BBB Warns of Voter Registration Fraud

  
     
October 05, 2008

The presidential election is nearly upon us and with interest in the race peaking, both political parties will be pushing for maximum voter registration in the coming weeks. While many Americans are showing their civic pride and engaging in the political process, scammers and ID thieves see an opportunity to ply their trade. Your Better Business Bureau is warning Americans to be extremely cautious with their personal information this election season to avoid phony voter registration drives that are designed to steal their identities.

ID theft under the guise of voter registration can be perpetrated through e-mail, on the phone, and even in person. And younger voters and first-time registrants need to be especially wary. According to the 2008 Identity Fraud Survey Report by Javelin Strategy and Research, those in the 18-24 and 25-34 year-old age demographics have the highest incident rates for ID theft in America. All voters, though, need to be aware of the following ways ID thieves might try to get at their personal information this election season.

E-mail
Phishing e-mails are spam that attempt to coerce sensitive information from the recipient. When it comes to voter registration scams, recipients may get phishing e-mails that appear to be from a government agency and claim that the recipient must click on a link in the message to register to vote or resolve a registration issue. These links will actually redirect recipients to Web sites that install viruses or malware on their computers or ask for personal information such as Social Security or bank account numbers.

On the Phone
Similar to phishing e-mails, a voter might receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to work for a government agency or one of the presidential campaign offices. The caller may claim that there is a problem with the voter’s registration and they need to confirm their identity by providing personal information such as Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers. Voters need to know that state government officials do not contact voters by phone if there is an issue with their registration, nor do they need bank account or credit card numbers to confirm a voter’s identity.

In-Person
Local voter registration drives often rely on individuals who set up in common public areas or go door-to-door to register voters. Would-be voters should always ask individuals for proof of which organization the volunteer is with before providing any information. While some states require Social Security numbers to vote, states never require bank account or credit card information to confirm the voter’s identity.

For additional advice and information you can trust, visit BBB on the Web at: www.bbb.org. Receive information on local companies by calling the BBB’s Smart Call 981-3497 24 hours a day; up to date information on local and business scams, identity theft, general consumer tips and alerts or contact our website at www.acadiana.bbb.org for information on local or national companies and not for profit companies.