Between the political ads and the news coverage, the 2020 United States presidential election is impossible to ignore. But voters aren’t the only ones paying attention. According to recent Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker reports, scammers are using fake political fundraising calls to trick Americans into “donating” to a favorite candidate.
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 the caller ID results, 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. The best practice is to hang up the phone without interacting with the call. Don’t “press 1 to be removed from our list;” that could just confirm to the scammer that your number is valid.
• Register with the Do Not Call Registry. This 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. Call 888-382-1222 or register online at Donotcall.gov.
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 how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.