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Scareware alert: Watch out for fake voting site scam

The midterm election is at a fever pitch. The Nov. 6 election is a referendum on the Trump Administration, no matter which political side you’re on.

Your family’s future is in the hands of politicians, so, naturally, you’re following every detail on the news and on political talk shows. You’re flipping between 24-hour cable news networks that are practically screaming your worst fears – crime will soar, the economy will sink and your taxes will skyrocket.

Politicians get your attention with fear tactics, and so do political ads. Now, it turns out that hackers are also using a scare tactic this election cycle.

It’s a scareware scam that’s tapping into the popularity of election site, Note that that is .org, not .com.

The .org site helps voters find information such as polling locations. You can register to vote on the site and you can get detailed information about issues you’ll be voting on with its Voter Guide.

Here’s the problem. Scammers are using the popularity of the site, which recently saw a 2,000% increase in page visits, by creating a Vote411 site that ends in .com.

Scammers are stealing your money

The scammers are using scare tactics to get your money. When you go to the fake site, they scare you with an alert that your smartphone, tablet or laptop is infected with a virus.

Worse, they’ll tell you that you must pay them to have it eliminated. It’s a common scam that uses scare tactics to get you to pay the hackers.

John Oliver got the scam started

Do you watch HBO’s talk show, “Last Week Tonight” with comedian John Oliver? It’s a political talk show where Oliver spouts his political viewpoint.

He recently encouraged people to visit the Vote411 site to get voting information. The problem followed a few days later when hackers created the scareware version of the site, which was discovered by malware expert Amanda Rousseau.

Here’s what you need to do

The good news is that the .com scam site has been taken down. The site now has an alert that reads, “Threat found. This web page contains dangerous content. Threat: JS/Redirector.NDS trojan. Access to it has been blocked. Your computer is safe.”

But it’s a good idea to alert your family and friends to the scam. Let them know that they need to visit the original .org version.

Bonus: Consumer Tech Update podcast

Wonder how your friends have voted in the past? Find out about an app that lets you see the voting record of every contact in your phone. Tap or click below to listen to an episode of Consumer Tech Update.

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