Scammers are already gearing up for this year’s Presidential election,from robocalls offering a “free cruise” for taking a political survey, topromises that President Obama will pay your bills. Better Business Bureau isadvising voters to be on the lookout for the growing number of scams that arelikely to continue leading up to the Presidential election.
“Scammersuse incentives based on what they think voters want to hear,” said WarrenClark, Better Business Bureau President. “Hot topics like health care, economicrecovery and unemployment, are sure to be the alluring topics this electionseason, but it can be anything in the news that makes the pitch sound morerealistic.”
Here arejust a few of the election-related scams BBB is hearing about. Don’t fall forthem!
There will not be a “free cruise”at the end of the voting survey. This public opinion poll scam typically involves arecorded announcement offering a “free cruise” in exchange for participating ina telephone survey. At the end of the call consumers are asked for adebit or credit card number to cover “port fees” and taxes. Consumers whohesitate or ask if they can call back in order to verify the caller’s identityare subject to high-pressure tactics, such as being told that the offer “isonly good right now,” and that if they hang up they will be disqualified.
Fundraising calls for politicaldonations may not be real. Consumers have reported calls from organizations that soundlegitimate, but may not really be related to either the Obama or Romneycampaigns. If you aren’t sure, don’t donate over the phone. If you’d like tocontribute to a political campaign or party, locate contact informationyourself rather than giving out financial information to a caller. Requesting acallback number is no guarantee you will be connected with a legitimatecampaign fundraising committee. Call or visit candidates’ websites to obtaincontact information to make donation.
Noone will check your eligibility to vote. Your voter registration record iswith your state and no one is going to call or email you to verify youreligibility. What do these callers claim they need to check? Just your creditcard or Social Security number. BBB advises keep your personal data personal!
President Obama is not going to pay yourbills. As nice as that would be, it’s not going to happen. Consumers havebeen contacted through fliers, social media, text messages, and evendoor-to-door with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applyingpayments to utility and other bills. Scammers claim they need the consumers'Social Security and bank routing numbers to arrange the payments. In return,customers are given a phony bank routing number that will supposedly pay theirutility bills. In reality, there is no money, and customers believe they havepaid their bills when in fact they have not. Worse, they’ve just given awayeverything needed for identity fraud.
Don’t fall for these scams. Legitimate polling companies willnever offer prizes for participating in a telephone survey, nor ask for acredit card number. Never provide your Social Security number, credit cardnumber or banking information to anyone requesting it over thephone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident withwhom you are speaking. Do not give in to high pressure tactics, whether overthe phone or in person.
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