Early voting is in full swing and Election Day is only one week away. But unfortunately, with elections often comes the possibility scams. While politicians are seeking your support, scam artists are busy trying to steal money and identities by pretending to contact you about an election-related issue.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin is warning consumers of four common election scams to look out for before casting their vote for the Nov. 4 elections.
- Campaign Fund Collections – Be cautious when answering a call that claims to be from a political party representative, election committee or even the candidate themselves. While political groups are exempt from abiding by the ‘Do Not Call’ registry, scammers can easily spoof caller ID and sound like they are calling from a legitimate organization. They may call asking for your vote, a donation in support of the candidate or detailed personal information in order to possibly steal your identity.
Avoiding the scam: Get the caller’s contact information and do your own research on the candidates. If you decide to support a candidate, look online and find the candidates campaign number and call directly to ensure you’re reaching the right office.
- Re-register Scam – Scammers have also pulled a con in which they state you need to re-register. They will make claims that you have been taken off of the voter’s list. The caller is seeking personal information, including address, email and in more serious cases, bank account information and social security numbers.
Avoiding the scam: Never give out personal information to a suspicious caller. If you are concerned about your voter registration status, contact the Texas Secretary of State. If you believe you have received a call of this nature, report it to your County Clerk’s Office.
- Election Survey Scam – Another popular telemarketing scam that occurs during election season are survey calls. The con artist will explain that a survey is being conducted on behalf of a political party and if you answer all questions, you are eligible to win a prize (often cruise tickets or gift cards). The topic of the survey usually refers to a controversial headline in the news, making it seem legitimate. While the survey questions themselves are commonly vague, the scam occurs when you are asked to provide personal financial information to pay for shipping, taxes or the handling of the “prize” you’ve won. This is scam used to get your financial information.
Avoiding the scam: Protect your savings, never give out personal or financial information over the phone. Be suspicious of callers promising prizes, cash or other items if you pay a “fee” first.
- Vote by Phone – Never respond to a phone call, email or text message asking you to vote by phone. This is not possible. You can only cast your vote by ballot either by mail or at an official polling station. They are likely trying to obtain personal information to steal your identity.
Avoiding this scam: Do not respond to these messages or hang up the phone if you receive a solicitation of this nature and report it to your County Clerk.