Voter registration scams

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Have you received an unsolicited email or phone call from someone who claims to represent your local election board or another civic group and asks for your Social Security number or credit card number to confirm your eligibility or registration to vote?

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, scammers may send messages asking for your Social Security number or financial information to register you to vote – or confirm your registration – when they really want to commit identity theft.

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 email 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, or by phone at 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, then go to the FTC Identity Theft site.

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. Most states accept this form. Many states and localities have their own rules about how far in advance of an election you must register to be able to vote, and whether a Social Security number is required for registration.

Register to vote at Consumer Action's [email protected] Center.





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