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CONSUMER ALERT: UNSOLICITED FAXES CAN COST TIME AND MONEY

LITTLE ROCK - Some Arkansas businesses in recent days have received unsolicited faxes purporting to offer millions of dollars in a "business relationship," to those who would reply to the faxed messages.

These types of unwanted, unusual proposals are almost always illegitimate, just like e-mails that claim that the recipient has an inheritance waiting or has won the international lottery. However, unlike spam email that can be deleted with a click, junk faxes waste paper and ink. They can also tie up a fax machine and prevent legitimate faxes from getting through.

Such faxes also violate federal law. Therefore, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert today to make Arkansans aware of the federal law and encourage consumers to throw away the unsolicited faxes they receive.

"Our office consistently receives complaints about junk faxes that promote 'can't-miss' business opportunities or, this time of year, too-good-to-be true vacation packages," McDaniel said. "These are scams that clog up fax machines and cost Arkansas businesses money. Fortunately, there are laws in place that help protect consumers against this type of activity."

It is a violation of federal law to send any unsolicited fax advertisement to any fax machine - both business and residential - without the prior permission of the recipient. Fax advertisements may only be sent to recipients that have an established business relationship with the sender.

All fax transmissions are required to include the name of the business sending the fax, the number from which the fax is sent and a telephone number to provide the recipient with the ability to opt out from future messages. Consumers must use caution, though, because some scammers may use the opt-out number merely to confirm that their transmission has reached a working fax machine, potentially opening the door to an onslaught of new faxes.

The Federal Communications Commission is the entity responsible for enforcing the junk fax laws. Consumers who receive fax advertisements from a sender with which they do not have an established business relationship may file a complaint with the FCC at www.fcc.gov/complaints.

McDaniel advised consumers not to consider the offers that appear on the junk faxes, since many of them are attempts to convince individuals to wire money overseas. Consumers should avoid wiring money to foreign countries. Once the money is sent, it is virtually impossible for it to be recovered.

For more information on this or other consumer matters, visit the Consumer Protection Division's website, GotYourBackArkansas.org or call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (501) 682-2341 or (800) 482-8982.

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