As we near closer to November, our civic responsibility as voters is to inform ourselves and question everything, not only about the issues and candidates but also when it comes to donating, surveying, registering, and voting.
Unfortunately, an election year creates opportunities for scammers to lure innocent voters into giving their money or even their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to be exploited. Being aware of the common schemes that scammers use during election season will help safeguard you and your family. Here are 4 easy tips on how you can protect yourself this election year.
#1: Taking a survey or poll won’t win you an exotic cruise.
Anything that offers you a cash prize or “exotic vacay” probably isn’t worth your time. If they ask for your credit card number, it is unfortunately not to give you money, but rather to steal yours. Legitimate surveys will not ask you for any PII.
- If you are called by a “polling company,” be careful. IDShield can help by reducing your solicitation calls.
- If there is a prize to win an exotic vacation or cash, know that it is probably a phony poll or survey.
- If you do wish to let your opinions be heard, it’s best to find a poll for a recognized and trusted organization.
#2: Voting and voter registration cannot be done over the phone.
A friendly and passionate younger person comes to your house claiming to be an election volunteer and wants you to register to vote. Seems innocent enough, right?
Not always. The FTC warns of scammers that call your landline or mobile phone or show up at your door posing as an election volunteer. Their goal is to convince you to register to vote, but you must trade them your personal data, like your Social Security number, to do so. Remember: Voter registration over the phone is not allowed in any state.
- If you are contacted out of the blue over the phone to register, hang up and block the number. IDShield can help by reducing your solicitation calls.
- To register to vote, instead, go to your state’s official voter registration website.
- Once you are registered, visit your state’s official website to find information on which polling place to vote at and when.
#3: Out-of-the-blue callers that ask for donations probably aren’t legitimate.
If you’re a passionate voter who eagerly awaits the opportunity to give to your favorite politician, stay skeptical of unsolicited calls asking for cash donations. Don’t give out your personal info or dole your contribution over the phone.
Election scammers operate by insisting you show your support but doing so only by their specific method, like sending a check. If they ask you to send a check, chances are it’s because it makes it harder to dispute the charge to your bank, but they might try to convince you the reasoning is so that it will take out processing fees. Don’t believe it.
Tips to keep in mind:
- Instead of giving money over the phone, go to a candidate’s official campaign website and donate there.
- Don’t rely on caller ID to recognize the caller as genuine. Scammers can “spoof” caller IDs to make it look like they are from a legitimate organization.
- On Political Action Committees (PACs): Do your research. Legitimate PACs will ask about your citizenship status and employment. Look up individual groups and get thorough details on how they operate.
#4: When in doubt, don’t give it out.
Before you give someone personal information like your Social Security number or credit card details, do some research. You are better off hanging up or walking away and finding a more genuine place to register, vote, or take a survey or poll.
If you think you have been victimized by a scam, contact the FTC at 877-FTC-HELP.
Reducing unwanted solicitation saves you time and aggravation.
Your IDShield Membership comes with Solicitation Reduction. Consultation services are available to help you reduce the number of unsolicited calls you receive, which is especially helpful around election time.
We are here to help protect you from identity thieves and scammers. Learn more about how our products and services can help safeguard your identity.
IDShield is a product of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”). LegalShield provides access to identity theft protection and restoration services. For complete terms, coverage and conditions, please see an identity theft plan. All Licensed Private Investigators are licensed in the state of Oklahoma. This is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations.