Residents receive fraudulent texts claiming to be from Cobb elections department

An abstract image representing cyberthreats

Cobb County warned residents that fraudulent texts were being sent by someone claiming to be with Cobb County Elections, using a spoofed election department phone number. Cobb Information Technology Services (ITS) and others are investigating the incident, and the county has reported it to the state.

“Several people have contacted Cobb County’s Elections Department, saying they received text messages urging them to apply for an absentee ballot,” the announcement of the scam on the Cobb County website stated. “The text messages appear to be from a Cobb Elections phone number and point recipients to the Secretary of State’s absentee ballot request page.”

“While the link is legitimate, the text messages are NOT from Cobb Elections, and the phone number is a spoof,” the announcement continued.  “Cobb County Elections currently does not send out unsolicited voting information via text messages.”

While in this case, the fraudulent texts do not appear to be part of a money-making scam, scammers claiming to represent government agencies or corporations have become a common feature of social media and the internet.

Spoofing involves sending a phone message, text, or email that is set up to appear to be from a number or address other than the actual sender’s.

The Federal Communications Commission describes spoofing as follows:

Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Scammers often use neighbor spoofing so it appears that an incoming call is coming from a local number, or spoof a number from a company or a government agency that you may already know and trust. If you answer, they use scam scripts to try to steal your money or valuable personal information, which can be used in fraudulent activity.

The county provided this link from the Cobb County Police Department to explain spoofing and other types of internet fraud, and to show you how to take steps to avoid being victimized :

The FCC created the following video for more information: