Reducing junk mail
By Megan Bruce, staff
Few people like to get unsolicited ads or credit cards in the
mail. Ditto telemarketing calls and spam for various sorts of
enhancements or “investment
opportunities.” While it may be impossible to completely eliminate these
wasteful nuisances, there are several ways to drastically reduce them.
Credit bureaus offer a toll-free “opt-out” number that prevents
pre-approved credit card offers for two years. Simply call 1-800-OPTOUT
(567-8688) to get more information and to sign up. The operator will
ask for your personal information, including your home phone and your social
security number, but don’t worry: the information is confidential and
necessary in order to process your request.
You can also contact the three
major credit bureaus letting them know that you don’t wish for your
contact information to be shared for with other companies for promotional
purposes. Just make three copies of a letter stating you want your
information to remain confidential and send it to these major credit bureaus:
Inc., Options. P.O. Box 740123. Atlanta, GA 30374-0123
• Experian, Consumer
Opt-Out, 701 Experian Parkway, Allen, TX 75013
• TransUnion, Name Removal
Option, P.O. Box 505, Woodlyn, PA 19094
For direct marketers, there
are options to reduce both telephone and mail solicitations. The
Federal Government has the free and easy to use National Do Not Call
Registry. For details or to sign up visit www.donotcall.gov, or call 1-888-382-1222
from the phone you want registered. Within three months there ought
to be fewer telemarketers interrupting your dinner hour. The registration
remains valid for five years or until the number is disconnected. After five
years, you can simply register again.
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
has a Mail Preference Service allowing you to opt out of receiving
direct mail marketing from their member companies. Like the Do Not
Call Registry the restriction only lasts five years, at which point you will
have to re-register. To register with the DMA MPS, write a letter to:
Marketing Association, Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 643, Carmel,
Even with these preventive measures, unwanted solicitations seem
to be as inevitable as taxes. If you receive a call from a telemarketer,
politely let them know that you wish to be removed from their database.
Some spam e-mails have links that allow you to unsubscribe, but prevention
is the most important step. One option is to create a free e-mail
account and enter it whenever you don’t want to receive correspondence.
Lastly, please remember to recycle all junk mail, taking care to
remove all non-paper items from the envelope first.