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Political text messages are the newest battleground. Are they legit?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A little more than six weeks away from election day, most Floridians would say they are being bombarded with political advertisements on TV, on the radio, on websites and on social media. The latest platform to try to get your attention? Text messages.

One sends you to a candidate’s web page. Another offers information about mail-in ballots. A third asks if your voter registration is up to date.

Viewers tell News4Jax they are not only annoying, they are clogging up their phone. One person was getting 10-12 every day.

I’ve also received political text messages. Some seem to be legitimate, but text messages asking for a campaign donation or offering to help you with your mail-in ballot could be scams.

“I actually got a text message from a third-party group saying someone in my household was not registered to vote," said Chris Anderson, supervisor of elections for Central Florida’s Seminole County.

Anderson and his family definitely are registered.

“Do your research. Know what you’re actually getting yourself involved in," Anderson said.

Some text messages appearing to be sent by a political action committee provide links to websites.

One directs you to an official supervisor of elections site. That might leave you to believe that state election officials might have approved it.

“And that’s just not the case," Anderson said.

That doesn’t mean they’re not legitimate -- but they’re not from government officials.

Others are more dubious. Some could be scams, designed to steal your personal information or money.

“It definitely is a scam because they asked me for my credit card information, in order to register me to vote, and that is free," Pendarvis said.

That’s why election officials are urging voters to do their research before responding to a political text message or clicking on a link.

So based on elections officials and some real-life cases, when it comes to political text messages, the News4Jax Trust Index team is warning you to be careful. And if you are wondering where both legitimate organizations and scammers get your phone number, it could be listed as public record, you may have put it on your voter registration permit, given it away during a survey or it could be on a telemarketer’s list.

Be Careful

After reviewing this topic, we've found some issues - Be Careful.

What is the Trust Index?

Reminder, if you do need to register to vote, change your party affiliation or address, a deadline is approaching.

In both Florida and Georgia, you cannot register or change your status after Oct. 5.


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