BBB says watch out for election scams

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016
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(Anthony Wilson)
Anthony Wilson-WTVD

RALEIGH, North Carolina -- With the election right around the corner, the Better Business Bureau says watch out for scams!

"There are a variety of scams that pop up during election season," said Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. "We want all consumers to be aware of what scams are happening and how they can protect themselves if they become targets."

Here are scams the BBB is warning about:

Fake Campaign Fundraising

Crooks sometimes make random calls claiming to represent a political party, an election committee member or an actual candidate. Don't fall for their request asking you to donate. Instead, ask for their contact information and try to reach them after hanging up. If you are interested in donating, it is best to research their party or their campaign office on your own and make your contribution through a legitimate campaign website. Tell them you'd prefer to do that when they first contact you.

Re-Registration Scams

Some consumers get calls from scammers who claim to represent an election commission. They will tell you (falsely) that you have to re-register if you did not vote in the last election. If you receive any call about your voter registration needing to be updated, hang up and call your local Board of Elections.

Election Polling Prizes

In some instances, scammers have called claiming to be surveying for a political party. They may ask legitimate-sounding questions. Then the victim is told that he or she is eligible to receive a prize for their participation. All you have to do is provide them with a credit-card number to pay shipping, handling and/or taxes on the prize. This is fraud. No legitimate polling company offers prizes for your participation. Also, respondents have been asked to donate to a controversial cause, based on their answers to the questions. The scammer chooses a specific cause that your answers have indicated you would support. Resist the temptation. Make your donations only after you have called an organization that you are sympathetic toward. Don't trust any anonymous callers to be who they say they are.

Vote-by-Phone Scams

Scammers who claim to be giving you the opportunity to vote by phone, email or text message are fake. Such voting is illegitimate. These scams are often phishing attempts, trying to get your personal information. Hang up or delete the message. Con artists know you care about many different issues and they will try to get at your money through your interest in those issues. Be alert for attempts to rip you off during this election year.