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Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd 2020!
Election season brings about a lot of political ads, signs, and sadly, scams. In the weeks leading up to an election, scammers come out in full force trying to steal your identity, take your money, or otherwise disenfranchise your vote.
Here are the top Election Scams to watch out for:
Voter Registration Scams
The Scam – Each state has different requirements to register to vote, but you should be wary about giving out personally identifiable information (such as your driver’s license and social security number) to strangers. If you meet someone in a parking lot, or if you get an email or phone call trying to get you to register to vote, be wary. While you may feel that it’s a convenient way to get this task accomplished, the person contacting you may not have the best intentions and use your personal information for other means.
Protect Yourself – Check with your county election office to learn about registration deadlines and age requirements, getting a replacement ballot, (if you vote by mail), or otherwise updating your registration. If you moved out of the last county you voted in, your registration may still be tied to your last known address. Contact your officials to see if you can get an absentee ballot, or if possible, just go to that county to vote in person.
Government Bill Collector Scams
The Scam – Someone may contact you, by phone or email, claiming to be from a government office like the IRS, and telling you that you have unpaid taxes or other bills that is holding up your voter registration. The scammer is happy to take your credit card number over the phone to help clean up your debt, and restore your right to vote.
Protect Yourself – There are no fees to vote. The US government abolished the poll tax in 1965, which makes it illegal to combine any sort of fee to vote or register to vote. This isn’t a thing – ignore the person promptly!
The Scam – Someone may contact you to get your opinion about ballot measures or specific candidates running for office. In return for your opinion, they’ll enter you into a drawing for a prize, but just need to collect personal information (like a credit card or social security number or driver’s license) to finish the transaction. Obviously, all they’re doing is harvesting your information, and perhaps going on a spending spree later!
Protect Yourself – Legitimate marketing companies may conduct market research polls. I’ve done a number of these myself! But the researcher will NEVER ask for credit card information, or your social security number. They may ask other identifying information like your sex, ethnicity, age, family size, income range, etc, but this is done to give results for specific demographic groups. IE: Women over the age of 40 prefer such-and-such candidate.
The Scam – Just like any other charity scam, fraudsters will contact you in hopes of getting you to donate money to a specific candidate or cause. They’ll take your credit card information, and use it for whatever else they want!
Protect Yourself – If there are candidates or ballot measures that you believe in, go directly to their website and donate there! Double check that the website listed is the same that is used on all marketing campaigns, TV and online ads, and official social media sites. That way, you’ll be certain that the website isn’t just a fake that someone created.
To check your registration or learn more about voting in your area, you can go to your local county election office, www.vote.org, www.CanIVote.org, or www.eac.gov for more information. And don’t forget that you have the RIGHT to vote! If anyone tries to stop you, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-687-8683.
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