Democracy is a privilege. And Election Day is when our voices are heard.
Unfortunately, many people use voting season to make a dishonest dollar. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are warning of an increase in fraudsters using the election as a pretense to get your money or personal information. Be on the lookout for these schemes!
1.) Last-minute campaign contributions
In this scam, someone asks you for another small donation before the election.
These funds never make it near your candidate’s campaign. At best, the crook keeps your money. At worst, they have your credit or debit card information, leaving you a huge bill down the road!
In most states, voter registration information is public. A quick search of your name or address reveals your party affiliation. From there it’s easy to guess your candidate preference. The scammer uses the candidate’s credibility to gain your trust. Don’t let them succeed!
To avoid this scam, give proactively. To donate money, seek out the candidate’s website and donate there.
2.) Voter re-registration
Going to vote means dealing with endless rules. Did you register to vote? Did you miss last election and aren’t sure about your registration status? This uncertainty forms the basis of this scam.
A scammer contacts you claiming your name has been accidentally removed from the voter rolls. They’ll promise to correct that mistake with some information, like your address and Social Security number.
You’ll soon discover that your identity has been stolen. The caller didn’t complete a voter registration form – it wasn’t necessary. They just collected your information and abused it.
Beat this scam using the same public records scammers use. A quick search on your state’s Secretary of State website will reveal whether you’re registered to vote.
3.) Opinion polling
Everyone wants a preview of election results, leading to thousands of pre-election polls. To incentivize participation, survey companies offer rewards for participation. That’s the “in” for this scam.
A fraudster will call and walk you through a general survey. Then, they’ll tell you you’ve earned a thank-you prize. You only need to pay a small “processing fee” using a major credit card or give them your account information so they can directly deposit the “prize.”
There is no prize, and there’s probably no poll. Scammers are using the pretext of a poll to gain access to your personal information.
Never give any personal information in a call you didn’t initiate and never trust anyone who asks you to pay a fee before they give you a prize.
Whoever you vote for, it’s your right to make your voice heard. Don’t let criminals prevent you from doing your civic duty!
Keep your information secure!