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Problem Solvers: Scams target Native Americans

Posted at 12:09 PM, Sep 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-06 13:52:17-04

TULSA, Okla. — While many of us can become the victim of a scammer, a survey by the AARP says Native Americans, especially the elderly, are some of the most vulnerable, including many in the Sooner state.

The AARP tells us scammers use many of the typical tools. Text messages, emails, social media, online ads, and even old-school phone calls and snail mail.

Camille, who happens to be Cherokee, tells us, “I don’t know how they got my name, but scammers got in touch to say they could help me cancel most of my college loans. I didn’t realize it was a scam until they wanted so much information, that my gut old me to cut off all contact with them.”

Good thing, too, according to a survey report from the AARP. Student loan repayment scams are one of the top six schemes targeting Native Americans.

The survey also lists sales of fake regalia, native art and homeopathic products. Fake lottery, charity, and romance scams. Imposters scams, using groups such as the IRS, Social Security, or utility companies.

Fake offers to eliminate credit card debt. And Fake business and rental scams.

Joy McGill, with AARP Oklahoma, tells us, “I think scammers are always one step ahead of us, unfortunately. So it’s really important to always be really vigilant when opportunities come up or situations come up that someone is asking for money, or demanding money.”

Experts say be like Camille. When something comes up, be thoughtful. Stop and take a breath. Ask a friend or someone in the family what they think.

Of course, while this survey focused on scams targeting Native Americans, a huge population in Oklahoma, they are schemes that can victimize any Oklahoman, of any age.

The A-A-R-P has free resources from their Fraud Watch Network click here.

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