KALAMAZOO, Mich. — It common, especially during an election year, for political pollsters, campaign volunteers and fundraisers to reach out, but the Better Business Bureau is warning of impostors who want much more than just your vote.
The BBB said it anticipates scammers will call your phone, pretending to be a political candidate, fundraiser or a pollster with the goal of stealing your personal financial information.
Martin Burgess said, “It’s a scary, but it’s out there. It’s going on.”
Burgess, like many, is wary of political outreach during this mid-term election season.
He said, “People go door-to-door soliciting. They’ll walk away, leave a flier by a mailbox. I don’t trust any of it.”
He has reason to be cautious.
Phil Catlett, BBB of West Michigan, said, “Emotions can run high and when emotions run high, we’re all more vulnerable to falling for scams.”
The BBB said it is preparing for scammers to pretend to be pollsters, campaign volunteers, fundraisers, and even candidates. They’ll try to get your money after gaining your trust over the phone.
Catlett said, “They get you talking about how upset our current representatives are doing and they say, ‘How would you like for someone to change or stop that?’ You’d say, ‘I love it.’ Then it opens the door.”
Cyber security experts also warn to watch out for phony emails.
John Hey, Chief Operating Officer with Trivalent Group, said, “When you run around in a highly contested election, you see a huge spike in phishing attempts. Bad guys are going send out solicitation emails, lobbying emails, news blasts, to try to entice you to open a bad link.”
Sarah Vogt said, “Everything is turning out to be a scam. All the calls you get. You just don’t know what’s real or fake.”
But not everything is a scam. Vogt received a text blast from the restricting the ballot initiative campaign and her initial thought was, “It’s fake.”
It was a real campaign text blast.
Catlett said, “Verify, if you want to donate to this party and cause and make sure you are getting to the place you want to go.”
Some things the BBB recommends for protection: