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Watch out for scam artists using fake political schemes

FlagWaves[1]Crooks using false political information would love access to your bank account by using fake political ploys. Reports from around the nation indicate scammers are taking advantage of the political season with a number of dangerous schemes.

The Better Business Bureau has some warnings for consumers who may be targeted by phone calls and emails from scammers this summer and fall. Here are some of their favorite tactics:

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 that you donate. Instead, ask for their contact information and try to reach them after hanging up. The best idea is to research their party or their campaign office on your own and make your contribution, if they're a cause you support, 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 didn't vote in the last election. If you receive any call about your voter registration needing to be updated, hang up and call your local elections' official.

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.

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