Scam of the day – November 15, 2016 – Post election scams

Merely because the presidential election is over doesn’t mean that scammers are not using the election as a further opportunity to scam people out of their money.  Scammers are always exploiting whatever is foremost in the minds of people and with a close election exposing how deep the divide is between many Americans, scammers are utilizing new scams designed around the election.

Both President Elect Trump supporters as well as his detractors will legitimately be doing fund raising at this time for their respective causes while emotions are running high.  You can expect to be contacted by phone, text messages, social media and email about contributing to various organizations claiming to advance your cause, whatever it may be.  Many of these people contacting you will be scammers.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.

You also may be contacted by scammers posing as people either taking a political survey or petitioning about current issues, such as the electoral college.  The danger here is that the scammers lure people into trusting them and then ask for personal information, such as birth dates and Social Security numbers that can be used for purposes of identity theft.

TIPS

Whenever, you are contacted by phone, text message, email or through social media, you cannot be sure who is really contacting you so you should never give out personal information including credit card information to anyone contacting you in those ways unless you have independently verified that the contact is legitimate.

No legitimate pollster and no one asking you to sign a legitimate petition needs your Social Security number so never give it to anyone asking you to sign a petition.

Scam of the day – November 6, 2016 – Scam vote by text advertisement on Twitter

With the Presidential election just two days away, there are still a number of scams related to the election that primarily are focused on tricking you into providing personal information that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft or steal you money.  I described a number of them in the Scam of the day for  August 1, 2016.  However the scam about which I am writing today is an advertisement that was appearing on Twitter encouraging people to vote for Hillary Clinton by way of a text message.  This is a purely political scam motivated by anti-Hillary forces to suppress her vote by tricking people into thinking that they can vote by text message which is not allowed in any state.  Here is a copy of the ad as it appeared until it was withdrawn by Twitter.

TIPS

Regardless of which candidate you prefer, it is important to remember that you cannot vote by text message or email.   As the election gets closer in time, it is important also to not give into the temptation to click on links in emails or text messages that appear to provide you with startling new information about the election.  These communications will be sent around by scammers attempting to lure people into downloading malware by clicking on infected links.  Never click on any link in an email or a text message unless you have absolutely confirmed that it is legitimate. As for news you can trust about the candidates, you are better off using respected, legitimate news sources rather than being lured into downloading possible malware merely because the subject line may promise some incredible news that most likely is untrue from a source that you cannot verify.

Scam of the day – August 1, 2016 – Presidential election scams

With the Presidential election in full swing, scammers are busy taking advantage of this fact to scam people and make them victims of identity theft.  One common election scam involves a telephone call you receive purportedly from one of the political parties or one of the candidates’ campaign staff asking for a contribution.  Even if you are on the federal Do-Not-Call List, you can be legally called by politicians seeking campaign contributions so the calls may appear legitimate.  They may also show up on your Caller ID as coming from a political party or candidate’s campaign, but this does not mean that the call is legitimate.  Through a technique called “spoofing,” scammers are able to fool your Caller ID and make it appear that the call’s origin is legitimate when it is not.

Another common election time scam involves a call purportedly from your city or town clerk informing you that you need to re-register or you will be removed from the voting lists.  You are then told that you can re-register over the phone merely by providing some personal information, such as your Social Security number.  The truth is that you will not be called by your city or town clerk and told that you need to re-register and voter registration is not done by phone.

TIPS

In regard to the first scam, you can never be sure when you receive a phone call as to who is really on the other end of the line.  Never give personal information such as your credit card number to anyone who calls you on the phone unless you have absolutely verified that the call is legitimate.  In the case of a campaign contribution solicitation, if you are inclined to donate to a particular candidate or party, the best thing to do is to go directly to the candidate’s or party’s website to make your contribution.

Even though being on the Federal Do-Not-Call List does not prevent charities or political candidates from calling you, it can cut down on annoying telemarketing calls and let you know right away that anyone who calls you in violation of the Do-Not-Call List is not to be trusted.  If you want to get on the Do-Not-Call list, just click on this link.  https://www.donotcall.gov/