How to Prevent Unwanted Junk Mail

The average American receives approximately 41 pounds of junk mail every year and spends over 70 hours sorting through it. Approximately 1/3 of this unwanted mail is recycled. By reducing the amount of unwanted mail you receive, you will conserve natural resources and reduce the hassle of dealing with it.

Here are some tips on how to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive:

Consumer Reporting Companies

To opt out of prescreened offers of credit and insurance, you have two choices:

  • Free to opt out for five years: Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit optoutprescreen.com. The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies.
  • Free to opt out permanently: You may begin the permanent Opt-Out process online at optoutprescreen.com. To complete your request, you must return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which will be provided after you initiate your online request.

If you don’t have access to the Internet, you may send a written request to permanently opt out to each of the major consumer reporting companies. Make sure your request includes your home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth.

Experian
Opt Out
P.O. Box 919
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion
Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094

Equifax, Inc.
Options
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374

Innovis Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 495
Pittsburgh, PA 15230

Direct Marketers

Telemarketing

The federal government’s National Do Not Call Registry is a free, easy way to reduce the telemarketing calls you receive. To register your phone number or to get information about the registry, visit donotcall.gov, or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. You will get fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering your number. Telephone numbers on the registry will only be removed when they are disconnected and reassigned, or when you choose to remove a number from the registry.

Mail and Email

Consumers can register at the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) consumer website: dmachoice.org for a processing fee of $2 for a period of ten years. Registering online is the fastest way to see results. DMAchoice offers consumers a simple, step-by-step process that enables consumers to decide what mail they do and do not want.

In addition, DMAchoice online offers registration for DMA’s eMail Preference Service (reduce your unsolicited commercial email).

Mail-in registration:
If you do not wish to complete your registration online, you can register for DMAchoice by using the mail-in form that is online: fill out the DMAChoice Mail In Form with all required information, print it and mail to the address below.

Or, if you do not have access to the Internet, you can register by sending your name and address (with signature), along with a $3 processing fee (check or money order payable to DMA) to:

DMAChoice
DMA
PO Box 900
Cos Cob, CT 06807

Local Mailers

Individual Mailers

Some companies do not use national systems to develop their mailing lists. You will need to contact these companies directly and request that your name be removed from the mailing list. To contact these companies, you will need to look at the piece of mail and find a telephone number, mailing address, email address, or website.

The major consumer credit bureaus have established a toll-free number, 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) for people to call and have their names removed from lists for pre-approved credit card solicitations. You will be asked for your social security number, full name, address, and telephone number. You can also visit their website at optoutprescreen.com to have your name removed.

Mail List Brokers

The following firms provide mailing lists for non-financial data. Call the toll-free numbers to request that your name be removed from their lists:

  • Experian 888-397-3742

Business Junk Mail

Businesses often receive junk mail in the form of catalogs for products and services and mail for employees who no longer work for the company. Businesses interested in reducing the amount of unwanted mail they receive may visit:

  • Register at the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) consumer website: dmachoice.org for a processing fee of $2 for a period of ten years. Registering online is the fastest way to see results. DMAchoice offers consumers a simple, step-by-step process that enables consumers to decide what mail they do and do not want.

Bills & Statements

  • Go paperless for bills and statements by opting out of mail services from your bank, hospital, and other service providers.

Credit: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission