FTC Issues Report to Congress on American Indian and Alaska Native Consumer Issues

The Federal Trade Commission sent a new report to Congress detailing the consumer issues that affect American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations, as well as the FTC’s enforcement, outreach and education work on these issues.

The report summarizes the agency’s efforts to hear directly from tribal leaders, community members, advocates, and others about issues affecting their communities, and provides analysis of the FTC’s data from the Consumer Sentinel Network database.

The report reflects the FTC’s conversations with community members and advocates about issues such as: auto purchasing and financing, predatory lending, impersonation scams, tech support scams and romance scams, among others. The FTC’s own consumer report data shows that government impersonation and prize, sweepstakes, and lottery scams were the most frequent scams reported to the FTC from majority AI/AN ZIP codes. Government and business impersonation scams are the focus of an ongoing Commission rulemaking effort.

The report also summarizes FTC law enforcement actions relating to the consumer abuses identified as impacting AI/AN communities. These include the recent case against Tate’s Auto, a group of dealerships located near the border of the Navajo Nation that the FTC charged targeted consumers with deceptive ads and unfair financing practices.

In the report, the Commission details extensive outreach to AI/AN communities and efforts to build partnerships and work with community media, as well as the launch of a new website at ftc.gov/NativeAmerican. The site aggregates consumer protection information and links on the issues identified in the report.

The report recommends continuing to expand partnerships with AI/AN organizations, tribal leaders, advocates, and other groups to inform the Commission’s law enforcement, education and outreach, and research efforts moving forward.

The Commission vote to issue the report to Congress was 4-0.

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