With the upcoming midterm election only a couple of weeks away, Jersey residents are being warned to watch out for political phone scams.

According to New Jersey Better Business Bureau President Melissa Companick, scammers are coming out of the woodwork pretending to be all sorts of things — even candidates running for office!

She said if you get a phone call from someone claiming to be a fundraiser, one telltale sign they may be a fake is if they’re very pushy and demand “that you give them either bank account information, credit card information, and just, 'we can’t let you hang up the phone until you make a donation today.'”

Companick said another scam is where you get a call from someone who claims to be a pollster doing a survey who offers you a prize or reward if you answer some questions and then they ask for your credit card in order to pay for shipping and handling.

“Anybody who says you can win a prize for participating in a survey, that’s really a red flag," she said.

Another thing to watch out for is when scammers use real audio clips of a candidate speaking, and then you may be asked to press a number to be connected with a “live agent” so you can make a donation for that candidate.

Companick stressed before giving any personal information to anybody, do a bit of research first.

“Just because you’re solicited over the phone doesn’t mean you have to give out money right then and there. You want to check with BBB, you want to check with other agencies," she said.

The BBB offers the following tips to avoid political scams:

• Donate directly to the campaign office.

• Watch for "spoofed" calls: Your Caller ID may say that someone from Washington, D.C., or from a campaign office is contacting you but scammers can fake this using phone number spoofing technology.

• Beware of offers of prizes: Just hang up on any political pollster who claims that you can win a prize for participating in a survey.

• Never give out personal or banking information.

• Research fundraising organizations before donating.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com


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