BBB Alert: FTC Cautions Consumers about Voter Registration Scams

August 01, 2008
Have you received an unsolicited email or phone call from someone who claims to represent your local election board or another civic group and asks for your Social Security number or credit card number to confirm your eligibility or registration to vote?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, unsolicited messages from people who claim to need your Social Security number or other personal information as a pretext to register you to vote — or to confirm your registration — could be a scam designed to steal your personal information. The scammers may use the information to commit identity theft.

As a rule, federal officials say, organizations conducting legitimate voter registration drives either contact you in person or give you a voter registration form that you fill out yourself. They will not ask you to provide your financial information.

If you get an unsolicited phone call or email from someone who claims to need your Social Security number or other personal or financial information to register you to vote, report it to the FTC online at, or by phone at 1-877-FTC-HELP. If you already have shared your personal information with someone you don’t know, you may be the victim of a scam. File your complaint, then visit

To register to vote — and to find out whether your state requires your Social Security number for registration — contact your local election office, or check the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s National Voter Registration Form at Most states accept this form. Many states and localities have their own rules about how far in advance of an election you must register to be able to vote, and whether a Social Security number is required for registration.

For more information about The Better Business Bureau, please visit or call 1-800-763-4222 toll-free in GA and SC.