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Mayoral Campaigns Flooding Voters' Phones With Texts; 'I Didn't Sign Up For Anything Like This'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With just one day until Chicago's mayoral election, campaigns are working overtime, which might mean overloading your phones with text messages.

The texts have irritated some people, who turned to CBS 2 for answers.

Strange messages began popping up on Chicago cell phones in recent weeks.

John Albergo received a message for "Richard."

"That's not my name, so who's got my information? Who's Richard?" he asked.

He got another message addressed to "Linda."

"I'm not Linda, obviously," Albergo said.

The senders are allegedly members of Chicago mayoral campaigns, but in some cases the phone numbers aren't even local. Albergo got one from a 219 area code, which is northwest Indiana.

"I tried to call one of those numbers back, and it was just not a legitimate phone number," Albergo said. "Who's sending these things? Who's contacting me?"

The mystery is stumping Karalin Derencius, too.

"Why me? Because I didn't sign up for anything like this," she said.

She emailed the campaign that sent her the text messages, because she couldn't find a working phone number, either. She said it doesn't seem transparent.

"It's not at all, and this is a mayoral spot, and that's what everyone wants," she said.

Our research shows the law does allow for political text messages without consent, as long as it is a personalized message.

Enter companies like Texting Base. They're hired to hit up clients individually.

CEO Eric Beans said texts are read 98 percent of the time, and cost about 4 cents each, which is more effective and cheaper than mailing.

Where do cell numbers usually come from?

"Campaigns guard their data and data secrets like they were Fort Knox," Beans said.

"What happens to these lists when the race is over?" Albergo said.

Good question.

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners said they have received several complaints about text messages, but they said the feds are the ones who investigate.

CBS 2 reached out to all of the mayoral candidates about using text messages. At least 12 campaigns said they do use texts to reach potential voters.

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