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Scammers are cashing in on a polarized election to steal money

Robocallers pretend to be calling on behalf of the candidate you’re backing and ask for cash

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Photo (c) Andranik Hakobyan - Getty Images
Between the annoying political ads leading up to the Nov. 3 election, consumers are also being bombarded with political robocalls, some of which could be scams.

While almost all robocalls are illegal, calls made on behalf of candidates and political organizations are one of the few exceptions. Candidates are free to use robocalls to ask for your vote. 

Calls that ask for a campaign contribution, however, should be viewed with some healthy skepticism. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says it has received complaints about scammers posing as political organizations asking for money.

In this presidential year when there is strong feeling about both candidates, the caller pretends to be calling on behalf of one candidate or the other. The message is clear -- if you want your candidate to win you need to help the cause by making a donation.

If you are willing to make a contribution, you’ll be transferred to a live person and asked for your credit card information. But the money you give won’t go to your candidate’s campaign, but rather into the pocket of the scammer.

The scammer may also obtain a lot of personal information about the donor, making it easier to steal their identity.

There may be additional versions of the scam

“As the 2020 election campaign heats up, be on the lookout for more versions of this con,” the BBB warns.

Keep in mind that it’s extremely rare for political organizations to solicit campaign contributions through random robocalls. Political robocalls almost always are limited to requests for you to vote for a certain candidate or cause.

If you decide to support a particular candidate, contact the candidate’s campaign organization directly and offer to write a check. It’s never a good idea to respond to an unsolicited robocall -- they’re usually fraudulent.

The best way to avoid these scams is to screen your calls. If it’s an unrecognized number, let it go to voicemail or reject it. Don’t trust your Caller ID because scammers are good at spoofing numbers.

It’s also a good idea to register your number as one marketers are not allowed to call. You can call 888-382-1222 or register online at Donotcall.gov. 

Legitimate marketers won’t call your number after that. Any calls you do receive you’ll know are fraudulent.

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