How to protect yourself from scam PACs

A pedestrian walks past a seal reading Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation..
A pedestrian walks past a seal of the Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation on the J. Edgar Hoover FBI building in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 15, 2022.
(Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images)
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As the 2024 election heats up, campaigns and political organizations and candidates will be scrambling to raise money for everything from presidential candidates to programs to help veterans and protect the environment. Beware, however, that scam artists looking to line their pockets will be lurking among the legitimate federal political action committees.

The FBI has seen an increase in these fraudulent PACs and is warning people to be on high alert. If you are solicited for a political donation by a political organization, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recommends you do the following:

  • Visit the Federal Election Commission’s website ( and search the organization’s name to see if the PAC is registered. If it’s not registered, it’s illegal.
  • The FEC website also includes reports filed by PACs that show how they spend their money. Check to see what vendors they are using. “Often, in a scam PAC, you will see the vendors are also associated with the operators. That should be a red flag. Similarly, if you see the same operator running multiple PACs, that can be an indicator of a scam,” the FBI warns.
  • If a group asking for money has a name similar to a separate, well-known or established organization, be suspicious.
  • Also, the FBI warns it’s illegal to take money from another person and donate it to a candidate or PAC under your name. So don’t do that.

In general, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t donate money.