Whether you enjoy following politics or not, political robocall scams affect everyone. Scammers send out these types of automated scam calls easily and just wait for victims to fall for their cons. The closer the public gets to voting in an election, the more of these calls they will receive. Unfortunately, political robocall scams are after more than your vote…. they are trying to trick you into handing over your financial information. Learn how to avoid political robocall scams, before this type of scam happens to you!
How Robocall Scams Work
You receive a phone call that sounds urgent. A candidate that you support is in need of money. The recording claims the money is needed to help them beat a rival or promote an important issue. You want to help and are transferred to a live person who collects your financial information. You hang up feeling good about your donation. The only problem? The financial data they collect won’t go to help any candidate, it will be stolen and used by a scammer or group of scammers. As if that wasn’t bad enough, any other data you give out may put you at risk of identity theft. Identity theft is when your name, SSN, birthdate or other private details are used to open credit cards and hack into multiple financial accounts without your knowledge.
How to Avoid Political Robocall Scams
To avoid falling for robocalls, use the following tips— along with trusting your intuition and using common sense. If something doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t.
- Get to Know Your Phone Settings: Many phones now allow you to alter your phone settings to avoid unidentified calls. This can send phone numbers you don’t have in your contact list straight to voicemail. There are also phone screening apps you download, which offer the same protection against likely scam calls. While this won’t protect you against all robocalls or from calls coming from fake numbers, it’s an important first step.
- Register on the Do Not Call Registry: Scammers may still try to call you, but signing up for the “Do Not Call Registry” will eliminate constant stream robocalls from other sources, such as telemarketing sales. To register by phone, call: 888-382-1222. To register online, visit Donotcall.gov.
- Hang Up: Give yourself permission to hang up the phone. It is not being rude to hang up on a robocall… it is being safe. If you stay on the phone you might be tempted to believe what is being told to you. Or, you might end up being transferred and interacting with a scammer directly.
- Don’t Interact: Interacting with a robocall might seem harmless, such as pressing “1 or 2” to verify a question about your identity. However, doing so could verify your identity and phone number being valid— which will open you up to other scams. Other robocall scams have you answer “Yes” and your name, then sign you up for services you don’t actually want by using those answers to fake your verification.
- Never Pay by Phone: Giving out financial information by phone is never wise. Even if you want to donate to a candidate, never trust a phone call, text, or email. Verify any website sent to you and pay directly through the official URL for the candidate.
During the primaries or election time, politically themed robocalls may come in abundance. However, by knowing the scams to look for, you can prevent yourself from being tricked out of money or time and have the knowledge on how to avoid political robocall scams.
Whenever you’re uncertain about a caller’s real identity or the name behind a phone number, search it online. You can also reverse search by username, phone number, image, email address, and name. This will arm you with information you can report to the FTC or use to warn friends and family. Be smart, stay safe, and give yourself access to the most accurate search on the ‘net!
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