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ID thieves using political scams

August 15, 2012

By Oregon Better Business Bureau

This fall, election scammers will be targeting unsuspecting voters. Better Business Bureau warns ballot-casters to be on the lookout for phony political donation requests, voter registration verifications, prize incentives for surveys, and tax credits or government-sponsored grants for economic recovery.

“While politicians are lobbying for support on critical issues, scam artists are campaigning to steal money and identities with news-worthy headlines,” comments Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington.  Solicitors may use door-to-door sales, telemarketing calls, paid advertisements, fabricated news articles, mailers, emails, social media websites and text messages to draw in participants.

Political donation fundraisers and voter eligibility inquiries tout legitimacy. Constituents and contributors should be skeptical of unsolicited requests, especially by phone; instead, contact campaign parties and organizations directly for details. Callback phone numbers may not be trustworthy so rely on endorsed public directories or candidates’ websites. Voter registration records should already be listed with residents’ federal, state, county and city offices.

Voting surveys promise “free” cruises, vacations and other prizes. Be wary of asterisks, disclaimers and other conditions. Privacy policies should explain how collected information will be used.

Programs, credits or grants pledge to stimulate economic relief or help pay bills. Beware if limited information is available, the source is unofficial, and direct deposit details or enrollment fees are required.

• Veto high-pressure sales tactics and “now only” offers.
• Nominate sound judgments on too-good-to-be-true propositions.
• Elect not to wire money or provide payments for taxes or other fees.
• Opt not to submit sensitive information, birthdates and Social Security numbers.
• Vote against suspicious solicitations at bbb.org/us/scam-source.

  
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