As America prepares to elect a new president on November 8, the Better Business Bureau is warning about criminals who want to steal your identity through election-related scams.
Election scams: What you need to know
CBS News has reported that computer security experts have seen a rise in phishing attacks related to the election. Victims are receiving emails with subject lines such as, “Trump Withdraws from Presidential Race” and “Hillary Clinton Indicted by FBI on Email Scandal,” according to the report. Both of those headlines are 100% false.
According to an analysis conducted over the summer by the security firm Proofpoint, Donald Trump appeared in nearly 169 times as many spam messages as Hillary Clinton. Some of the lures used fake news headlines with CNN or FOX News imagery to appear more credible. Other election-related emails have been text-based with embedded links to other materials.
While many of these emails are just annoying, some can be malicious and lead to websites that may ask for personal information like your Social Security number, passwords or credit card information. Don’t fall for it! Instead of clicking on email links from an unknown sender, go to an organization’s website by typing the URL in your browser or use a search engine.
If you get an unsolicted phone call, scammers can easily make the caller ID show the name of who they claim to be — so don’t give out any personal information over the phone, unless you call the number directly yourself.
Here are some other tips from the Better Business Bureau to avoid political scams:
- Donate directly to the campaign office: Donations made over the phone can be valid, but wary donors should give to a campaign either through the candidate’s official website or at a campaign office.
- Watch for spoofed calls: Your Caller ID may say that someone from Washington, D.C. is contacting you, but scammers can fake this using phone number spoofing technology.
- Polling companies don’t offer prizes: Hang up on any political pollster who claims that you can win a prize for participating in a survey.
- Polls won’t ask for personal or banking information: Political pollsters may ask for information about your vote or political affiliation, but they don’t need your Social Security number or credit card information.
Think you’ve received a scam phone call or email? Report it to the BBB’s Scam Tracker to help the agency investigate and warn other people about it.