Steer clear of political polling calls that promise gift cards in exchange for taking a voter survey. Survey cons are taking advantage of the U.S. presidential campaign with a timely phishing scam.    

How the Scam Works: 

You get a call from someone claiming to be conducting a political survey. The pollster wants to ask you questions about the upcoming presidential election. In exchange for a few minutes of your time and your opinions, you will get a gift card or other reward.

After answering several  survey questions, the caller typically asks you to provide your credit card number. Allegedly, you need to pay for the shipping and taxes of a prize you’ve won. 

Do not provide your credit card number and personal information to persons you are not familiar with over the phone.  Scammers may attempt to gain your information for fraudulent charges and identity theft. Legitimate polling companies do not offer prizes for participating in a survey, and none would ask for a credit card number.

Avoid Campaign Cons by Following These Tips:

  • Donate directly to the campaign office.  Donations made over the phone can be valid, but wary donors should give to a campaign either through the candidate’s official website or at a campaign office.
  • Understand Caller IDs can be faked. 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 info. 
  • Research fundraising organizations before donating. Be especially cautious of links that come to you through e-mail or social media, and don’t click through. Instead, go directly to an organization’s website by typing the URL in your browser or using a search engine.

If you are interested in learning more about protecting yourself from political scams, speak with a Community Resource Specialist: (408) 350-3200, option 1.