Reduce Junk Mail

Personal Finance September 30, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF
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Most of us get a lot of junk mail. Don't stack it or store it; pitch it into a conveniently located wastebasket or a paper-recycling container. To avoid identity theft, shred credit card offers and other papers that include personal information before you discard them.

To reduce the amount of junk mail you get, contact the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service and ask that your name be removed from mailing lists. The fee for this service is $1.00. To register by Internet, fill out an online form at https://www.the-dma.org/cgi/offtelephonedave#tpsmore. Alternatively, print the mail-in form from the web site, fill it out, and send it in. Or, send the following information, with your $1.00 check payable to DMA, to Mail Preference Service, PO Box 282, Carmel, NY, 10512:

First name, middle name, last name
Address (including apartment number, if appropriate)
City, state, zip code
E-mail address

Because some mailings are prepared far in advance, allow 30-90 days for your registration to become fully effective. Although the typical consumer will see a great reduction in the unsolicited mail he or she receives, not all commercial mail will stop. Consumers will still get mail from companies with which they already do business, from non-DMA member companies, and from local merchants, professional and alumni associations, political candidates and office holders, and mail addressed to "resident/occupant."

Through the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can opt out of receiving unsolicited offers of "pre-approved" and "prescreened" credit cards and insurance policies by visiting the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry web site at http://www.OptOutPrescreen.com or by calling 1-888-5optout. Using this web site, you can tell the credit-reporting companies Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion not to provide your credit file to companies that want to offer you credit or insurance you didn't request. That will keep your name off the lists these credit-reporting companies supply to creditors and insurers.