BBB: Scammers using phony political fundraising calls to trick Americans into donating
MILWAUKEE — Scammers are using phony political fundraising calls to trick Americans into “donating” to a favorite candidate, according to recent BBB Scam Tracker reports.
How the Scam Works
You receive a robocall and answer the phone. It’s a recorded voice – perhaps even one that sounds just like one of the presidential candidates. According to the recording, rivals have been raising a lot of money. In order to see your favorite candidate elected, you need to donate… immediately.
If you offer to give, you’ll be transferred to a live person and asked for your credit card information. But your money won’t go to support the political cause. Instead, the phony caller will make off with your money and/or personal information that can be used for identity theft. As the 2020 election campaign heats up, be on the lookout for more versions of this con.
How to Avoid Robocall Scams
- Screen your calls. If a call comes in from a number you don’t recognize, don’t answer. Even if the number looks familiar, be wary. Check the number on Whitepages.com (a BBB Accredited Business) to see if it’s been flagged with a fraud alert.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited robocalls. If you receive an unsolicited robocall that seems to come from a legitimate business, be cautious. Scammers can fake caller ID, and businesses are only allowed to call you via robocall with your written permission. If someone is calling you out of the blue, it’s most likely a scam. Best practice is to hang up the phone without interacting with the call. Don’t “press 1 to be removed from our list;” that just confirms to the scammer that your number is good.
- Register with the Do Not Call Registry. This step won’t prevent scammers from calling you, but it will reduce the number of legitimate marketing calls you receive, which will make it easier to identify the fraudulent ones. If you live in the United States, call 888-382-1222 or register online at Donotcall.gov. If you live in Canada, visit the National Do Not Call List.
For More Information
To learn more about how to avoid robocall scams, read BBB.org/RoboCall. If you’ve been the victim of a robocall scam, report it on the BBB.org/ScamTracker. By doing so, you can help others protect themselves from falling prey to similar scams. Learn more about scams at BBB.org/ScamTips and learn how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.