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Voters being targeted by criminals in election related fraud

voting machine

CROMWELL – Connecticut Better Business is warning about election-related fraud that is being reported across the country.  Politics and passion often go together, and criminals know that when passion is involved – we tend to let down our guard.

The run-up to Election Day offers fertile ground to con artists, who use email and telephone calls to obtain victims’ personal and financial information.

With the approach of the elections, we can expect calls from polling firms, charities and political parties, however, the situation is complicated by exemptions to the Do Not Call Registry rules.  Charities, politicians and pollsters are exempt from the Registry, allowing criminals to pose as callers from those three categories.   Telephone caller ID can be faked, so it is difficult if not impossible to discern with any degree of certainty exactly who is on the other end of the telephone asking for money or information that can be used to commit identity theft.

Here are some of the methods criminals use to engage their victims:

Phony fundraising – Crooks sometimes make random calls claiming to represent a political party, an election committee member or an actual candidate.  They will ask you to make a donation.  Contact the political party directly or through their website if you want to offer financial support.

Fake public pollsters – They will contact you claiming they are doing a political survey.  The first few questions sound legitimate, but shortly after, they tell you that you are eligible to win a prize for your participation.  Polls do not work that way.   The criminals are not interested in your opinion.  They want you to give them your credit card number for shipping, handling or taxes on the prize.

Offers to “Re-register” you as a voter – Impostor callers will tell you they represent a political commission and that you have to re-register to vote if you did not in the last election.  In this case, they are looking for personal information.

Vote-by-telephone opportunities –There is no such thing as voting by telephone.  You may also receive this solicitation by email too.  It is fraud, so hang up the phone or delete the email.  Once again, what they are really going after is personal information.

If you are the victim of a pre-election scam attempt, you can report it to the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) by telephone at 860-256-2940, by email at seec@ct.gov or on the SEEC website, at www.ct.gov/seec.

For more information on the 2016 election, click here.