Targets Elderly African Americans
Apply for Newly Approved Slave Reparations!
Claim $5,000 in Social Security Reimbursements!
Flyers with these instructions, circulating in
many Southern and Midwestern African-American communities, are attempting to trick people
into revealing personal identifying information that could, in turn, cost them money or
damage their credit ratings.
The flyers, distributed in churches or placed on the windshields of parked cars or
bulletin boards in senior centers and nursing homes, claim that African Americans born
before 1928 may be eligible for slave reparations under a so-called "Slave Reparation
Act" and that those born between 1917 and 1926 can apply for Social Security funds
they are due because of a "fix" in the Social Security system.
According to law enforcement officials, the claims are false. They are being made by
skilled identity thieves, who are asking people to reveal their name, address, phone
number, birthdate and Social Security number in order to access their credit cards or open
accounts under their names without their permission or knowledge.
If you receive a flyer promoting slave reparations or Social Security reimbursements,
the Federal Trade Commission encourages you to report it to your local law enforcement
agency or state Attorney General, the Social Security Administration or the FTC at its
toll-free Identity Theft Hotline,1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338).
Can you minimize your risk of identity theft? The FTC says by managing your personal
information wisely, cautiously and with increased sensitivity, you may be able to thwart
an identity thief. The federal agency recommends that you:
- Never reveal your personal identifying information unless you know exactly who you're
dealing with and how it will be used.
- Verify the details with any government agency that's involved in an offer. You can find
the phone number for every government agency in the blue pages of your telephone book.
- Read all your bills carefully. Call your creditors to dispute any charge you didn't make
- Order a copy of your credit report every year from each of the three major credit
reporting agencies to verify that your credit information is accurate. (You can reach
Equifax at 1-800-685-1111, www.equifax.com; Experian
at 1-888-397-3742, www.experian.com; and Trans Union
at 1-800-916-8800, www.tuc.com.)
The FTC works for the consumer to
prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and
avoid them. To file a
complaint or to get free information
on consumer issues, visit
call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The
FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related
Consumer Sentinel, a
secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law
enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FOR THE CONSUMER