Stop Junk MailToday’s question is: How do I block annoying junk mail? These are the best things to do . . .

Direct Marketing Association

You can get off many national mailing lists by registering with the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service. Send your name and address to: DMA Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512, or you can register online here. Your name will remain on this “delete file” for five years.

Credit Reporting Agencies

Tell the credit reporting agencies that you don’t want to receive pre-approved offers of credit. Those credit card offers that come in the mail are from companies who get your name and address from one of the credit reporting agencies. You can tell all three of the major credit reporting agencies-Equifax, Experian and TransUnion-to remove your name from their mailing list by calling one toll-free number, 1-888-5-OPT-OUT. Your request will be honored for two years.

Magazines And Charities

Tell magazines and charities that you don’t want them to share your name and address with other businesses or charities. Contact magazines to which you subscribe and charities to which you donate. Request the same from mail order companies you order from and cancel catalogs you don’t use.

Credit Cards And Banks

Read the privacy policies of your credit cards and banks. The policies must give you an “opt-out” option, by which you can tell the bank not to share your personal information with other companies. Even after you do this, the bank may still be allowed to share your information with “affiliate” companies it has a relationship with.

Telephone Company

Ask your local phone company to not publish your address. Mailing list companies compile names and addresses from residential phone book listings. Consider having an unlisted number, or ask your local phone company to publish just your name and telephone number, without an address. Ask the phone company to remove your listing from its street address directory.

Sweepstakes

Think twice before entering sweepstakes and drawings. The main purpose of many contests is to compile mailing lists. If you enter one contest, you are likely to receive mailings from other contests. Avoid entering sweepstakes unless you can “opt-out” of being put on a mailing list (read the contest rules).

Warranty And Product Registration Cards

Don’t fill out warranty or product registration cards. Most cards are used to compile information on consumers that is sold to companies for marketing purposes. Most times your receipt will ensure that you are covered by the product warranty if the item turns out to be defective.

Return It

Send it back. Junk mail that arrives in envelopes stamped “Address Correction Requested” or “Return Postage Guaranteed” can be returned unopened by writing “Refused-Return to Sender” on the envelope. This may encourage the company that mailed it to you to remove you from its mailing list.

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**This article is designed to provide helpful information that can be read within 2 minutes. It is neither a full explanation of this subject nor legal advice. To learn more, and to get legal advice on which you can rely, contact me or another lawyer.