Recent Press Releases

Aug 02 2011

Johnson Warns Settlement Recipients May Be Targets for Scams

Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, cautioned that individuals receiving funds from the $3.4 billion Indian Trust Settlement, often referred to as the Cobell Settlement, may be targeted by investment scams.

“Recipients of any settlement money should be wary of anyone offering investment opportunities that sound too good to be true,” said Johnson. “Before you trust someone with your money, take time to ask the right questions so you can invest with confidence.”

The Indian Trust Settlement was approved by Congress and signed by President Obama last year. The suit was originally filed on behalf of more than 300,000 Native Americans who were demanding a historical accounting of their trusts. The case is particularly important to tribes in South Dakota because the state is home to a large amount of Individual Indian Money (IIM) account holders and trust assets.

Chairman Johnson has consistently remained supportive of resolving this case and fought decisions by past Administrations to pay attorney fees and expenses related to the case with funds meant for tribal programs.

Anyone who suspects they have been targeted by an investment scam should contact the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at their website, SEC.gov, or their toll-free hotline: (800) SEC-0330.

Individuals and families can find many excellent resources online, including the updated Financial Matters guide for South Dakotans as they make important financial decisions. The guide provides useful information about how to obtain your free annual credit report, general tips on saving for retirement, advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, and guidance on how to shop and apply for a mortgage.  The guide also educates readers about their rights as consumers, and what to do if they believe they have been targeted by a scam.

Other helpful online resources include:
  • Investor.gov is the website of the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. It offers guidance on investment basics, as well as investor assistance for those who have been the victim of wrongdoing.
  • MyMoney.gov is the federal government’s primary website for financial education, offering guidance on a wide range of topics as well as links to helpful resources at other agencies.
  • Money Matters is a project of the Federal Trade Commission, which helps consumers recognize and avoid financial scams, illegal debt collection practices, and other financial dangers.