Harrisburg, PA – Election Day is on Tuesday… and scam artists are getting creative and using the election as a way of cheating you out of money and personal information. Attorney General Josh Shapiro warns that these scam artists could impersonate pollsters, campaign volunteers, political organizations and even candidates.
“Scam artists in Pennsylvania are always trying new ploys to cheat people out of their money,” Shapiro said.
“That includes tricking donors into believing they are supporting their preferred political candidate – when in reality it’s a fraud or scam. My team of consumer watchdogs is getting the word out to Pennsylvanians to follow our tips and avoid getting scammed.”
Shapiro said some of the reported scam calls involve:
- Donating Money. Political campaigns often call their supporters to ask for donations. Technology available on the Internet makes it possible for scammers to impersonate a political campaign phone number through a tactic known as “spoofing.”
- Election Surveys. The caller may claim to be conducting an election survey and asks for minute of your time. After the survey is complete, the caller offers you a gift card or some other incentive, but wants your personal information, such as a credit card, date of birth or social security number to send you the gift.
- Registering to Vote. The caller tries to convince the victim that they are not registered to vote and offers to register them over the phone. Voter registration is not something that can be done over the phone
- Voting. The caller claims to be from a government entity and offers an absentee ballot for people who cannot or do not want to get to the polls on Election Day. The deadline to request an absentee ballot has already passed. If you have an absentee ballot, it needs to be postmarked by Friday, Nov. 2.
Shapiro offered the following tips to help consumers avoid election scams:
- Don’t donate on the phone. Donations can be made over the phone, but be wary of callers asking for donations. Ask the caller for other donation options and don’t let them pressure you.
- Don’t rely on Caller ID. Scammers can “spoof” the phone number of legitimate business to make it appear as though the call is genuine.
- Never give out personal information. Don’t provide personal or credit card information to anyone calling you, especially someone claiming you can win a prize. Candidates rarely use prizes as an incentive.
- Voter registration can’t be done by phone. Voter registration and voting in any Election cannot occur over the phone. To inquire about registration, the status of your registration or questions about voting, you can contact the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Commissions and Elections office at 717-787-5280.
To report an election scam, please contact the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 800-441-2555 or file a complaint online: www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint/.