Scammers taking advantage of presidential candidate supporters with pleas for money, BBB says

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The caller will say the campaign needs donations, but your money won't be going to the political cause

(WKBN) – Election season is in full swing and scammers are taking advantage of it to try to take your money.

The 2020 presidential election season is hard to ignore. We’re constantly surrounded by ads, mail, signs and phone calls.

The Better Business Bureau is warning people about the latest scam in which callers use phony political fundraising calls to trick people into “donating” to a favorite candidate.

Here’s how it works — you would receive a robocall and answer the phone. You’d hear 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 money immediately.

If you offer to give, you’ll be transferred to a live person and asked for your credit card information.

However, your money won’t go toward supporting the political cause. Instead, the phony caller will make off with your money and personal information that can be used for identity theft.

“Do your research. Make sure that before you give over the phone, before you click on a link, an email or a social media post, find out that the link is actually going to the particular cause or candidate,” said Melissa Ames, with the BBB.

Unfortunately, once the scammers make away with your money, you will never see it again.

There are ways to make sure you don’t fall victim to this scam.

First, you should never answer any calls from a number you’re unfamiliar with or you should hang up right away.

Don’t respond to unsolicited robocalls. Scammers are professionals at what they do. They can take 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 so just hang up the phone.

If you haven’t already, 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 get, which will make it easier to identify the fraudulent ones.

The BBB has even seen calls of scammers impersonating polls.

“To entice the individual to give personal information, they will say you are eligible for a prize and what you need to do is give them personal information, like a Social Security number or a credit card, and that card will help pay for the postage so you can receive your prize,” Ames said.

There are some ways to donate safely to your favorite candidate if you feel inclined to. The best way to do it is donate directly on their verified campaign website, but make sure it’s their verified one. Don’t hesitate to take a look around the website to make sure it’s the real deal.

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