Arkansas phone scams are devious schemes perpetrated using telephony services by fraudsters to steal residents’ money and obtain their personal information for identity theft. Fraudsters hide behind unknown identities or those other than theirs to deceive residents through live phone calls, robocalls, and text messages. Arkansans have reported receiving calls from phone scammers pretending to be bank officials seeking targets’ personal information under the guise of updating financial records. With phone lookup services, residents can retrieve the identities of persons behind suspicious phone numbers and escape scams.
To curb phone scams, the Consumer Protection Division of the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office educates residents on prevalent phone scams and recommends how to avoid them. Some of the common scams identified by the Attorney General’s Office are:
- Charity scams involve persons who impersonate representatives of legitimate charities to seek donations and then divert funds into personal use.
- Counterfeit check scams where targets are issued fake checks and convinced to send the cash equivalent, with the promise of reimbursement at the clearing of such dud checks.
- Family emergency scams where fraudsters pretend to be family members seeking immediate financial assistance to resolve emergencies.
- Gift card scams that promise gift cards only if targets will disclose their sensitive personal information.
- International lottery scams where marks are promised non-existent and bogus winnings from lotteries in foreign countries but must make upfront payments.
- IRS scams involve fraudsters who pretend to be Internal Revenue Service officials and demand immediate payment to clear owed taxes.
- Tech support scams in which fraudsters claim to be employees of tech companies and request access to Arkansas residents’ computers for fraudulent intentions.
- Utility payment scams where fraudsters pretend to be utility companies officials and threaten to disconnect utility services if targets do not make payments.
- Work-at-home scams promise comfortable jobs that do not exist to residents in exchange for money.
What are Arkansas Tech Support Scams?
Fraudsters often impersonate employees of their targets’ computer companies and convince them to grant them access to their computers. They make claims of the need to carry out repairs owing to virus attacks and then request remote access. Once they take charge of computers, they ensure that victims pay exorbitant fees for the phony repairs before releasing control. Besides the money, fraudsters take advantage of the opportunity to install Malware and extract victims’ personal and information. Authorities advise Arkansas residents not to hire tech support from unsolicited phone calls or emails or grant them access to their PCs. Reverse phone number lookup applications can reveal the true identities of these callers and help prevent phone scams. Victims of tech support scams should do a thorough scan of their computers, identify strange files or folders, and delete them. Report tech support scams to the Attorney General’s Office by calling (800) 482-8982 or filing complaints online.
What are Arkansas IRS Scams?
IRS scams in Arkansas have many variations. In all, phone scammers pretend to be Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees to extort their targets. In a prevalent version, they place aggressive calls to targeted residents and coerce them into making immediate payments to clear back taxes or risk punitive measures. Such measures may include arrests, deportations, and seizure of targets’ properties, and the scammers’ preferred means of payments are wire transfers and gift cards.
Another variant of these scams targets residents’ personal and financial information. The fraudsters, also impersonating IRS agents, contact targets and request personal information for supposed completion of tax refunds process. They sometimes imitate the IRS phone numbers using a practice known as phone spoofing to fool targets into believing the IRS initiated the calls. Unsuspecting residents usually disclose their information when they receive spoofed phone calls. The Office of the Attorney General warns Arkansans that the IRS does not call tax defaulters without repeatedly notifying them via mail. Its employees also do not threaten residents or solicit money over the phone. Persons who are victims of these scams can report to the IRS by calling 1 (800) 829-1040 or file online complaints with the FTC.
What are Arkansas Charity Scams?
Phone scammers claim to be with reputable charity organizations and seek donations from targeted residents for personal benefits. Arkansans naturally like contributing to good courses and charitable organizations. Scammers exploit this goodwill by fooling them into believing they represent familiar charities and then rip them off. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) educates residents to ask useful questions before making donations to persons who contact them and solicit donations on behalf of charities. Make sure to independently verify the authenticity of a charity organization by searching through the charities database managed by the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office. You can call the OAG on (800) 482-8982 or file an online complaint with them to report charity scams in Arkansas.
What are Arkansas Family Emergency Scams?
This scam is also commonly called the grandparent scam because elderly Arkansas residents are its primary targets. It is a scam scheme where the callers pretend to be their targets’ grandchildren and in distressed situations. The fraudsters typically claim to require immediate financial help to resolve some emergencies. They often allege to have been arrested in foreign countries and need money to post bail. The scammers, sometimes, also claim to have been involved in car accidents where they were injured and need money for immediate treatment. Whatever event they portray, the aim is to get their targets agitated and coerce them into sending money on the spot. In some instances, they act as authority figures (lawyers or law enforcement officers) representing the targets and make such demands. Do not send money without verifying the identity of the person who is calling you. Applications that provide phone lookup search can help in this regard. You can report family emergency scams online to the OAG.
How Do I Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Phone Scam?
- Ignore calls from numbers you do not recognize. Divert such calls to voicemail and screen through to call back those that left messages. Unknown callers who do not leave messages after repeated calls are possibly phone scammers.
- Use phone lookup applications to find information on owners of unknown numbers and block suspicious ones from calling you in the future.
- Hang up your phone once you find out a phone call is a robocall.
- Do not share sensitive personal information with anyone over the phone, even if the caller claims to be with a familiar business or a government agency. These entities will never ask residents for such information.
- Be wary of investment offers that promise ridiculously high yields with your little stake. Do not send money to such callers without thoroughly researching the promoted investment opportunity.
- Make inquiries before donating to any charitable organization. Make sure they exist and are real charities with established records before parting with money. Do not send money to them if they request that you donate via odd payment channels like gift cards, cash, or wire transfer.
- Never succumb to aggressive calls from persons who claim to be with government agencies and threaten you with punitive actions if you fail to make immediate payments. Employees of government agencies will never solicit money over the phone under any circumstance.
- Never pay anyone via gift cards, credit cards, or wire transfers. Phone scammers favor these means of payments because funds sent through them are usually untraceable and hard to recover.