Be careful if the caller asks for money, even if it looks legitimate

Prosecutors outline the financial case of the campaign against Lev Parnas as the criminal trial begins

Sutherlin says, “Pop-up emails, pop-up social posts, pop-up texts, all of those things could have nefarious links in them, could lead you into a space where they’re trying to actually steal your information, steal your money.”

Consumer protection specialist Lara Sutherlin says you should treat unsolicited messages to donate to a political campaign the same way you treat spam or possible scams.


  • “There was a recent report in the New York Times about elderly individuals spending an inordinate amount of money on PACs,” she says. Sutherlin says some political action committees have been masquerading as charities or representing themselves as donating money to candidates when they really aren’t.

  • Earlier this year, she says some political action committees — or PACs — were caught signing people up for high monthly donations without giving them the proper notice.

Much like donations to charities, Sutherlin says you should investigate the groups you’re considering sending money, and find out how much of that money actually goes toward a candidate or a cause before making a donation.

“Sometimes you can’t tell who you you’re talking to, right?” Sutherlin says. “Sometimes you think it’s a charity and it’s actually a PAC and there’s very, very little money going to the actual cause that they’re calling you about and it’s really hard to figure it out.”