Annoyed by Political Campaign Spam Texts and Calls? Here's What You Can Do

Political Spam Calls

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Unwanted Spam

As election season heats up, so does the influx of unsolicited political campaign texts and calls. While these communications are often legal, they can intrude on personal time and space — not to mention how annoying they can be. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), these types of calls, including spoofed robocalls, are among the top complaints received by the agency each year. Fortunately, there are several effective strategies to minimize or stop these unwanted calls and messages.

From reporting them to your mobile carrier to registering your number on the national "Do Not Call" list, here are nine effective strategies to keep in mind. 

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1. Register on the National 'Do Not Call List'

By registering your phone number on the national "Do Not Call" registry, you can significantly decrease the number of unsolicited calls. Thugh the registry is primarily designed to stop calls from commercial telemarketers, registering can still reduce political calls since fewer entities will have your contact information readily available. It's easy to register online or by phone — and it's free of charge.

Related: The 10 Most Annoying Types of Spam Calls Americans Receive


2. Take Advantage of Your Phone's Built-in Features

Most modern smartphones are equipped with various settings to help manage incoming calls and messages. On iPhone, for example, you can enable features such as blocking unknown callers or sending calls from numbers not in your contact list straight to voicemail. For texts, smartphones also feature options to filter messages from unknown senders into a separate folder, or spam box. 

Related: How to Spot IRS Fraud and Other Big Phone Scams So You Don't Get Fleeced

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3. Contact Your Carrier

Most providers offer additional services to help block unwanted calls and texts. These might include subscribing to a call-blocking service or downloading a carrier-specific app designed to identify and block potential spam calls and messages. Some carriers offer these services for free, while others might charge a small fee. You can also report all unwanted texts by forwarding them to 7726 (or "SPAM"), says the FCC. 

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4. Reply 'STOP'

For texts from political campaigns, a simple and direct way to stop receiving many of these communications is to reply with "STOP." Federal regulations require that legitimate political campaigns honor these requests and remove your number from their messaging lists upon request. This method is often effective immediately and can significantly reduce the volume of campaign texts sent to your devices. 

Related: Watch Out for These Scams Targeting Seniors

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5. Download a Third-Party Call Blocking App

If you've opted out, but are still receiving spam calls or texts, consider using a third-party app to stave them off. There apps, which are available for both Android and iOS devices, can be quite effective in blocking spam calls and texts. Apps like Hiya, Nomorobo, and RoboKiller provide robust features to identify and block unsolicited communications based on community reports and blacklists.

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6. Activate 'Do Not Disturb' Mode

Using the "Do Not Disturb" feature on your phone allows you to set periods during which only calls from your contacts, or specified numbers will ring through. The feature can be particularly useful during peak campaign seasons or around elections when the bulk of these calls take place. It can also be useful to toggle the feature on at night or whenever you don't want to be disturbed by constant notifications. 

Related: Biggest Political Scandals in U.S. History

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7. Opt Out at the Source

If you have previously donated to a political campaign or signed up for updates, your contact information might be shared with other campaigns or organizations — especially if the lists are part of a broader network that exchange or sell consumers information. If so, you can contact these groups directly to request that they remove your information and prevent any future messaging. 

Related: 19 Famous Food Fails by American Politicians

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8. Report Spam

If the previous methods are not effective, you can escalate the issue by reporting the spam calls and texts to the FCC, or to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). These agencies have regulations in place to protect consumers from unsolicited messages, and can take enforcement actions against violators. Reporting spam also helps these agencies track and act against widespread abuses in campaign communications.

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9. Be Cautious With Your Phone Number

Lastly, consider limiting where you share your phone number online, especially on social media platforms and public registries. The more publicly accessible your number is, the more likely it is to be collected by campaigns and other solicitors.