Political scams expected to increase as US presidential election nears – KVLY

BURNSVILLE, Minn. (Valley News Live) –

A scam alert from the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota.

The BBB says that the upcoming election is likely to generate loads of scammers pretending to be pollsters, campaign volunteers, fundraisers, and even candidates.

Here are some common political scams and frauds to watch out for:

Polling: The call is from someone claiming to be conducting a political survey. In exchange for a few minutes of your time, you will get a gift card or other reward. After asking several survey questions, the caller typically then asks you to provide your credit card number to pay for the shipping and taxes of the “prize” you’ve won. Legitimate polling companies rarely offer prizes for participating in a survey, and none would ask for a credit card number.

Fundraising: You get a call from someone claiming to represent a political candidate or specific cause, raising money to support the campaign. Targets report that callers are typically pushy and demand immediate action. Even if the caller is not a scammer, some groups may be poorly managed and not actually spend the money the way they describe on the phone. You can check Give.org to see if the charity is Accredited.

Impersonation: You get a call that sounds like one of the candidates, asking you to make a special contribution. This scam uses real audio clips of politicians’ voices, likely lifted from speeches or media interviews. Digital technology has made these recordings sound very realistic. At some point, the politician will ask for a donation and request that you push a button to be redirected to an agent, who will then collect your credit card information. Since real politicians use pre-recorded calls, it’s challenging to tell which ones are fake.

In all of these cases, sharing your personally identifiable information and/or credit card number can open you up to the risk of fraudulent charges and even future identity theft. Although these examples are primarily telephone scams, fraudsters can use other methods to reach you: mail, email, social media, text, even showing up at your front door.

Here are some BBB tips to avoid political scams:

  • Donate directly to the campaign office: Donations made over the phone can be valid, but to be sure you are donating directly to the campaign, donors should give either through the candidate’s official website or at a local campaign office.
  • Watch for spoofed calls: Your Caller ID may say that someone from Washington DC or from a campaign office is contacting you, but scammers can fake this using phone number spoofing technology.
  • Beware of prize offers: Just hang up on any political pollster who claims that you can win a prize for participating in a survey. Political survey companies rarely use prizes, so that is a red flag (especially if they ask you to pay for shipping or taxes in order to claim it).
  • Don’t give out personal or banking information: Political pollsters may ask for information about your vote or political affiliation, and even demographic information such as your age or race, but they don’t need your Social Security number or credit card information.

Copyright 2020 KVLY. All rights reserved.

Read the original article

Author: The Covid-19 Channel