Remain Vigilant to Avoid Falling for Election Scams

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It is nearing November during a presidential election year and that means that there are abundant opportunities for identity thieves to take advantage of Americans.

During the height of the political discourse, scam artists use the public’s interest in the campaigns against them by luring in victims to scams by baiting them with politically related hooks.

These criminals know that this is a good time to try to scam people and will be out in full force trying to trick and deceive consumers into giving away their personal and financial information.

Like any other important event, scam artists use the presidential election as a ruse for their criminal activity.

Past Scams

Typically, in the past, scams would mostly take place over the telephone with thieves calling consumers posing as representatives from one of the political parties or campaigns asking for donations.

Adapting and evolving to the digital era we now live in, scams have been modified to take advantage of consumers using the mobile and online world. The Better Business Bureau has already issued a warning to consumers about text messages or social network postings being use by scam artists as a way to garner personal and financial information from unsuspecting consumers.

A recent example of this type of scam offered mobile and online users offered the victim payment of their utility bill by President Obama’s campaign.

Of course, in order to be the recipient of this gesture of goodwill, people had to provide their Social Security number as a requirement. Unfortunately, consumers replying to this offer were left with unpaid utility bills and a lifetime risk of identity theft.

Beware Malware and Social Media Scams

It is important that consumers remain vigilant when using their social networks. They must remember that clicking on a link can lead to the installation of malware onto their device or computer, potentially resulting in identity theft or financial fraud. In order to maximize the number of people clicking on the malicious links cyber criminals post to social networks, they use fake and sensationalized stories to garner public interest and attention.

Social network users must always be extremely cautious when deciding whether or not to click on a link, post, or tweet regarding the election or any other important and popular event, especially if they are odd or scandalous.

Voter registration is another potential goldmine for scam artists to use as a way to trick voters into giving them personal information. Individuals may receive phone calls from a criminal posing as a voter registrar offering to register them over the phone or asking the individual to confirm their voter information.

People should be aware that the only way to register to vote is to fill out and mail an official registration form or possibly register online depending on the state that you live in.

Registered voters will never be asked to verify their personal registration information, so people can be sure that any phone calls or emails requesting such information is a scam.

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Nikki Junker

Nikki Junker is Social Media Coordinator and Victim Advisor at The Identity Theft Resource Center. She specializes in Identity Theft on social networks and smartphones. She enjoys working one on one with victims of identity theft as well as researching and writing about preventative measures for consumers.