It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is; nefarious scammers are trying to leverage what sounds like an innocent enough call into a donation that goes directly into their pockets and not any candidate’s.
Scamicide reports that fraudsters are pulling off the scheme via spoofing, a technique used to make it appear like a call is coming in from a known source on a Caller ID -- in this case, a candidate or political party.
How do you prevent this?
What’s worse is that there’s a hole in the U.S. Do Not Call list rules that allow political parties to robocall all they want.
So, what’s a consumer to do? Either don’t answer what appears to be a call from a political candidate or party and force the caller to leave a message, or use a smartphone add-on like Google’s Screen Call.
Other than that, if your Caller ID pops up with the name of a candidate you favor, be smart.
“If you do wish to contribute to a political campaign, the best way to do this is by going to the candidate’s official website and make your contribution,” Scamicide’s Steven Wiseman, Esq. suggests.
“Even then, make sure that when you are giving your donation online that the website address begins with https instead of just http. Https indicates that your communication is being encrypted for better security. If you are being asked to contribute to a political organization rather than a candidate, you should definitely do your research to determine the legitimacy of the organization before making a donation.”
Removing your phone number
ConsumerAffairs found another defense, too. According to Lifewire, most states require only street addresses -- but not a phone number -- when a citizen registers to vote. Logically, if a registered voter removes their phone number, any call pretending to be from a political party or candidate could be considered a fake.
If you like that notion and you’ve already registered to vote, all it takes is a voter registration update/change to remove your phone number. The effort it takes to make that happen varies from state-to-state. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission offers a complete directory of every state’s offices and processes.