Your name, address, and buying habits are tracked by companies and sold and traded on the open market. It’s usually a dead giveaway when some group misspells your name and then 20 more solicitations with the same misspelling crop up.
For those mass lists, here are a few tips to keep from being on shared lists.
1. Whenever you donate money, order something, or fill out a warranty card, write in large letters “Please do not sell my name or address.” Some organizations have a box to check.
2. When you donate to groups like the Audubon Society, you can request that they only send out an annual renewal reminder.
3. If you get information from your investments via mail, you can request on-line reports or CDs instead.
4. Avoid filling out warranty cards if you do not require them. They are often for obtaining information and targeting direct mail.
5. If making a phone order or donation, retest that your account is noted that your name is not traded or sold to other companies.
6. Avoid “contests” where you fill in entry blanks.
7. If something comes to you via first class mail, cross out the address and barcode, circle the first class postage, and write “refused: return to sender.”
8. For credit card offers, call 1-888-5 OPT OUT.
9. For catalogs, call the company’s 800 number. Have your catalogs in front of you when you call.
10. For much junk mail, send a postcard of letter to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Assoc., PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 15012-0643. Include your complete name, address, zip code and a request to “activate the preference service.” This will stop mail from all member organizations that you have not specifically ordered products from.
It takes some investment time to clear the junk from your mailbox. The amount of junk mail sent is staggering – some 4 million tons, nearly half of which is never opened. Even reducing some of it helps our environment.
Would love some input on how others stop junk mail.
Jonda S. Beattie