Utah election leaders warn of fake text, election phishing scams

Oct 27, 2023, 2:46 PM

Image of a list of text messages on a cell phone. Utah election leaders said that a fake text, shar...

Image of a list of text messages on a cell phone. Utah election leaders said that a fake text, shared by Utah's Lt. Governor, should have Utahns looking out for future elections-related scams. (Shutterstock)


SALT LAKE CITY — Utah election leaders said that a fake text shared by Utah’s Lt. Governor should have Utahns looking out for future elections-related scams.

“While we haven’t seen a lot of these that are election-related, I think with the Presidential election coming into that cycle we are going to see an uptick,” said Utah’s Director of Elections, Ryan Cowley.

“And so it’s just an important reminder of what you’re getting and be aware of it.” 

Here’s what the fake text looked like

The text read, “Your GOP voter profile is incomplete … please finish your GOP profile RIGHT NOW and make a 550% difference HERE,” followed by a link that was blacked out.

Henderson responded on X, formerly Twitter, with her own post reading “REMINDER: Do not click links on text messages from unknown senders! Bad people are getting more sophisticated. Don’t become a victim of a phishing scam.”

Cowley said there were some key signs that this text was fake. It created a sense of urgency by telling the reader to do something right now. It included a link with weird characters. And it came from an unknown sender.

“When these types of texts or emails are asking for personal information … that’s always a red flag,” he said. We’ve got our website [Vote.Utah.Gov] that you can go to, we’re never going to be sending out things like that.” 

Protect yourself from phishing scams

The state does use a system that allows voters to opt in and receive texts, it’s called BallotTrax. Cowley said the key difference is the content of the text or email.

“Is it informing you, is it pointing you to a trusted source? Or is it trying to get you to take some action and enter in some personal information right there in the text or email,” Cowley said.

Other tips to protect yourself from phishing scams, Cowley said, are to avoid clicking directly on a link. He also recommends that you make sure to have anti-virus software on your browser. Finally, he said that Utahns can always contact their county clerks if they’re unsure.

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Utah election leaders warn of fake text, election phishing scams