called ‘phishing’ (pronounced the same as ‘fishing’) and is when scammers send e-mail messages to consumers that appear to advertise products or services, when in fact those e-mails are specifically configured to obtain information, the AG office said in a press release.
Often, the message will alert the individual to a potential problem with their account and ask the consumer to provide private information such as an account number, date of birth, or social security number in order to remedy the problem.
“Phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your Internet activities without your knowledge. Not only are they illegal, but they are dangerous for unsuspecting consumers,” the statement said.
“I urge all Arkansans to be cautious if you receive an email asking for your information, it could be scammers trying to phish your information,” Rutledge said in the statement. “Even with online protection software, scammers and scammers will still try to take your information; don’t fall for the trap.”
Remember these tips when browsing safely online:
• No legitimate business will ever send an unsolicited email asking for personal information.
• Do not respond to an email or pop-up message asking for personal or financial information.
• Contact the company identified in the original email directly. Use the customer service number provided on a trusted statement to verify that the issue in the original email is legitimate.
• Do not give out sensitive information in response to an unsolicited request.
• Immediately delete all suspicious emails and never open email attachments or click on links from unknown sources.
• Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them regularly.
The Attorney General’s Office provides a consumer tip card, how to spot phishing scams, information for parents to spot cyberbullying, and advice on internet safety.
For more information and tips on avoiding scams and other consumer issues, call the Attorney General’s Office at 800-482-8982, email [email protected]or visit http://www.ArkansasAG.gov.