Better Business Bureau
Don't let election scammers count on your support
The Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is advising voters to be on the lookout for the growing number of scams that are likely to continue leading up to the presidential election.
"Elections can be big business to scammers," said BBB President Kim States. "Scam artists will typically try to seize on the anxiety many voters have about things like health care and unemployment in an attempt to make their con more alluring to potential victims."
Here are just a few of the election-related scams the BBB is hearing about:
There will not be a "free cruise" at the end of the voting survey
This public opinion poll scam typically involves a recorded announcement offering a "free cruise" in exchange for participating in a telephone survey. At the end of the call consumers are asked for a debit or credit card number to cover "port fees" and taxes. Consumers who hesitate or ask if they can call back in order to verify the caller's identity are subject to high-pressure tactics, such as being told that the offer "is only good right now," and that if they hang up they will be disqualified.
President Obama is not going to pay your utility bill
As nice as that would be, it's not going to happen. Consumers have been contacted through fliers, social media, text messages, and even door-to-door with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills. Scammers claim they need the consumers' Social Security and bank routing numbers to arrange the payments. In return, customers are given a phony bank routing number that will supposedly pay their utility bills. In reality, there is no money, and customers believe they have paid their bills when in fact they have not. Worse, they've just given away everything needed for identity fraud.
Fundraising calls for political donations may not be real
Consumers have reported calls from organizations that sound legitimate, but may not really be related to either the Obama or Romney campaigns. If you aren't sure, don't donate over the phone. If you'd like to contribute to a political campaign or party, locate contact information yourself rather than giving out financial information to a caller. Requesting a callback number is no guarantee you will be connected with a legitimate campaign fundraising committee. Call or visit candidates' websites to obtain contact information to make donation.
No one will check your eligibility to vote
Your voter registration record is with your state and no one is going to call or email you to verify your eligibility. What do these callers claim they need to check? Just your credit card or Social Security number. No way!
Don't fall for these scams. Legitimate polling companies will never offer prizes for participating in a telephone survey, nor ask for a credit card number. Never provide your Social Security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident with whom you are speaking. Do not give in to high pressure tactics, whether over the phone or in person.