Scam Alert: Thieves Again Targeting Your Personal Info and Money Thanks to Election Season
Scammers exploit a loophole in the National Do Not Call Registry that allows political organizations to conduct telemarketing calls
Have you noticed the phone ringing a bit more than usual lately? It may be thanks to Election Day, which is almost here and giving scammers a way to steal your personal information and hard-earned money. A loophole in the National Do Not Call Registry allows political organizations to call you. Don't let a scammer pull one over on you by asking for a donation or to verify your voter registration.
Political Calls are exempt
One of the few exceptions to telemarketing calls in the National Do Not Call Registry applies to political organizations, which can call to request a donation and/or your vote. As Election Day gets closer, these organizations call more often, even if you have registered your phone number.
These scammers claim that they either need to re-register you or that they need to verify your current voter registration information in order for you to be able to vote in the upcoming election. In reality, they are trying to get your personal information in order to steal your identity. You should not receive any legitimate phone calls trying to verify this information. Hang up on anyone trying to get this information.
Some scammers will try to get you to register to vote over the phone so long as you provide a little bit of personal information and sometimes a processing fee. You can't register to vote over the phone and anyone attempting to help you do so is scamming you. For more information about registering to vote or updating your registration, visit the North Carolina State Board of Elections website.
These calls are a bit trickier because legitimate campaign organizations are allowed to solicit donations by phone. Scammers attempting to run this fraud will say they are from a campaign and request that you make a donation over the phone. They have a 50 percent chance of guessing which candidate you support, so getting money from you might be easy. The scammers might ask first which candidate you support prior to asking for a donation. And if they get your candidate wrong, you might get a call later from the a scammer representing the 'other guy.' To avoid this scam, donate directly on a particular candidate's campaign's website rather than by phone if you wish to contribute. Hang up on anyone who tries to pressure you into making a donation by phone after you say you'll donate Online.
These callers say that they are taking a survey on behalf of a political campaign and promise you a prize in exchange for answering some questions. After conducting the survey, they will request your credit card information to cover the shipping costs for your prize, which does not exist. All you will receive will be fraudulent charges on your card.
Voting by Phone, email and text
There are only two ways to vote: in person at an authorized polling place or by mail. Some scammers may reach out to you and say that you can vote by calling, emailing or texting. This seems appealing to some victims, especially given all the confusion about voting surrounding COVID-19. But it's just a scam attempting to get your personal information and sometimes a payment for 'processing fees.' Sometimes the phone number calling you is spoofed to display your local area code or even area code 202, which is for Washington, D.C., in order to seem more legitimate. The name on the caller ID may even display something related to elections.