With the important mid-term elections just a couple of weeks away, 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.  Thee calls may actually appear 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.
Political polls have been a major part of our election process for many years.  Generally, people are contacted by telephone to answer questions about the candidates and their policies. Because it is so common at this time of year to be called by a political pollster, scammers call posing as pollsters in an effort to trick their victims into providing information that can be used for purposes of identity theft.  Often they will dangle the reward of a gift card or other prize to lure people into participating in the scam poll.  Again spoofing can be used to make the call appear legitimate.
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/
Legitimate pollsters do not offer prizes or other compensation for participating in their polls.  They also will never ask for personal information such as your Social Security number, credit card number or banking information.  Anyone posing as a pollster asking for such information is a scammer and you should hang up immediately.
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