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Sick of political text messages? Here’s how to stop them

In most cases, all you have to do is ask nicely (using some specific terms)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Chances are you’ve been on the receiving end of them: unwanted political text messages that light up your cellphone at all hours of the day.

And unlike a phone call, you don’t have the immediate option to not accept the text.

As the I-TEAM previously reported, these unsolicited text messages are quickly becoming a key battleground in political races in 2020 as various campaigns try to rally voters and donors to their causes.

But as a News4Jax viewer pointed out, the result is a seemingly endless barrage of text messages beamed directly to the palm of your hand. So what can you do to put a stop to them once and for all?

RELATED: Political texts are the new battleground. Are they legitimate?

The short answer is: ask nicely.

That’s right — it turns out the solution to this problem is quite simple. If you receive a political text message from a campaign, you can opt out by replying to them with a short response:

  • Just send the word “STOP” in all capital letters, and you should get a response acknowledging that you have unsubscribed from those messages.
  • You can also reply with “Opt out” or “I no longer wish to receive messages from this campaign,” and you’ll no longer get them.

If you’d like to take things a step further, you can also add your phone number on the national Do Not Call list, which is supposed to insulate consumers from unwanted calls and texts:

  • You can sign up on the registry’s website at donotcall.gov
  • Or dial 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register

At this point, you might be wondering how these campaigns got their hands on your number in the first place. The reality is they could have gotten it from a variety of sources, including:

  • Your voter registration card;
  • Any publicly available records;
  • A survey you might have filled out;
  • Retail stores that have your number;
  • A guest list for an event you attended.

To keep your phone number from falling into the wrong hands, be careful when giving your number out. If you’re not sure how the information will be used, use your landline or a workplace phone number instead.

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You should also consider blocking any callers that are spamming your cellphone. You can forward the message to the Spam Reporting Service by typing “7726” or SPAM.

Another option? Try contacting your cellphone provider to see what they recommend doing about these texts. Some providers, like AT&T and Verizon, are trying to keep tabs on political campaigns this year.

But it’s worth noting that even if your number is on the Do Not Call list, political calls and texts can still get through, as long as they’re from an actual person, not an automated service.

RELATED: What do you need to know before the November election? Tell us

At News4Jax, we want to help you get answers ahead of Election Day. You can submit questions by filling out the brief form below. If your question is chosen, we’ll get answers and report back.


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