Election scammers looking for your support – don’t give it to them

By BBB staff blogger

From robocalls offering a “free cruise” for taking a political survey, to promises that President Obama will pay your utility bill, scammers are gearing up for this year’s Presidential election. Better Business Bureau advises voters to be on the lookout for these types of scam that are likely to continue leading up to the Presidential election.


Scam 1: Political survey free cruise offer

These public opinion surveys typically involve a recorded announcement offering a “free cruise” in exchange for participating in a telephone survey. However, at the end of the call consumers are asked for a debit or credit card number to cover “port fees” and taxes; Not so free after all. Consumers who hesitate or ask for time to consider the offer are subject to high-pressure tactics, such as being told the offer is “only good right now.”

Scam 2: President Obama will pay your utility bill

Consumers are being contacted through fliers, social media, text messages and even door-to-door by scammers claiming President Obama is providing a credit towards a consumers utility bill. Scammers will ask for a Social Security number and bank routing numbers to arrange the payments. In reality, there is no money, and customers believe they have paid their bills when in fact they have not. Worse, they’ve just given away everything needed for identity fraud.

Scam 3: Fundraising calls for political donations

Consumers have reported calls from organizations asking for donations. However, these calls may not really be related to either the Obama or Romney campaigns. Avoid giving out your personal information over the phone. If you would like to give to a political campaign or party, find the candidate’s website to get the right contact information.

Scam 4: Scammers claiming they need to check on your eligibility to vote.

Your voter registration record is with your state and no one will call or email you to verify your eligibility. These callers claim they need your credit card or Social Security number.

Avoid election campaign shakedowns:
  • Legitimate polling companies will never offer prizes for participating in a telephone survey, nor ask for a credit card number.
  • If you’d like to give to a political campaign or charity, find contact information yourself and don’t give financial information to an unsolicited caller.
  • Requesting a callback number is no guarantee you will be connected with a legitimate campaign fundraising committee.
  • Call or visit candidates’ websites to get contact information to give money.

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