Just Hang up on Phony Fundraising Calls

  
     
Is President Obama really calling you?
March 23, 2017

A new scam uses clips of politicians’ voices to ask for money. The calls pretend to be raising funds for a political cause, but the donations are really going into scammers’ pockets. No matter your political leanings, be sure to hang up on these calls.

How the Scam Works: 

You answer the phone, and it’s a recording of former President Barack Obama or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In the message, which is likely lifted from a speech, the politician asks for a donation. Then, another voice prompts you to push a button and speak with an agent, who will collect your credit card information.

Don’t do it! Just hand up. Speaking to the “donation agent” can give scammers information they may use in later cons. Providing your credit card number and personal information to these scammers opens you up to the risk of fraudulent charges and even future identity theft. 

While this current con impersonates Clinton and Obama, the technique can easily be applied to other politicians.

How to avoid political fundraising scams:

  • Hang up. Don't press any buttons. We all like to have the last word, but engaging with the caller may just give the con artist information he can use. 
  • Watched for spoofed calls. Your Caller ID may say that someone from Washington DC is contacting you, but scammers can fake this using phone number spoofing technology.
  • Never give out any financial information. If you did not initiate the call, do not provide bank account, credit card, or Social Security numbers over the phone.   
  • Research fundraising organizations before donating. Be especially cautious of links that come to you through email or social media. Don't click through. Instead, go directly to an organization's website by typing the URL in your browser or using a search engine.

For More Information

Learn more about robcall scams on the Federal Trade Commission website. And check out this previous alert on political polling scams.

To find out more about other scams, check out BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.