Election Season: The Time for Bluffing

Election season is in full swing, and whether you’re on Team Hillary, Team Trump, or opting out of voting, you’ve realized there’s no escaping the debate. Who is the more qualified candidate? Who will win the election? Presidential campaigns and political opinions will keep flooding you every which way.

Easy solution: Turn off all connection to the media!

In real life: Turn off the tv and miss the latest episode of The Bachelor?! No way! Avoid the internet?! I will not live under a rock! Don’t even get me started with my phone! Aren’t these annoying calls against the law!?

Yes, your phone. How could we ignore the annoying unwanted calls infiltrating your handheld and land line devices?

According to the CTIA, “Telemarketers may not call during certain hours, and they may not use auto dialers and recorded messages to call numbers which will result in charges to the consumer. There are, of course, some exemptions to the TCPA. These exceptions permit businesses to make calls to customers with whom there is an established relationship, as well as calls made on behalf of a non-profit organization, or for non-commercial purposes, which allows pollsters and political campaigns to make such calls.”

There you have it. Scammers have found a loophole (granted, there’s never really been anything that could stop them). As the presidential elections are heating up, there are a number of political campaign scams that you should be aware of:

Re-register Scam
You may not have voted last election, but that doesn’t mean your name has been taken off the list. Scammers are using this tactic to weasel their way into getting your personal information such as your address, email and even your social security number. Remember, never give out personal or financial information over the phone, especially if you have not confirmed who is calling you. To make sure that you are still a registered voter, it’s best that you contact your Board of Elections who will have voter registrations on file.

Campaign Fund Donations
When telemarketers and robocalls are constantly asking you for donations, your immediate reaction is to hang-up. Election season is no exception to this rule. When you receive an unexpected call asking you for money, you are naturally skeptical. Use this same caution when you receive a call claiming to be a political party representative or an election committee member. Even better, if the caller says they’re Hillary or Trump, this is a major red flag. However, some of these calls are legitimate. So, before you sign a check to show your support, it’s important to get the caller’s contact information and confirm the organization or campaign you are supporting so you can donate directly to a viable source.

Verifying voter registration
Just like the re-register scam, scammers are also tricking victims into giving out their personal information in order to verify their voter registration. Their claim is by verifying one’s registration, the voting process will be that much easier.

Election Survey Scam
Who doesn’t want to win a prize, right? Guaranteed, the cost of your personal information isn’t worth it. Scammers know enticing consumers with an incentive like free trips or gift cards is an easy way to make their next victim putty in their hands. While claiming to be conducting a survey on behalf of a political party, scammers will refer to a controversial headline in the news to show credibility. Then, they let you know you’ve won after you provide your credit card number to pay for shipping, taxes, or handling of the “prize.” Be aware that official polling companies will never offer prizes for participating in a survey. They will also never ask for personal or financial information.

Show support and vote by phone or text
Lastly, you may have received text messages similar to these:

Or you may have received calls asking you to vote by phone or text message. These are huge red flags! Despite how advanced technology has become over the years, we still cannot vote via a phone call or text message. If you receive a call requesting you to vote, hang up immediately. Votes can only be cast through mail or in person.

So, the next time you feel like you’re being targeted by the election scam, play it safe. Hang up the phone and do your research on how you can legitimately vote, donate or show support for either presidential candidate.

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