An email message is circulating in which the Ministry of the Interior is supposedly requesting a verification of data in view of the general elections on 23-J. The text is followed by a button that redirects to another page.
“Dear Rocio. As you well know, on July 23, the general elections of the Government of Spain. Their participation is of unquestionable importance, since the establishment of a government depends on it.” [sic]is indicated at the beginning of the message.
Immediately afterwards, the text emphasizes the importance of citizen participation in 23-J to contribute “to progress and general well-being”. Just before the button with the link, the supposed Interior message specifies that a data check can be made there, “as well as verifying if you have been called to a polling station”.
However, it is an attempt to phishing. The Ministry of the Interior has alerted in its account Twitter that it is an identity theft and has declared to Newtral.es that the “procedure that allows citizens to know that they have been selected to form part of a polling station” is not even the responsibility of the ministry.
The conformation of the tables through a public lottery is, in truth, a competition of the town halls of each zone and the census is prepared by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). In addition, there are different signs that show that it is a false message, such as the sender’s email or spelling mistakes.
The Ministry of the Interior is not responsible for the formation of the polling stations and does not request a verification of data for 23-J
“The Ministry of the Interior has not made any communication in this regard,” the ministry’s press office told Newtral.es. “This is a criminal campaign that is trying to supplant the image of the Ministry of the Interior, and the State Security Forces and Bodies have already been reported,” he adds.
In their tweet they specify that they are not communicating if they are part of a polling station, since this procedure is carried out by certified mail. “The ministry has not enabled a system that allows citizens to know that they have been selected to form part of a polling station (a procedure that, in fact, is not the responsibility of the Ministry)”, he assures Newtral.es.
Likewise, there are indications that the message that requires a data verification may be an identity theft. First of all, the sender’s email is “[email protected]”, while official government email addresses usually end in “gob.es”. In the case of the Ministry of the Interior, their addresses end in “interior.es”, but, for example, that of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations ends in “inclusion.gob.es”.
Secondly, there may be misspellings or grammatical errors. For example, the beginning of the email is “Dear Rocío” and “July” appears with a capital letter despite the fact that the months are not considered proper names and are written in lower case, according to the RAE. On the other hand, there is a number discrepancy in the first sentence: “The general elections are held.” The National Institute of Cybersecurity (INCIBE) specifies in its Guide to detect online fraud spelling mistakes are one of the first clues to detect a phishing.
In addition, the body in charge of compiling the census is the Electoral Census Office, body framed within the INE. For their part, the public draws to form the polling stations are the responsibility of the town halls of each zone, not of the Ministry of the Interior.
How membership of a polling station is notified
The way to know then if you are part of a polling station is by receiving a notification in person, not by checking your data by email from the Interior. He Article 27.2 of the Electoral Regime Law specifies that those chosen as a table must be notified no later than three days after the draw. The way to communicate it is not specified in this regulation, but generally there is no list where it can be consulted, but it is usually notified by the Post Office or by the Police.
In the absence of the legal specification, the Article 42.2 of the Common Administrative Procedure Law, in which it is explained that two notification attempts must be made at different times and that anyone over the age of 14 “who can state their identity” can collect the document. If it is still not collected, a postal notice is left indicating which office the citizen must go to to collect the notification.
The draw is carried out between the twenty-fifth and twenty-ninth days after the call for elections, as specified in the article 26.4 of the electoral law, that is, it was carried out between June 24 and 28. Therefore, if no notification has been received by July 3, you are not part of any polling station in these elections on 23-J and you do not need to check your data online or by email.
However, as a novelty for 23-J, some city councils have made an online consultation available to their inhabitants in addition to the traditional notification. Some of them are the Avila, Valladolid, Pamplona, segovia, Saint Sebastian, Cordova either logrono. In most registries it is only necessary to enter the DNI and the date of birth.
What is ‘phishing’ and how to detect it
INCIBE defines the phishing as a “technique that consists of sending an email pretending to be a legitimate entity with the aim of stealing private information, making a financial charge or infecting the device.”
In addition to spelling mistakes and the sender, INCIBE points to other aspects to take into account to identify a malicious email. When the beginning of the email is generic, such as “Dear customer”, as is the case with the message from the Interior about a verification of data for 23-J, it is suspicious since most organizations usually address the recipient with their name. It is also important to look at whether more emails have been received from that company or official body, and if so, check the format of the email and the way to address the customer to make a comparison.
Likewise, messages that require compromised personal information such as verification of bank details or include invoices unknown to the recipient are also suspected of being false. Above all, INCIBE advises not to click on the links that appear in the texts or download any document.
This article is part of the content disseminated by checked.isan alliance of fact-checkers and media to fight misinformation about the July 23 general elections.