junk mail

You Can Reduce Unwanted Mail

Sending mail that looks like it is from a government agency when it is not, is illegal. With one exception, sending mail that looks like a bill is also illegal.

What can you do about the growing pile of unwanted mail in your mailbox and unwelcome telemarketers on your phone? Actually there’s a lot you can do.

* Tell companies you do business with to remove your name from customer lists they rent or sell to others. Look for information on how to opt out of marketing lists on sales materials, order forms and websites.

* Utilize the services provided by the Direct Marketing Association to remove you from most national telemarketing, mail and e-mail lists.

* Call the credit reporting agencies’ notification system at 1-888-567-8688. This will reduce the number of unsolicited credit and insurance offers you get. All three major credit bureaus participate in this program. You also may submit your request to opt out online.

*Under U.S. Postal Service Rules, it is illegal to send mail that looks like it is from a government agency when it isn’t. It is also illegal to send mail that looks like a bill when nothing was ordered, unless it clearly states it is not a bill. Report violations of this rule to the USPS.

Opting Out

Tired of unwanted e-mail filling up your inbox? You can opt out of most unsolicited e-mail lists by going to the “unsubscribe” button, usually found at the bottom of the message. Some senders make the button difficult to find, so you may have to do some searching.

In addition, the Direct Marketing Association lets you opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for three years. You can register with this service for a small fee, but your registration only applies to organizations that use the association’s Mail Preference Service. To register visit the DMA’s website.