PORTLAND, Ore. — Your phone is probably blowing up with political text messages left and right as millions of them go out ahead of the elections.
"They have your name, they have your phone number and they want to try to influence your vote," said Kerry Tomlinson, a cyber security expert with Archer News.
Tomlinson said political groups prefer text messages because that's the best way to reach people and they're cheaper to send.
"People are more likely to ignore robocalls and more likely to ignore any kind of call that's not from someone they know," she said.
When you register to vote, your information becomes public record, so there's no way to stop them from initially contacting you under our current laws. But there are things you can do to filter through the texts that come your way.
"The first thing you want to do when you get one of these text messages, if it's driving you crazy, is to respond and text the word, 'STOP,'" Tomlinson said. "Legally, if you text, 'STOP,' they are supposed to stop."
In theory, that action should make the texts stop, according to Tomlinson. If they don't, you can report it to the Federal Communications Commission.
Your phone also has settings that can help.
If you have an Android, go to your Control Spam Settings. For an iPhone, go to Settings, click on Messages and then hit Filter Unknown Senders.
"That sends those messages from people you don't know, from numbers you don't know, to a different list," Tomlinson said. "So that way it doesn't mess with your personal or your work messages, things that you really rely on for your life and for your work."