BBB: Beware of Scams this Election Season
RALEIGH, N.C. (August 22, 2012) — Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina warns consumers that scam artists are already gearing up for this year’s election season.
“Hot topics such as health care, economic recovery and unemployment are sure to be alluring topics this election season,” said Toby Barfield, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. “It is important for consumers to be on the lookout for the growing number of scams that are likely to continue leading up to the election.”
BBB cautions consumers against the following election-relation scams:
There will not be a “free cruise” at the end of the voting survey. This 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 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 a 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. Consumers have been contacted through fliers, e-mails, text messages and even door-to-door with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills. Scam artists claim they need the consumers’ Social Security or bank routing numbers to arrange payments. In return, customers are given a phony bank routing number that will supposedly pay their utility bills. In reality, customers believe they have paid their bills when in fact they have not, and they have just provided the scam artists with their personal information.
Fundraising calls for political donations may not be legitimate. If you would like to contribute to a political campaign or party, contact them directly. Call or visit the candidates’ Web sites to obtain contact information to make a donation. It is important for consumers to avoid giving out any credit card information or other personal information to an unknown caller.
No one will contact you to check your eligibility to vote. Your voter registration record is with your state and no one is going to call or e-mail you to verify your eligibility. Scam artists who are making these calls are requesting Social Security and credit card numbers from consumers.
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 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.
For more information, visit bbb.org.
About BBB serving Eastern North Carolina
Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation serving 33 counties in eastern North Carolina. The organization is funded primarily by BBB Accredited Business fees from more than 3,000 local businesses and professional firms. BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace. Services provided by BBB include reports on companies and charitable organizations, general monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, consumer/business education programs and dispute resolution services. All services are provided at no cost to the public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit bbb.org.