With the Democratic primaries in full swing, each presidential hopeful is touring the United States, promising to improve the lives of its citizens – and most importantly, asking for financial contributions. It costs crazy amounts of money to launch and maintain a presidential campaign, so candidates depend on voter funds to propel them into the Oval Office.
Election scam artists are completely aware of this. They take advantage of unsuspecting victims by posing as campaign representatives.
Do not donate to any person that asks for money without digging deeper.
Continue reading to learn how these election scams work and what you can do to avoid them.
How Election Scams Work
By now, you’ve more than likely been contacted by someone claiming to represent a particular candidate. More often than not, these innocent messages are just asking for vocal support or your vote.
However, there will be moments when you are asked to provide funds or personal information through one of the following methods.
A scammer will call your phone claiming to represent a political candidate. They will ask you to contribute to a particular group that the candidate supports.
They are often pushy and demanding—two characteristics that do not represent a legitimate campaign team—and won’t take no for an answer.
Putting together a pre-recorded message using sound clips from speeches or conversations is fairly simple with the advancement of recent technology.
An election scammer will be able to concoct a message from a presidential candidate asking if you want to contribute funds to their campaign.
If so, you will be redirected to a live “representative” that will ask for your credit card information to use on anything but the campaign.
You may even receive a call from a scammer claiming to be conducting a survey in exchange for a gift or “prize.” After you answer a few questions, they will ask for your credit card information to cover the shipping and taxes of your reward.
How to Avoid Election Scams
It’s important that you learn about the red flags associated with election scams. If someone contacts you and you feel uneasy about the conversation or their behavior, hang up. There is a myriad of other ways to contribute to the candidate of your choice.
Donate directly to the campaign office. It’s safer to contribute to a local campaign office or on the candidate’s official website.
Don’t fall for gifts. Political pollsters that offer anything in return for your information are scammers.
Don’t give personal or banking information. Pollsters asking for demographic information such as race or age is standard. However, you should never give out your Social Security or bank account information over the phone.
Do proper research. If someone contacts you claiming to represent a presidential campaign, do some research before donating. If you do decide to contribute, do so on an official website rather than over the phone.