How to Stop Junk Mail, and More

Sick of having unsolicited mail like catalogs and credit card offers fill up your mailbox? Tired of those annoying telemarketing calls at the most-inconvenient times? You don’t have to put up with it anymore. Here’s how you can take back control of your mailbox and phone line in just a few easy steps:

Unwanted Catalogs

If you are like most consumers, you probably get tons of catalogs in the mail that go straight into the trashcan.  Besides causing irritation, junk mail also causes millions of tons of waste paper in landfills. Catalog Choice is a free service that allows you to opt-out of catalogs you don’t want and opt-into those you do. This service allows consumers to control what catalogs make it to their mailbox and helps businesses target willing customers.

To start, fill out an online registration that includes your name, alternate names and mailing address. Then, browse through a list of catalogs to indicate which you want and which you do not. Catalog Choice contacts the catalog companies to pass on your preferences. Not all catalog companies are participants in this service, but most major retailers are.  Alternatively, you can contact catalog companies individually and request that your name and address be removed from their mailing lists.

Direct Marketing Mail

The Direct Marking Association (DMA) also offers a Mail Preference Service. For a $1  fee, you can register to have your name put on a “delete” file, which is available to direct mail organizations that belong to the DMA. With the DMA Mail Preference Service you can choose to receive or stop credit card offers, catalogs, magazine offers, donation request and retail promotions from member companies. Your choices remain in effect for three years. Users can register online or by mail.


Credit Card Offers

In addition to wasting paper, getting credit card applications in the  mail can make you vulnerable to credit card fraud. If pre-approved offers are stolen, identity thieves can apply for credit cards in your name. The three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, process requests to opt-out of these offers at OptOutPrescreen.com and at the toll-free number (888)567-8688. To opt-out, you’ll have to provide your name, telephone number and Social Security number, which is transmitted over secure servers. You may only opt-out electronically or by phone for 5 years. If you want to opt out permanently, you have to submit a written form by mail.

Telemarketing

The National Do Not Call Registry, opened in 2003 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), makes it easy to stop all telemarketing calls. All you have to do is visit www.donotcall.gov or call (888)382-1222 from the phone you would like to register. Numbers put on the Do-Not-Call list are permanent unless the phone line is disconnected or the owner removes the number. There is no need to register cell phones with this list because FTC regulations prohibit telemarketing to cell numbers. If you only want to stop telemarketing call from a particular company, you can ask the company to put your number on the company’s do-no-call list.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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