Political campaigns target voters on text message, robocalls

2020 Election

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Campaigns and political groups are working hard to reach voters in the next 11 days until the election. These campaigns are shifting to text messages, which are harder to block.

Americans received 70 million political robocalls in September. A drop from 93 million in August, according to the company Robokiller.

By Election Day, Americans will have sent as many as 3 billion political text messages, more than 2 billion in just the past 30 days.

If you are registered to vote your information is on file, and that’s why you are being targeted.

“It’s a fluid area of the law right now…the level of sophistication of the campaigns and the candidates is improving,” Scott Barnhart, Attorney General’s Office Director of Consumer Protection said.

Robokiller reports Republicans have made more than 53 million robocalls and sent out 1.8 billion text messages. Democrats have made 17 million robocalls and sent 902 million text messages.

More than 40 percent of them are targeted toward states that are already voting like California and Texas and swings states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

There are strategies to make them go away.

You can reply “stop” to try to opt-out of the text messages, but that will only work if they are from a legitimate campaign.

“Usually a month or so before the election we’ll see a lot of scammers,” Tim Maniscalo, CEO, Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana said.

Another way to combat the messages is to contact the campaign directly and ask to be removed, have the messages filtered to a folder where you won’t see them or download a blocking app.

Maniscalo said screening the calls to your phone is even more important.

“Typically, these people are very aggressive, they want your money, they say that we need to have money in order to support this cause,” Maniscalo said.

Be mindful of people asking for your credit card information or saying they will give you a gift if you answer poll questions. Some calls could even use a candidate’s voice to ask for donations.

If you think you’ve received a political robocall or text that doesn’t comply with the rules you can file a formal complaint with the FCC and forward text messages to spam.

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