Henrico woman warns of election scams after fraudulent caller demands money

Henrico County

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Better Business Bureau is issuing a warning for voters.

Scammers are turning to the upcoming election to try and steal victim’s money and in some cases their identity.

With such an important election less than one month away, many groups are reaching out to voters. Most are legit, officials say, but some are not.

8News spoke with a Henrico County woman who says scammers targeted her. Now, she is sharing her story with 8News to bring awareness to voters.

Around 9 p.m. Sunday night, Char Underwood says she was relaxing when her phone started ringing. The incoming call was an 804 number from Cartersville, Virginia. Underwood said she has family in that area and answered the phone because she was concerned something was wrong.

“When I answered it, the lady said is this ‘Charlotte Underwood’ and I said ‘this is Charlotte Ann Underwood and I call myself Char,'” Underwood shared.

She goes on to share that the woman on the other line claimed she represented the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and asked for an immediate monetary donation.

“I said excuse me?” Underwood explained. “When she said she was with the DCCC, I immediately thought it was a scam because nobody is going to ask you for a donation at 9 p.m. at night on a Sunday. Plus, I already donated and voted early.”

Underwood said the conversation was brief because she began aggressively questioning the caller. She says once she asked for her name and credentials, the woman hung up and the phone went dead.

Reporting the scam immediately, Underwood called Henrico Police Department’s non-emergency number.

On Monday, 8News called the phone number that reached out to Underwood, 804-207-9124, only to get a busy signal numerous times.

A Google search revealed the number had been flagged with dozens of complaints. Victims who received calls described it as fraudulent, a scam and unsafe.

The BBB reports that political scams are expected to increase as the election gets closer, stating that callers of fundraiser scams are usually pushy and demand immediate action.

“I don’t like to think that someone else could have been vulnerable and not thought about it being a scam and really wanted to support Biden,” Underwood said.

The senior citizen says her age group is vulnerable to fall victim to these types of scams. Underwood does not hide her political views. The 78-year-old has a large picture of Joe Biden taped to the stair railing of her porch, enclosed in a wreath of flowers. She says it could have been a political attack or someone being greedy.

Regardless of the callers motive, Underwood says she wants to protect others from political scammers.

“I don’t want this to happen to anybody else or anyone to be talked into giving up their hard earned money,” Underwood told 8News.

The BBB says one way to avoid scammers is to only donate directly to a campaign office and never give out bank account information.

Henrico County Police tell 8News they have not received any additional reports about this specific number, but just because it hasn’t been reported doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

A spokesperson with the department says if you get a suspicious call, report it immediately.

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