How did political campaigns get your phone number? How to stop pesky elections texts, calls

Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 6:59 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) -More money than ever has been spent in electronic advertising in the 2022 election season, and campaign and data privacy experts explain how exactly all those campaigns, political action committees and advocacy groups got your phone number to send you all those texts.

States like Nevada, where 75% of the Congressional delegation is on the ballot, has garnered national interest-- and big bucks from national donors. That cash infusion translates into the flurry of television, mail text ads straight to your phone.

Whether you are a regular voter or not, how did all these groups get your phone number?

Website is tracking how much money political interests are spending to obtain your data, this election season-- even helping you calculate how much interests are spending, per person, to obtain your data. In the quiz, “How much is your vote in the upcoming midterm worth?” Interests are spending hundreds of dollars per Nevadan-- more than residents in other states.

“Between 100 to 200 major data brokers in the United States have profiles on everybody, Nevada citizens and the rest of the states. They are busy selling these profiles and profile data,” said CEO Rob Shavell of The data comes from every source of personal data: public records, voting records, store purchases, online websites, online purchases, email lists and phone apps, to name some sources.

“We downloaded an app, we went to the DMV, we filled out some survey, we purchased something from some ecommerce site, who then resold our data. In America today, it is perfectly legal for them to do this. And we don’t think that’s fair. And we don’t think it’s right,” Shavell said.

Based on your data footprint, data brokers are helping campaigns predict how you may vote-- and text you accordingly.

How do you make the texts stop?

The Federal Communications Commission requires campaigns to halt texts as soon as you reply “STOP.”

In Clark County, voters can also visit the Voter Services page to make their phone number and address confidential.

Shavell said its almost impossible to track down every source that has your data, but there are ways to slow access tremendously. His tips:

Never provide your personal cell phone number. Opt to use a landline or a work number instead, to prevent data mining and text spam.

Contact data brokers personally. JoinDeleteMe has a guide of how to do it yourself; the company and others like it also provide service to help you do so.

Push for privacy laws. California recently passed the Consumer Privacy Rights Act, giving residents power over how data brokers distribute their data. They can advocate for a privacy law in their state, similar to California, Utah, Colorado, Vermont, and a bunch of other states that are considering them. Those privacy laws will help them stop the spam, stop the robo-calling, because they’ll have rights to say, ‘Stop,’ that they don’t have today in their state,” Shavell said.