BBB Warns Political Donors to Watch Out for Campaign Donation Fraud


Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Claiming that “scammers love to take advantage of major news events” – including the 2016 United States Presidential election – the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a warning for political donors to watch out for campaign donation fraud.

In the warning dated August 23, 2016, the BBB – a nonprofit organization founded in 1912 to advance marketplace trust consisting of 112 local BBB organizations in the United States – explains how the about campaign donation fraud scam works

You get a call from someone claiming to represent a political candidate, raising money to support the campaign. They may be collecting funds for a specific cause, such a healthcare reform, or on behalf of a group of people, such as veterans. 

The caller asks if you will donate and specifies an amount of money. Targets report that callers are typically pushy and demand immediate action.  You’ve been planning to give to the campaign, so you provide your name, address, and credit card number. 

However, the BBB warns some of these calls are scams and providing a credit card number and personal information opens the donor up to the risk of fraud and identity theft. The BBB offers tips to avoid getting scammed by campaign donation fraud:

  • Donate directly to the campaign office: Donations made over the phone can be valid, but any wary donor should give to campaigns either through the candidates’ official website or at a local campaign office.
  • 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.
  • Polling companies don’t offer prizes: Just hang up on any political pollster who claims that you can win a prize for participating in a survey
  • Polls won’t ask for personal or banking information: Political pollsters may ask for information about your vote or political affiliation, but they don’t need your Social Security number or credit card information. 

To report a campaign donation fraud con, please visit BBB’s Scam Tracker. The complete warning issued by the BBB is available at

More Information about Fraud and Identity Theft from ESR

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