by Susann Miller
It’s election time, and with that comes the onslaught of election-related phone calls, emails, snail mail, campaign signs, TV ads, radio ads … yeah, it’s enough to make you stop paying attention. But within that onslaught are things you do need to pay attention to: Scammers are hoping that you’re too fatigued or too naive to notice that they’re not on the up-and-up. They want your personal information so they can steal your identity.
The Better Business Bureau has compiled common election season scams and schemes, the red flags you should look for, and suggestions on how to avoid them.
- Campaign Fund Collections
Scammers are great at sounding like they’re a legitimate political party representative, election committee member or the candidate themselves. When these scammers call, they might ask you to make a donation. But instead, get the caller’s contact information, research the candidates and organizations on your own and contribute through a verified campaign website or call the phone number of the campaign office or mail in a check to their office.
- Election Survey Scam
Scammers may also call stating that a survey is being conducted on behalf of a political party and that participants are eligible to win a prize. The scam occurs after you’ve answered their legitimate-sounding survey questions. The caller typically asks you to provide your credit card number to pay for the shipping, taxes or handling of the “prize” you’ve won with the intent to commit fraud.
Don’t over-share on social media, be a good steward of your passwords, safeguard any documents that can be used to hijack your identity, and consider freezing your credit or putting a fraud alert on your credit file if you think a scam like this has happened to you.
- Vote By Phone
Never respond to a phone call, email or SMS message asking you to vote by phone as this is not possible.
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime. These scams attack your personal identity so monitoring your credit score regularly is a great way to make sure you haven’t fallen for identity theft. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to verify your credit report for free.
If you are the victim of a scam or want to search scams, please go to the BBB Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org. Be a hero to your community by warning others. Feel free to contact the Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Arizona at (520) 888-5353 or visit our website.