Better Business Bureau warning of political scams leading up to election
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Better Business Bureau is giving tips on how to protect yourself from scammers who use the upcoming election as a way to reach you.
This time of year is when candidates and representatives will send out calls, emails and text messages and it’s important to know how to identify what is real and what is fake.
This is what the BBB says to look out for over the phone.
- Answering survey questions. This can be pretty standard, but they shouldn’t be asking for personal information like your social security number or birth dates.
- Asking to donate funds. Never do this over the phone, unless you’ve done your research and you know exactly who you’re talking to.
- Asking if you need to register to vote. Scammers might even offer to help you over the phone.
“Anytime you can get folks inflamed emotionally there’s going to be an opportunity to kind of wedge your way in and make some money off of those folks,” Josh Planos with the Better Business Bureau said. “There are opportunities to mask your operation if you were interested in gaining access to folks personal or payment information.”
Planos recommends not answering the phone if you don’t know the number. He said if someone really needs to reach you they’ll leave a message. Receiving calls is normally the traditional way to get in contact during elections, but scammers have evolved and it’s just as easy to email or message someone.
This is what the BBB says to look out for on all platforms.
- Giving away prizes. This isn’t a common practice, completing a survey normally isn’t followed by a reward.
- Know what pollsters are really looking for. They won’t ask for personal or financial information.
- Know where you’re donating and who you’re donating too. Do your research and if you’re skeptical give them a call, or reach your local election office.
- Trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is.
“I feel like 90 percent of scams could be avoided if people just hung up the phone and gave themselves five minutes to think about it,” Planos said. “Unfortunately there’s almost liken a midwestern sentimentality that sits in and people think what they’re being sold is legitimate rather than questioning.”
The BBB claims that over the past several months text messages have been the main way scammers have targeted victims. As always, the BBB asks if you notice anything suspicious to report it.
October 28 is the last day to register to vote and Tuesday, November 8 is election day.
Copyright 2022 KOLN. All rights reserved.