WNE warns about phony robocall poll

University does not conduct automated telephone surveys

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Throughout the election season, many western Massachusetts voters have been receiving calls from pollsters, asking their positions on political issues and candidates. But for some people, the calls they have been receiving may not have been coming from legitimate pollsters. Western New England University announced Monday that they have been receiving dozens of complaints about an automated poll people have been getting as part of a possible “Caller ID spoofing” scheme.

WNE spokesperson David Stawasz notified 22News that people have receiving a “robocall” that shows up on caller ID as coming from the university’s main phone number. Western New England University does conduct political polling, but they do so with live interviewers, and not with automated messages, like the survey in question.

“Given the number of complaints and the potential damage to the university’s legitimate polling activity, the institution felt a need to respond publicly,” Stawasz said in a statement.

Stawasz says that following a preliminary investigation, it does not appear that the calls were coming from anyone who was on campus. “It is apparently the work of somebody using technology to mask the true source of the calls – commonly referred to as ‘caller ID spoofing’ in the telecommunications industry,” he said.

The university has notified Verizon’s Unlawful Call Center about the issue, though Stawasz says it is not clear just what motivated these calls.

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