Cyber criminals using election to get personal information: FBI

Scammers are trying to exploit the high level of interest in the U.S. presidential election

Scammers are trying to exploit the high level of interest in the U.S. presidential election as a way to steal personal information.

Swindlers are posing as fundraisers, pollsters and candidates and even launching fake voter registration drives to trick citizens into providing personal information and bank account details, the Associated Press reported.

The FBI, the Better Business Bureau and cybersecurity experts are warning about increasingly sophisticated online fraud schemes centered around the election that take advantage of high interest and the desire to get involved.

From natural disasters to the pandemic, it’s common for online grifters to tailor scams to take advantage of current events. Complaints to the FBI cybercrime reporting site quadrupled to up to 4,000 a day since the coronavirus pandemic started, for example.

The final weeks of the election are providing a ripe opportunity for cybercriminals, who often take advantage of the same tools use by foreign adversaries like Russia, China and Iran: fake social media accounts, realistic looking websites and suspicious links.

The FBI warned Americans to watch out for election-related “spoofing,” when a scammer creates a campaign website or email address almost identical to a real one. A small misspelling or a slight change — using .com instead of .gov, for instance — are tell-tale signs of fraud. Also be wary of pushy pollsters or fundraisers, and emails or websites that use emotionally loaded language to make you angry or fearful.

Before donating to any group that reaches out by email or text, voters should check its website or look to see if they’re registered as a charity or campaign. One key: if the organization doesn’t have an address or phone number, it may be a scam.

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