Luján, Moran Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Tackle Scams Targeting Native Americans

From the Office of Ben Ray Luján:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced the Protecting Indian Tribes from Scams Act to direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to work with Tribal authorities to study scams targeting Tribes and Tribal members.

The bipartisan legislation also requires the FTC to submit recommendations to Congress on policies to curb these deceptive practices. Sen. Luján previously introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives during the 116th Congress.

“From peddling defective personal protective equipment to stealing personal information, scams targeting Tribal members have risen during the pandemic. The federal government must work with Tribes and Pueblos to understand the scope of these scams and provide a roadmap for legislative solutions,” said Sen. Luján, a member of the Committee on Indian Affairs. “This bipartisan legislation is a critical effort to protect Tribal members and put an end to predatory scams.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic was particularly devastating to many of our tribes, and as a result, scam artists are targeting tribes to prey on their vulnerabilities,” Sen. Moran said. “The FTC has a responsibility to investigate reports of deceptive acts targeting our tribes and take action to pursue these scammers.”

“Fraud touches every community in America, including members of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes. Fraud is a historically underreported crime and FTC data suggests that AI/AN individuals are even less likely to report such scams, making them especially attractive targets for scammers. Sen. Lujan’s common-sense consumer protection bill is an important step in fighting back against fraudsters targeting these vulnerable communities,” said John Breyault, National Consumers League Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud. 

Background:

The Protecting Indian Tribes from Scams Act requires the FTC to:

  • Conduct a study, in consultation with Tribes, on unfair or deceptive acts and practices targeted at Tribes or Tribal members;
  • Submit a report to Congress on the types of scams targeted at Tribal communities, the agency’s consumer education activities related to these scams, efforts to collaborate with Tribes to prevent scams or pursue scammers, enforcement actions taken by the FTC, and recommendations for legislation to prevent these scams;
  • Update its website, within six months of submitting the report, to include information for consumers and businesses on identifying and avoiding scams targeted at Tribes or Tribal members.

Full text of the legislation is available HERE.

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