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Native people hard hit by scammers

March 15, 2023

Scammers and dishonest businesses can target people in unique ways, so it’s important to understand how communities are affected — and at times, differently affected — by consumer protection issues. A new FTC report focuses on the agency's recent efforts to identify frauds, scams, and bad business practices that impact American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities.

The report includes insights from meetings with AI/AN advocacy groups, Tribal legal aid attorneys, community media, and others. It also includes analyses of consumer reports to the FTC from majority AI/AN communities and describes related FTC law enforcement work.

Here are some findings:

Consumer issues: Many advocates cited problems with auto purchasing and financing, including deceptive advertising and a lack of clarity around fees at the dealership. Advocates also discussed hearing about or experiencing tech support, impersonation, and other types of scams.

Money lost to fraud
: Between 2018 and 2022, people living in majority AI/AN communities filed over 7,300 reports about fraud, with reported losses totaling $12.5 million.

Types of fraud: The reported fraud experiences of people in majority AI/AN communities are similar to those reported by people in other communities. Between 2018 and 2022, government impersonation scams were the most frequently reported fraud followed by prize, sweepstakes, and lottery scams.

Looking for information on financing a car, managing debt, predatory lending, and other consumer issues identified in the report? You’ll find it at the newly-launched ftc.gov/NativeAmerican, along with information on where to report scams and how to order free materials to give out in your community.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

A 9B Media LLC publication
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