Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning Arkansans about a scam with callers who will “pull at your heartstrings and attempt to steal your money.”

Potential targets will receive a panicked phone call from a person claiming to be a relative, oftentimes a grandchild who is in jail or the hospital, who needs money right away. The con artists will ask for money to be wired to them immediately and even pose as an attorney to threaten callers.

With wire transfers being similar to cash, the money cannot be retrieved.

“You should never wire money to someone claiming to be a family member in jail unless you have verified that information with another close family member,” Rutledge said. “This family emergency scam is a recycled, common scam that is used to scare Arkansans into turning over their hard-earned money.”

The attorney general recommended the following strategies to avoid falling victim to the family emergency scheme:

Resist pressure to act quickly.

Never give or wire money based on any unsolicited phone call.

Verify the family members location by directly calling another family member, the grandchild or the hospital or jail.

Do not send money to an unknown account or entity.

Ask the caller for his or her name, and if they cannot provide it, hang up immediately.

Have a plan in place when family members are traveling to easily identify whether a need is genuine.

For more information and tips on how to avoid a scam, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at 800-482-8982 or visit

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