As I'm sure you know, the U.S. just held its presidential election. President-elect Donald Trump won the presidential election over Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton.
The presidency wasn't the only thing on the ballot. Congressional seats were up for grabs all across the country, as well as different propositions from state to state. With each election comes the potential for new leadership and opens up the door for scammers to take advantage of people's fears.
It doesn't matter which side you supported during the election. Scammers are looking for victims from both sides of the aisle to steal money from.
What we're talking about is when criminals set up a scam based on issues discussed during a political campaign. With that in mind, here are a few potential scams that you need to be aware of.
Potential post-election scams
During this presidential campaign, the issue of voter fraud was raised many times. The fear now is that scammers will use this issue to trick people into needlessly giving them their personal information through a fake voter registration drive.
How it would work is, the con artist would claim to be from your local election commission. They would tell you that you need to re-register to vote, or update your information. This could come in the form of an email, regular mail or by telephone.
The fraudster would ask for your personal information, including your Social Security number. This would allow them to steal your identity and cause all kinds of problems for the victim. The scammer might even be so bold as to ask for your credit card or banking information.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning people not to fall for this scam. The FTC says if there is a real voter registration drive, you will be given an official form that you need to return to your local agency.
After an election, political parties begin fundraising to prepare for the next election. They try bringing in donations to help promote their causes.
This is where the scams come into play. The con artists will pretend to be a representative of one of the political parties and ask you for money to support a cause that you are in favor of.
If you receive a call asking for political donations, or personal information do NOT give them anything. If you do want to donate to support a cause that you believe in, the best thing that you can do is seek out the organization that you want to donate to. This way you know it's the real thing and not some criminal stealing from you.
Fake petitions or surveys
One way to get an issue on an election ballot is to gather signatures for a petition. These are legitimate but you do need to be aware of potential scams.
When you sign a petition, be careful what information you give out. You will never have to give your Social Security number or even your date of birth on a legitimate petition. Also, make sure you read anything before you sign it.
You might also be asked to take a survey about the election process or a specific candidate. While these are safe to answer, never give any personal information that could lead to fraud.