Election Day is less than a month away, and the last day to register to vote in California is October 24.
While politicians are seeking your support, scammers are busy trying to steal your money and identity by pretending to contact you about an election-related issue.
Watch out for these common election scams before casting their ballot on Nov. 8:
- Campaign fund collections. Be cautious when answering a call that claims to be from a political party representative, election committee or even the candidate themselves. While political groups are exempt from abiding by the National Do Not Call registry, scammers can easily spoof Caller ID and appear like they are calling from a legitimate organization. They may call asking for your vote, a donation in support of the candidate or detailed personal information in an attempt to steal your identity. To avoid this scam, get the caller's contact information and do your own research on the candidates. If you decide to support a candidate, look online and find your preferred candidate's campaign number and call directly to ensure you're reaching the right office.
- Voter registration scam. With this scam, people receive a phone call that claims you need to re-register to vote. They will make claims that you have been taken off of the voter list. The caller is seeking personal information, including address, email, and in more serious cases, bank account information and Social Security numbers. Never give out personal information to a suspicious caller. If you are concerned about your voter registration status, contact the Texas Secretary of State. If you believe you have received a call like this, report it to your county clerk.
- Election survey scam. Another popular telemarketing scam that occurs during election season are survey calls. The caller will explain that a survey is being conducted on behalf of a political party, and if you answer all of their questions, you become eligible to win a prize (often cruise tickets or gift cards). The topic of the survey usually refers to a controversial headline in the news, making it seem legitimate. While the survey questions themselves are commonly vague, the scam occurs when you are asked to provide personal financial information to pay for taxes or the shipping and handling of the "prize" you've won. Remember, never give out personal or financial information over the phone, especially to someone you don't know. Be suspicious of callers promising prizes, cash or other items if you first pay a "fee."
- Vote by phone scam. Never respond to a phone call, email or text message asking you to vote by phone. This is not possible. You can only cast your vote either by absentee ballot or at an official polling station. Don't respond to these messages-instead, hang up the phone and report it to your county clerk.