Mechele Mills BBB

Mechele Mills, Courtesy

With only three weeks to go before the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, it is almost impossible to miss the countless social media posts and mass news coverage. Also difficult to avoid, is the increasing number of robocalls from scammers targeting zealous voters. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be on the lookout for scammers who are making phony fundraising calls to trick consumers into making donations to their favorite candidate.

How the Scam Works

You receive a call from a recorded voice posing as a fundraising campaign for one of the presidential candidates. They want their constituents to support their favorite candidate by donating immediately. The call gets transferred to a live person and they ask for your credit card information. But instead of your money supporting the political cause, the scammer takes it and your personally identifiable information along with it.

Keep in mind, campaign calls and texts are exempt from the Do Not Call List requirements, so you will see an increase in political calls and text messages. Having preventive measures in place and protecting your personal information will reduce your chances of becoming victimized by this scam.

BBB recommends the following to help spot and stop robocalls:

Subscribe to the Do Not Call Registry. To date, the FTC has brought more than a hundred lawsuits against over 600 companies and individuals responsible for billions of illegal robocalls and other Do Not Call violations. There are harsh penalties for sellers and telemarketers who break the rules. While this certainly will not eliminate all calls, you will receive fewer marketing calls, and it will be easier to identify the fraudulent ones. Call 888-382-1222 or register online at donotcall.gov.

Hang up. If you answer a robocall, ignore recorded prompts to press digits on your telephone keypad to be taken off their calling list. If you press a key, it tells the scammers you have an active number. Your number will then be sold to other telemarketers and the frequency of calls will increase.

Don’t answer. You may consider not answering the phone at all. Allow the caller to leave a message, then decide whether or not to return the call.

Adjust your phone settings. It’s likely your phone provider already has some blocking capabilities in place, however, you can also go into your phone settings and silence calls and text messages from callers who are not in your contacts.

Use a service. Your phone carrier likely has a robocall blocking service available, and there are several free and fee-based apps available. Remember to review the privacy policy before subscribing.

Protect your personal information. Never give your credit card number or other personal information in response to an unsolicited telephone call, email or personal message on your social media profile from someone that is soliciting a donation.

For more tips on how to be a savvy business owner, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call BBB at 903-581-5704 or report it via BBB ScamTracker.

About BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.

TWITTER: @PhilHicksETFS

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