Last week, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) issued a warning to residents that the upcoming elections could provoke an increase in scammers pretending to be pollsters, campaign volunteers, fundraisers, and even candidates. Millions of dollars were scammed in 2016 during the last election cycle. Fraudsters have been known to use social media ads, text messages, and even go door to door.
Here are some tips from the BBB to protect yourself:
- Donate directly to the campaign office: Ensure you are donating directly to the campaign by giving either through the candidate’s official website or at a local campaign office.
- Watch for spoofed calls: Scammers can fake phone numbers by using spoofing technology.
- Beware of prize offers: 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: 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.
- Research fundraising organizations before donating: Be especially cautious of links that come to you through email or social media, and don’t click through. Instead, go directly to an organization’s website by typing the URL in your browser or using a search engine.