The midterm elections on Nov. 6th mean that Americans are now receiving an influx of politically-related calls – both legitimate and scam. While party reps are dialing for donation dollars, scammers are scheming, hoping to steal money by blending in with the political mix. Hiya, the global leader in phone spam protection, today announced that based on analysis of 5.3 billion calls each month, political scam calls across the country have gone up a whopping 700% YoY and that number is expected to continue to rise as Americans near midterms in early November.
“Americans, now more than ever, need to be wary of unexpected calls as these scammers look for opportunities to leverage the divisiveness of the current climate and we expect political calls to consumers to skyrocket in response,” said Jonathan Nelson, director of product management at Hiya. “Scammers will use any tactic to steal the money or identity of unsuspecting Americans, and this midterm season presents their latest opportunity.”
Coast to coast, red states, blue states, and swing states, scammers are hitting up every part of the nation. Here are the top 10 area codes where scam calls appear to originate:
- 202 – Washington, D.C.
- 256 – Alabama (Northern and Eastern)
- 419 – Ohio (Northwest)
- 614 – Columbus, Ohio
- 517 – Michigan (South Central – Lansing, Charlotte)
- 205 – Birmingham, Alabama
- 678 – Atlanta, Georgia
- 470 – Atlanta, Georgia
- 512 – Austin, Texas
- 281 – Houston, Texas
In the last month, the most common types of political scam calls are:
- Voting Campaigns: Consumers may receive calls asking to vote by phone or text message, which is a red flag and indicates that these are scam calls. Despite how advanced technology has become over the years, Americans still cannot vote via a phone call or text message. If a consumer receives a call requesting to vote, they should hang up immediately. Votes can only be cast through mail or in-person.
- Political Charity/Donation Scams: When it seems like scammers call so frequently, people are naturally skeptical when they receive an unexpected call asking for money. Consumers should use the same caution when they receive a call claiming to be a political party representative or an election committee member. However, some of these calls are legitimate. So, before signing a check to show support, it’s important to get the caller’s contact information and confirm the organization or campaign to donate directly to the viable source.
- Political Surveys: Who doesn’t want to win a prize? But the cost of consumers’ personal information isn’t worth it. Scammers know that enticing consumers with an incentive like free trips or gift cards is an easy way to trick them into stealing their money. While claiming to be conducting a survey on behalf of a political party, scammers will refer to a controversial headline in the news to show credibility. Then, they claim the consumer has won if they provide a credit card number to pay for shipping, taxes, or handling of the “prize.” Be aware that official polling companies will never offer prizes for participating in a survey. They will also never ask for personal or financial information.