© 2023 KRCU Public Radio
90.9 Cape Girardeau | 88.9-HD Ste. Genevieve | 88.7 Poplar Bluff
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Every week, join Whitney Quick as she helps you navigate life as a smart consumer. You'll cover everything in avoiding the latest scams, including phishing emails, medical equipment fraud, understanding layaway, hiring a reputable tax preparer, and even digital spring cleaning. Add to your toolbox and flip through your Consumer Handbook Thursdays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., only on KRCU.

Consumer Handbook: Political Scams Expected to Increase as Midterm Elections Near

An election's approach always seems to turn up the emotional heat across the nation, but the United States 2022 midterm elections are no exception. The voices arguing for and against hot button issues are loud and persistent. And when emotions run high, bad actors look for ways to use peoples' passion to trick them.

It can seem like once a candidate or political party gets your email address, you hear from them every time you check your inbox. They need your help; they want to know your point of view through a poll or survey. They urge you to support their efforts and impact the future by donating, participating or sharing information.

Candidates are persistent because people want to get involved, to be in the know and to be a part of the process, so campaign email helps them move toward their goals. Scammers mimic campaign emails not to get your vote but to compromise your online safety. You might receive a poll, survey or donation request that appeals to your passion, beliefs and desire to take action - that's really an attempt to steal your personal information. What looks like a legitimate donation request might actually be an attempt to gain access to your bank account.

Before you donate or give personal information, research the organization that reached out, and be wary of people who try to rush you to make a decision. Be especially careful of emails with links. Phishing emails might include a link that takes users to a spoofed version of a candidate's website or installs malware on your device.

Actual campaign supporters call people to conduct surveys or solicit donations. Scammers often do the same thing. Criminals pretending to be affiliated with your party or candidate might try to scam you over the phone by asking you to: Answer survey questions – then ask for your personal information like your social security number or birthdate.

Cape Girardeau native Whitney Quick is the Regional Director of Better Business Bureau in Cape Girardeau, MO, and is responsible for outreach efforts in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. Quick is a graduate of Cape Girardeau Central High School and Southeast Missouri University where she majored in public relations. Quick enjoys helping educate consumers in the southeast Missouri region by sharing consumer tips with groups and educating them about BBB’s resources.