Be aware that fraudsters may use election-themed scams to steal personal and financial information. Before you share sensitive details, consider if the source is trustworthy. Remember that you cannot register to vote via phone or text, and that pollsters don’t need your Social Security number, driver's license number, or financial account information. If you are planning to contribute to a political organization or candidate, the safest bet is to donate directly via the campaign website or in-person at the local office.
During election season, you may notice an uptick in requests to sign petitions, fill out polls and surveys, and donate to causes and campaigns. Participating in the democratic process shouldn’t compromise your identity, but unfortunately, fraudsters have been known to use election-themed scams to steal personal and financial details.
Here at Allstate Identity Protection, it’s our goal to protect you while you’re making your voice heard. This fall and beyond, try these tips for maintaining your civic duty without getting snagged in a scam.
Be careful with personally identifiable information (PII)
Have you ever signed a local candidate’s nominating petition at the farmer’s market? What about participating in a voter registration drive in the parking lot of a music festival? Or answering a quick email survey from a favorite candidate?
Unfortunately, these everyday actions pose risks.
That petition may ask for personal details, such as your name and address — and the person with the clipboard may or may not be who they say they are. If you leave a voter registration form in the care of a canvasser, the sensitive information may not be stored securely. And an email that looks a lot like a legitimate missive from a candidate could actually be a phishing scam.
With a little caution, you can be patriotic and still protect your privacy. Just consider the following practices, which are all aimed at protecting your personally identifiable information (PII):
If you decide to fill out a voter petition or survey, be choosy about what you share. Don’t be afraid to ask if certain fields are required, and don’t give out your Social Security number or driver’s license number.
If you register to vote in a public place, opt to hand-deliver or mail in the required form rather than leaving it behind with a table of volunteers.
Remember that it’s only possible to vote at the ballot box or via an official absentee ballot. Ignore solicitations that claim you can register to vote by phone, text, or email in exchange for sharing your personal information.
Follow your gut. If an email or petition seems to be probing for too much information, opt not to share.
Watch out for fundraising and polling scams
Unfortunately, some scammers see elections as an opportunity to take advantage of people who may want to voice their opinion in political polls or offer financial support to candidates or causes. These fraudsters may call or email you, posing as a pollster or pretending to raise funds on behalf of a specific group or candidate. Some things to consider to help you protect yourself from these types of scams:
Take your time — be wary of any caller or message demanding immediate action.
Before donating, always research fundraising organizations you may be considering supporting.
Consider donating directly on the organization's or candidate's website or via their local campaign office.Be on the lookout for spoofed calls — your Caller ID may say the call is from a campaign or organization's office, but this can be faked.
Ignore any calls or social posts that offer a prize for participating in a poll. Pollsters don't typically offer prizes for answering a survey.
Never give out your financial information, such as credit card numbers or bank account details, when participating in a poll or survey. Pollsters may ask for demographic or political affiliation information, but they should never need your Social Security number or financial information.
Before clicking a link in an election-themed email or social post, give it a once-over for phishing hallmarks such as blurry images and typos. Hover your mouse over any links before clicking through.
Allstate Identity Protection has your back during election season — and beyond
Even with the utmost care, you may find yourself sharing more personal information than usual during election season.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to better protect yourself today. If you’re a member, log in to the portal to complete your profile and activate monitoring features. From there, we’ll alert you if we see signs of identity theft.
If fraud does happen to you, our in-house Identity Specialists are ready to step in and jump-start the restoration process, saving you time, money, and stress.
Here at Allstate Identity Protection, it’s our goal to protect you round-the-clock — before, during, and after you visit the ballot box.