How to Avoid Election Day Scams
2 November 2015
Heading into voting season, you likely have candidates, propositions and ballot measures on your mind. As you make sure you are properly registered to cast your vote come Election Day, however, remember to stay sharp and keep an eye out for voting registration scams.
In past election years, scammers have made numerous attempts under multiple guises to steal voters’ identities or conduct voting fraud. To help protect your identity this voting season, here are a few voting scams to stay on the look out for as you prepare to cast your ballot.
In the weeks before every election, fraudsters take to the phones. Posing as local election board or civic group members, they will attempt to “confirm your registration” to vote, or even offer to register you right there on the phone. This is merely a ruse to collect some of your personal data, including your Social Insurance Number and even credit card numbers as you pay a registration fee over the phone. In Canada, you cannot register to vote over the phone. While you can request a voter registration form over the phone, you need to deliver it in person or via the mail to your local Elections Canada office. You will never be required to give your personal financial information over the phone.
In another type of voting fraud, scammers solicit signatures that appear to be for a petition, but are actually used to request mail-in ballots. Each person whose signature is collected this way essentially signs away their right to vote, not realizing it until voting day. Remember to carefully review any document you put your signature on. If the party that requests your signature refuses to allow you to review the document, something is probably amiss. Even if you attend what appears to be a registration drive in a public area, you should always ask volunteers requesting personal information to provide proof and an ID for the organization with which they are working.
While years ago, these types of scams would be limited to phone and in-person tactics, today’s voters need also be vigilant for phishing attacks posing as voter registration emails. These emails may appear to come from a legitimate government agency, claiming that the recipient must click on a link to register to vote or resolve a voter registration issue. However, these links may actually redirect to websites that install viruses and malware. To be safe, call your local Election Canada office first to see if the email is legitimate. Or, simply navigate to Election Canada’s online voting page manually, avoiding the unknown link.
Having your information stolen in any of the scams described above can put you at serious risk of identity theft and credit fraud. To keep track of activities on your credit file and stay alert to changes, consider subscribing to a credit monitoring service.