It's getting to the point now where a different week brings us a different scam to be on the lookout for.

In South Dakota, the latest red flag was raised by Secretary of State Monae Johnson who issued a warning about a telephone scam involving fake groups claiming to represent her office using random numbers with a 605-area code to urge voters to challenge the validity of Abortion Rights ballot measure petitions.

The petitions are being circulated by the group Dakotans for Health, who claim to have gathered more than 55,000 signatures in an attempt to get the issue on the ballot in South Dakota's November general election.

The Secretary of State’s office alerted law enforcement about these groups, which they identify as the South Dakota Integrity Committee or the Petition Integrity Commission.

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The warning has prompted an official response from Attorney General Marty Jackley.

Jackley says the State Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) has found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing including by volunteers calling signatories of the Abortion Rights ballot petitions.

The investigation found that the calls do not violate existing South Dakota law, which currently has no language prohibiting someone from impersonating an elected official as long as no personal injury resulted from the impersonation.

The South Dakota Right to Abortion Initiative seeks to establish the following timeline in South Dakota:

  • During the first trimester of pregnancy, the state would be prohibited from regulating a woman's decision to have an abortion.
  • During the second trimester of pregnancy, the state may regulate abortion, but 'only in ways that are reasonably related to the physical health of the pregnant woman.'
  • During the third trimester of pregnancy, the state may regulate or prohibit abortion, except 'when abortion is necessary, in the medical judgment of the woman's physician, to preserve the life and health of the pregnant woman.'

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