Spotting and Avoiding Scams in Indian Country

Veronica Wood
November 13, 2022


We were recently invited to participate in a live news briefing on November 10th about Spotting and Avoiding Scams in Indian Country. 

Indian Country has been the target of scams, and many of us may know someone affected by a recent scam. There have been 6.1 billion dollars lost in scams this year, while the median loss is 500 dollars. Joanne Wei, the Assistant Director of the Federal Trade Commission Midwest Region tells us. 

The most reported scam is the “imposter” scam. This is when someone contacts you and pretends to be a government agency, business, or even someone you may know and trust personally. 

When this happens, Wei encourages to NEVER give any personal information to this caller. The caller may be someone advising that they have a package for you waiting, or that they have illegal possessions that were sent to you, or that they need to verify your information for their system. There are many scams reported, so it is important to never give your personal information on the phone. She also reminds people never to pay with gift cards, with crypto or other untraceable payment methods. 

If you or a family or friend has been a victim of a scam, the FTC advises to report it, because there may be others like you and it is important to help the FTC keep others safe from scams. 

Please report the scam at:

There are also specific scams for younger and older people. Check out this website:

We heard a testimonial from Sherri from Navajo nation. She was part of a complicated car scam, and agreed to share with the FTC. She was able to get help and process getting renumerated. 

How does the FTC help victims of scams? Sometimes they are able to send checks in the mail, or send electronic payments that can be downloaded into PayPal. 

That is why it is important to go to the listed website:

Follow the steps on the form to submit the report. Once you submit, they help you take the next steps- either how to get money back or how to protect yourself in the future.  

If the FTC are working on an investigation, they may reach out as well. When they do, they will have the report number for the report you filed.

The bottom line? Learn how to protect yourself from scams, be safe, and keep your information to yourself. If you receive an unsolicited email, phone, or letter, do not send personal information. 

The event was made possible by the Federal Trade Commission and Ethnic Media Services. If you would like to view the conference in entirety, please visit: