SCAM ALERT from the Arkansas Attorney General
*ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Hang up on Paycheck Protection Loan Scammers* ________________________________________________________________________ *LITTLE ROCK* Scam artists are contacting local business owners by email and phone, pretending to be affiliated with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan program administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) under the CARES Act. While these loans have been the lifeline for many businesses and their employees, the scams can result in even greater losses and financial peril. These paycheck protection loans are a key part to our economic recovery to assist hard working Arkansas businesses and their employees, said Attorney General Rutledge.But, it is shameful and illegal to pose as a government entity to provide false and deceptive services to businesses that are trying to use the paycheck protection loan to survive. Scam artists look for ways to turn a businesss or consumers cash into their own. Often, government-assistance programs like the PPP provide an obvious and easy target. Scammers use these governmental initiatives by pretending to be an SBA-authorized lender or similar loan program by telephone or email. In email, scammers will impersonate legitimate websites and use email addresses by changing one or two letters in the name. By telephone, scammers sometimes utilize illegal robocalls as a way to reach business owners and consumers. In both situations, scam businesses are seeking upfront payment of fees. Attorney General Rutledge has identified tips for Arkansans to use when contacted by email or phone regarding a paycheck protection loan: * If you get an email that looks like it is from the SBA or your bank, do not click on any links. Instead, go directly to the organization's website for information; * The government will never ask you to pay up front and it will not call to ask for your Social Security, bank account or credit card number; * Be cautious about companies that offer to expedite or facilitate your ability to get PPP loans. If you are considering using an online provider or lender, stick with those you already know and trust; * Be wary of companies you've never heard of or that call or send you emails out of the blue; and * Check the spelling of email and website addresses, as scammers frequently utilize addresses that appear similar to legitimate ones in order to deceive. For more information, or if you suspect a PPP government-assistance scam, contact the Arkansas Attorney Generals office at (800) 482-8982 or oag@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov [ http://www.arkansasag.gov/#_blank ]. *About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge* Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. Elected on November 4, 2014, and sworn in on January 13, 2015, she is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected as Attorney General. She was resoundingly re-elected on November 6, 2018. Since taking office, she has significantly increased the number of arrests and convictions against online predators who exploit children and con artists who steal taxpayer money through Social Security Disability and Medicaid fraud. Further, she has held Rutledge Roundtable meetings and Mobile Office hours in every county of the State each year, and launched a Military and Veterans Initiative. She has led efforts to roll back government regulations that hurt job creators, fight the opioid epidemic, teach internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge serves as co-chairs of the National Association of Attorneys General Veterans Affairs Committee, re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture and was the former Chairwoman of the National Association of Attorneys General Southern Region. As the former Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, she remains active on the Executive Board. A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for former Governor Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have one daughter. The family has a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County. ###