Voters see rise in political text messages, while scammers try to take advantage

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WXIN) — Reaching voters in the age of technology requires getting to their cell phones, meaning even more calls and text messages to people who are already being targeted by scammers.

The number of text messages being sent to voters has gone up as campaigns use computer technology that allows individual volunteers to send mass messages, getting around do not call registry rules.

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

If you don’t want to receive text messages, you can try responding “STOP” to opt out. You can also check your Indiana voter registration to see if your cell phone number is listed at the link here.

The Better Business Bureau also warns that scammers are becoming more sophisticated in their ability to spoof real political callers. In particular, you could receive a call from someone claiming to be conducting a poll and offering a gift if you answer questions and pay shipping and handling. Another common scam uses a cause close to the voter, or even a candidate’s real voice, to solicit supposed donations.

In both cases, BBB CEO Tim Maniscalo said the scammers goal is simply to get your credit card information.

“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.

Do not give your personal information over the phone. If you want to donate to a cause or campaign, go instead to their website to make a donation.

If you do think you have been contacted by a scammer, you can report it to the BBB at the link here and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office at the link here.

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