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Authentic Links & Redirects

Always carefully examine all parts of an email message to determine if it is legitimate because the From: email address can be spoofed. Also, be sure to hover over a link before clicking it to verify the website address. 

Like many government entities and businesses, Salt Lake County has a need to communicate with the users who come to our facilities and events, and who use our many citizen services. But how can the average person tell our communications from spoofed or spam links whether on email or text?

How can I tell if a link is real, and not a spammer or malware attacker?

Salt Lake County uses several URLs to transmit information throughout our networks and communications. Some county facilities will also use their own mailing, forwarding and communications systems which are not covered here  -such as our libraries and arts programs.

The best practice as a user is to try to be aware of the source of the link you are clicking, and ask yourself if you were expecting the communication. 

Here is one article regarding links and email safety practices - CNET - How to secure your email

The majority of online communications from Salt Lake County will  use one of these URLs. 

  • slco.org - This is our "main" URL where the majority of our websites are accessed through. URLs starting with slco.org are used for all of our elected officials and main departments such as the Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer, and Parks & Recreation just to name a few.

    Most official email addresses within the county will be written as username@slco.org

    However, as noted above, the "From:" line can be easily spoofed (faked) and is not a foolproof way of guaranteeing that an email is safe to open.

  • slcounty.org, slcounty.sharepoint.com - While these URLs are used mostly for internal sites meant for County employees or contractors there may occasionally be links to data or documents using these URLs which are meant for the public to access. 

  • slco.to - This is our short URL service (see below), and links from this service are generally written with either a word or words after the forward slash, or a short randomly generated alphanumeric  sequence. One example is slco.to/space for the main page of the Clark Planetarium. 

  • slco.us##.list-manage.com, ##.sendgrid.net - Many organizations rely on bulk email services to manage communications, and Salt Lake County is no different. When we send out email from the County, our email services Mailchimp and SendGrid may add their URL to the beginning of any links that are in the email.  This is a known and expected behavior of bulk email services.

What is a short URL? 
Simply put, a short URL service takes links which may be lengthy or difficult to remember and changes it into a much shorter and more memorable link. You may already know about short URL services like bit.ly or goo.gl and others. Short URLs are used  to help make data easier to access. Most URL services also offer the option to turn a random string of numbers into a short word or phrase that is easy to recall and to type into a browser. 

Why do you want to use a short URL?

Using a short URL service, we can send out communications quickly and easily, distribute surveys or other information, and provide a much easier and more memorable link to things that are important or time-sensitive. 

What about {link} that I found that doesn't use any of these URLs?

Prior to March of 2022, Salt Lake County did not use a URL shortener, and so there could still be many links on our sites and in our communications which may not use these listed main URLs.

In general, it is best to use your judgement about links. Is it from a trusted source? Were you expecting to get the link, such as being signed up to a monthly newsletter, own property,  or other trusted  source? Do you know the person who sent it? Basic online security precautions are very useful in these situations. If you have doubts, you could verify the link or the information it contains in another way, such as contacting the source,  or looking up the information independently of the link, such as with advertised events or announcements on our main sites.  

Basic URL Safety Tips 

Malware attackers will commonly "disguise" their URLs to entice you to click on them without thinking. Hovering over the link with your cursor will show the real destination URL and is a good safety practice when you get email or messages that ask you to "confirm" accounts, change passwords or do other actions that could compromise your personal information.  On tablets or mobile  devices, hovering with your mouse is not possible, so it is prudent to check the source in some other way. 

Information Technology
2001 S State Street  S3-600
Salt Lake City, UT 84190