Slammed by emails, robo calls and wasteful junk mail, everyone running for office is asking for money.
Scammers are jumping on this opportunity to rake in the dough, hoping someone will just send money without checking. Scam artists are really clever, that’s why they accumulate millions of dollars before they are caught … if they are caught. On top of everything else, this economy has reduced the average American’s ability to throw money at ANY campaign. Middle class Americans are swamped with this or that organization begging for just “a dollar”. Political campaigns actually know that average people cannot afford to choose between donations and groceries. This is why campaign managers enlist large corporations to donate millions of dollars or create “Super Pacs”, Political Action Committees. Super Pacs are the ones who finally decide who becomes President, Senator and Congressman. Average Americans are in the child restraint, in the back seat, and seldom can even see where the driver is taking us.
If you really want to make a difference during this election season, volunteer! Volunteer to be a monitor at a polling station. Volunteer to make sure your neighbors have their Voter’s Registration. Volunteer to transport someone who cannot make it to their polling place on their own. Volunteer to help!
Scammers are already gearing up for this year’s Presidential election, from robocalls offering a “free cruise” for taking a political survey, to promises that President Obama will pay utility bills. Better Business Bureau is advising voters to be on the lookout for the growing number of scams that are likely to continue leading up to the Presidential election.
“Scammers use incentives based on what they think voters want to hear,” said Gary Almond, president of BBB serving northeast California. “Hot topics like health care, economic recovery and unemployment are sure to be the alluring topics this election season, but it can be anything in the news that makes the pitch sound more realistic.”
Here are just a few of the election-related scams BBB is hearing about:
There will not be a “free cruise” at the end of the voting survey. This public opinion poll scam typically involves a recorded announcement offering a “free cruise” in exchange for participating in a telephone survey. At the end of the call consumers are asked for a debit or credit card number to cover “port fees” and taxes. Consumers who hesitate or ask if they can call back in order to verify the caller’s identity are subject to high-pressure tactics, such as being told that the offer “is only good right now,” and that if they hang up they will be disqualified.
President Obama is not going to pay your utility bill. As nice as that would be, it’s not going to happen. Consumers have been contacted through fliers, social media, text messages, and even door-to-door with claims that President Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills. Scammers claim they need the consumers’ Social Security and bank routing numbers to arrange the payments. In return, customers are given a phony bank routing number that will supposedly pay their utility bills. In reality, there is no money, and customers believe they have paid their bills when in fact they have not. Worse, they just gave away everything needed for identity fraud.
Fundraising calls for political donations may not be real. Consumers have reported calls from organizations that sound legitimate, but may not really be related to either the Obama or Romney campaigns. If you aren’t sure, don’t donate over the phone. If you would like to contribute to a political campaign or party, locate contact information yourself rather than giving out financial information to a caller. Requesting a callback number is no guarantee you will be connected with a legitimate campaign fundraising committee. Call or visit candidates’ websites to obtain contact information to make donation. No one will check your eligibility to vote. Your voter registration record is with your state and no one is going to call or email you to verify your eligibility. What do these callers claim they need to check? Just your credit card or Social Security number. No way!
About Better Business Bureau:
As a business-supported nonprofit organization, Better Business Bureau’s mission is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBB sets standards for ethical business behavior, helps consumer identify reliable businesses through BBB Business Reviews, sets standards for truthful advertising, evaluates and provides reviews of charities, educates consumers, and offers dispute resolution services. More than 87 million consumers rely on BBB for Business Reviews, consumer tips and scam alerts. To learn more, please visit http://www.necal.bbb.org
You need to know about where campaign money REALLY comes from. The US Supreme Court made the last move to remove any say so from average American Voters.
A relatively new phenomenon, super PACS proliferated following the January 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision that said the government cannot restrict the spending of corporations, unions, and other groups for political campaigns, maintaining that it’s their First Amendment right to support candidates as they choose.
In the majority decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”
The Citizens United decision resulted in the proliferation of super PACs that opened the floodgates for unlimited amounts of money to be poured into political campaigns. It also dismantled the McCain–Feingold campaign-finance law that banned issue ads and soft money (funds contributed to the Republican and Democratic National Committees, and to the party committees in each state) in political campaigns.:
TOP FIVE SUPER PACS BY SPENDING IN JULY 2012
- AMERICAN CROSSROADS $8,569,152
- RESTORE OUR FUTURE, INC. $8,107,287
- CLUB FOR GROWTH ACTION $3,941,503
- MAJORITY PAC $2,777,573
- PRIORITIES USA ACTION $2,552,327
Here are links to the super PACs associated with the main candidates in the 2012 presidential election:
Across the political spectrum, Americans agree that the Citizens United
decision, allowing unlimited corporate spending on elections, has been a disaster – and that the Super PACs doing most of that spending should be banned. The Super PAC-funded attack ads dominating the Republican primaries have become national jokes.
The Supreme Court maintains that corporations have the “human” right to “speak” by buying our elections. Until the Supreme Court changes its mind or we amend the Constitution, we would seem to be at an impasse.But there is an immediate fix that RootsAction learned of from our friends at BradBlog. Congress or our states could tax Super PAC donations heavily. When this country was in deep depression in the 1930s, President Roosevelt proposed taxing income above a high level at 100%, and achieved 94%. We propose taxing donations to Super PACs by as much as 99% – in the name of the 99% of us lacking voices in pay-to-play politics.It can’t violate corporations’ “human rights” to tax them. We humans are taxed all the time.Tax Super PAC donations at 99% starting now.
Whatever you decide to do. The act of Voting is priceless. All that money does is pay for the disinformation big corporations use to sway your vote. Don’t be a “lemming” and vote for who someone else advises. Look for yourself and decide who best represents YOUR own personal interests … and values. Your vote is your voice. All that corporate money is used to blind you into NOT thinking for yourself!