Election season means election scams are rampant. Do your due diligence before contributing to a campaign, taking a survey or registering to vote. Here are three scams to watch out for during election season.
Eleventh-hour campaign contributions:
This scheme targets voters right before elections, asking them to make a donation toward their preferred candidate’s campaign. They will claim to represent the candidate, and inform the target that the candidate just needs one big push to move to the front of the line. The target is led to believe their small donation will make their candidate emerge as victor on election night.
Unfortunately, if the target believes the caller and makes a donation, they will only help line a scammer’s pockets. Sometimes, the scammer will take it one step further and use the credit card information shared to rack up a huge bill on the victim’s tab.
Stay safe: If you would like to contribute to a candidate’s campaign, reach out to campaign headquarters on your own through their website.
Polling for information:
During election season, informal poll-takers and petitioners are everywhere. They may approach you in the parking lot of a supermarket, at a ballgame or even at a music festival. Once they have your attention, they will ask who you are voting for, request that you fill out a survey or have you sign an election petition on a particular issue. But first, they will need your personally identifiable information (PII), such as your name, date of birth, home address and even your Social Security number. You may be compelled to participate because you are happy to help your chosen candidate in any way possible. If you do, though, you will be sharing your information with a scammer.
Stay safe: Guard your PII like the treasure it is and never share any of it with an unverified contact. This includes impromptu surveyors and pollsters. If you do decide to fill out a voter survey, make sure to be selective about the information you choose to share. Don’t share your Social Security number, driver’s license number or any other information that can be hijacked for crime.
Voting has changed a lot since COVID-19 entered our world. Absentee voting is far more popular than it used to be, and many voters may find the rules and regulations confusing.
Scammers, of course, will take advantage of this to get at your information and your money.
Here’s how: In the weeks leading up to Election Day, scammers send out bogus voter registration forms for voters. They may include a claim that your name has been mistakenly removed from the voter rolls, but you can easily get right back on by filling out this form and mailing it out to them. Alternatively, they will reach out by phone, text or email, telling you to register by responding. Naturally, these messages are the work of scammers, and if you share your info, you will be sharing your sensitive information with fraudsters.
Stay safe: There is no reason to believe your registration is no longer valid just weeks before Election Day. If in doubt, you can always search your state’s Secretary of State website. Also, if you choose to register to vote while in a public area, take the form home with you to mail in later instead of leaving it behind with a group of volunteers.
Stay informed with SeaComm’s Fraud Center. As your credit union, we want to keep you and your finances safe. That’s why we created our Fraud Center, which includes valuable resources to help educate and empower our members to protect their assets and identities. Click here to get started!