Watch Out for Scams During Election Season, Says BBB

With election season in full swing, the Better Business Bureau is warning voters to be on the lookout for scams leading up to Election Day.

According to Northeast Georgia Better Business Bureau President Fred Elsberry, scammers use big events like an election or a major holiday to make their pitches more relevant and realistic.

Elsberry said one scam reported to the Better Business Bureau this election season is what the agency calls the “political survey free cruise offer.”

“They will call and indicate they are doing public opinion surveys and they will give you a free cruise in exchange for participating in a quick telephone survey,” said Elsberry. “But then, at the end of the call, they ask you for your payment information, Visa card, American Express, or whatever, so they can pay port fees and taxes and all they are trying to do is get your identity and financial information.”

Elsberry said that legitimate polling companies will not offer prizes for participating in a telephone survey and will not ask for a credit card number.

He went on to say that a second scam popping up this election season involves scammers calling and pretending to be raising funds for a candidate or political campaign.

“We have heard from consumers that have gotten calls from organizations asking for donations only to find that these were not legitimate organizations,” said Elsberry. “They are trying again to get personal financial information over the phone.”

Elsberry said people should do their research before donating.

“If you want to contribute to a political campaign, go on the candidate’s website and they will make it easy for you to contribute,” said Elsberry.

According to Elsberry, the third main scam appearing this election season is one where scammers call people claiming to check their voter eligibility.

“These are e-mails or phone calls claiming to be from your local election board or civic group,” said Elsberry. “They ask for Social Security or credit card numbers to confirm your eligibility to vote.”

It should be noted that the voter registration deadline in Georgia for the November election passed earlier this month. In addition, Elsberry said that any voter registration drive would not ask you to provide financial information.

Elsberry said the best advice is to not give out personal information to someone that you do not know.