September 28th, 2020 - Telecom, Identity and Protection
By Jim Tyrrell, Senior Director of Product Marketing, TNS
Election day is approaching fast and scammers are acting even faster. Common voting scams via phone calls are rising, but it is easy to protect yourself and loved ones if you stay informed. Here’s some insights into what to look out for as we get closer to November 3.
Nowhere in the United States can you register to vote over the phone, but scammers are preying on people who don’t know this information or are unaware of the election process. In a voter registration phishing attack, a scammer may claim you are not registered, but you can register with them over the phone. They could also suggest you are unable to vote because your registration is incomplete. They will use this tactic to gain your social security number or other identity information. To learn how to register to vote, please visit the usa.gov website.
A second tactic used by scammers is to impersonate or spoof legitimate political campaigns to gain your credit card information. Unfortunately, donating money to a phony campaign is typically an irreversible action. In many campaigns, audio of the candidate asking for donations is used for commercials and legitimate phone calls. Scammers will use these recordings making it difficult to identify the real campaign calls versus fake ones. Also be suspicious of links sent via email or social media to campaign fundraisers, as these could lead you to fake websites as well. If you wish to donate to a campaign, please go to their official website and follow the instructions there.
Surveys and Prizes
Political surveys are common to gauge voter sentiment and many are legitimate. You may be asked who you plan to vote for and demographic information. Don’t offer personal information such as your driver’s license number or social security number (SSN). Political surveys wouldn’t need that information about you to collect voting data. In addition, some scammers are offering prizes if you take their survey. These tactics usually includes giving up more personal information than is needed or a credit card number to pay for bogus shipping fees. Campaigns rarely give prizes or will ask for your credit card number after a survey.
How to Avoid Being Scammed
To avoid being scammed, follow these tips and inform your loved ones of these tips so they don’t fall for scammer’s deceiving tactics.
According to the FCC website, political campaign-related autodialed or prerecorded voice calls are allowed when made to landline telephones, even without prior express consent. However, autodialed live calls or text messages and prerecorded voice messages are not allowed to cell phones, pagers, or other mobile devices without the called party’s prior express consent. If you feel you’ve received an illegal robocall or robotext, you can file a complaint with the FCC.
In addition, consumers can protect themselves by leveraging telecom provider robocall detection solutions powered by TNS Call Guardian. In these trying times, vigilance is even more important than before; be smart and stay safe.
Jim Tyrrell is Senior Director of Product Marketing at TNS with specific responsibility for TNS’ Wholesale Telecoms solutions. His focus is to drive the advancement of TNS’ go-to-market initiatives, refine the communication of its value proposition, generate thought leadership opportunities and ensure all activities support the company vision.