As citizens of a free, democratic society, it is both a privilege and a duty to cast our votes. Some of us take that privilege and duty more seriously than others, but mostly if we’ve registered, we’re serious about exercising our vote.
We come of age and register, move to new homes and change our registration location, move to new states and register again, whatever it takes to become and remain an engaged member of our free society. It’s your sense of duty and desire to be involved that a newer breed of scammers is counting on.
In August of 2008 the Federal Trade Commission published a bulletin for the public warning of a new scam meant to harvest sensitive personal information such as your social security number or a credit card number, the identity thief’s favorite avenues to your wealth and credit. It is being reported across the web that this FTC warning remains quite pertinent during this election cycle. Victims of this fraud either receive a phone call or email, purportedly from their election board or a civic group, offering to get them registered or intimating that the victim should verify their eligibility to vote and offering to complete the registration or verification of eligibility. All you have to do is provide your social security or credit card number. Alarm bells should go off immediately when anyone asks for a social security number on the phone or in an email. You should NEVER give out a credit card or social security numbers to anyone you have not initiated contact with.
The FTC advises the following:
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 never ask you to provide your financial information.
If you get an unsolicited phone call or e-mail 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 www.ftc.gov, 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 with the FTC, then visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
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 www.eac.gov/voter. Most states accept this form. Many states and localities have their own rules about how far before an election you must register to be able to vote, and whether a Social Security number is required.
Source(s): The Federal Trade Commission