Authorities in several regions across the U.S. are warning the public about Election Day-related scams. Over the past several weeks different types of scams have emerged that appear to take aim at identity theft or voter fraud.
Election year 2012 is a passionate one as the race for the presidential election has run close for most of the season, which sets the conditions that scammers prefer. When emotions run high, people may miss the clues that scream "SCAM".
According to KCRG, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is currently warning voters to beware of scammers pretending to be lobbyists or campaign volunteers. Unfortunately, many of these individuals are simply looking to commit identity or financial theft by taking approaches such as offering surveys or asking for donations.
Last month in Texas it was learned that as officials sought to eliminate the names of deceased individuals from voter lists, scammers are reportedly using this to their advantage. Identity thieves are calling voters to tell them they need to provide proof they are not dead and ask for identification, such as a state drivers' license or passport.
In Florida, it is being reported some residents are receiving letters that question their citizenship eligibility to vote. It was reported yesterday five Collier County residents received letters asking them to submit proof of citizenship eligibility, which included requests for Social Security numbers and driver's license information.
BBB warns that scammers may increase their efforts as Election Day draws near with an uptick in legitimate campaign efforts. However, also warns it might be hard to tell the difference.
The agency's Community Relations Director, Barbara Green, advises it is not a good idea to offer credit card or other personal information in response to requests and suggests visiting official websites instead.
"You go to their site and you make a donation on their secure site. You're giving out quite a bit of personal information. You[r] home address and credit card and they can take advantage of that very quickly,” said Green.
Identity theft is not the only scam going on. In Virginia, the state's Board of Elections recently warned [PDF] that many people, primarily seniors, have been receiving phone calls telling them they can vote by phone. Indiana has seen a similar scam. It is believed these scams are designed to reduce participation at the polls if people think they've already voted via telephone. Telephone voting is not a form of absentee voting.
Earlier this year the BBB warned the public about a widely circulated scheme that President Obama was going to offer utility bill credits to help offset payments; this was also designed to scam victims into giving up personal information, asking them to "register" for the fake government sponsored program with their Social Security number and bank account information.