EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The FBI is urging people to beware of disinformation designed to undermine the 2020 elections.
“On a national level, the FBI has not seen any coordinated efforts to manipulate the elections,” Britton Boyd, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI El Paso Division told KTSM 9 News.
“These are crimes that happen more on a local basis,” Boyd said. “Here in the El Paso region, it’s been very uncommon for any allegations that have been substantiated that would affect an election.”
Following the imbroglio that was the first Presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the FBI’s El Paso Division says the risk for election crimes continues to be low despite the President’s claims to the contrary.
“While it’s a possibility, we have not seen large-scale fraud by mail in past elections,” said Boyd.
“If there is any of that, it would be very localized, but historically, those types of complaints that have been made to the FBI El Paso field office have all been unsubstantiated. At this time, we have no reason to believe that would increase.”
The FBI is working to combat the spread of misinformation — like the suggestion of mail-in voter fraud — and recently released a PSA to warn voters of cybercriminals seeking to manipulate the elections.
Britton said the FBI hopes voters will critically evaluate the sources of their information, and be diligent about seeking (and sharing) accurate and reliable information.
To avoid falling victim to foreign actors and cyber criminals spreading disinformation about the elections, the FBI suggests the following:
- Seek out information from trustworthy sources, such as state and local election officials.
- Verify who produced the content and consider their intent.
- Verify through multiple reliable sources any reports about problems in voting or election results, and consider searching for other reliable sources before sharing such information via social media or other avenues.
- For information about final election results, rely on state and local government election officials.
- Report potential election crimes — such as disinformation about the manner, time or place of voting — to the FBI.
- If appropriate, make use of in-platform tools offered by social media companies for reporting suspicious posts that appear to be spreading false or inconsistent information about election-related problems or results.