LITTLE ROCK - Many Arkansans enjoy saving money after the holidays by shopping after-Christmas sales online, including social media marketplaces, internet classifieds and internet auction websites. While these platforms allow for ease of commerce and often feel like shopping from a friend instead of a retailer, they are also a hotbed for scammers who exploit that sense of community. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is urging Arkansans to use caution on auction-style sites, classifieds and in marketplaces because they may present opportunities for scam artists.
"Arkansans should be vigilant when making online purchases," said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. "There are many bad actors around the world seeking to steal and defraud hardworking individuals who do not research the site or item being purchased."
Consumers looking to make online purchases from social media, online auction platforms or online classifieds can follow these tips to ensure that they are safe when online shopping:
- Know the website that you are using. Know the terms and conditions.
- Know what you are bidding on or purchasing before you make your offer. Beware of counterfeit goods.
- Ask for additional photos of the item to make sure the seller has the item.
- Purchase the item through a website that offers protections to buyers and sellers.
- Use the most secure payment option for the transaction. Debit cards and credit cards offer more security than cash, check, wire transfers, or other online payment methods. Many payment methods offer buyer protections or allow users to dispute charges.
- Keep all copies of your transaction information, including correspondence with the buyer or seller.
- Do not give out your social security number, driver's license number, or your date of birth.
- Beware of cashier's checks. Often fraudulent cashier's checks are used in scams.
- If buying a product locally, meet at a designated public location. Often times, police departments and Sheriff's offices serve as well-lit and safer public exchanges.
- Beware of work-from-home opportunities and "business opportunities" listed in online classified ads. If you are told that you will make a lot of money without much effort, it is likely a scam.
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, visit ArkansasAG.gov, email Consumer@ArkansasAG.gov, or call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.
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 on committees for Consumer Protection, Criminal Law and Veterans Affairs for the National Association of Attorneys General. She also served as the former Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.
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.