How to Avoid Getting Junk Mail

If you've taken the time to opt out of some direct junk mail lists, you may have the bug for more.

If you know you don't look at the junk mail you receive, removing your name from unwanted direct mail marketing lists saves paper, your time and even helps the marketing people who send out the mailings (who would prefer more accurate listings). Here's how to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive:

  1. When you subscribe to a magazine, donate to a charity or make purchases form a mail order catalog, your name and address become part of a customer list that is periodically "rented" to other unrelated companies and organizations. Next time you subscribe, buy or donate, make it clear that you do not authorize the company or charity to sell your information.
  2. Direct marketers often get names and addresses straight from the phone book. Consider calling your local phone company to have your address removed from your telephone listing.
  3. Many government agencies keep records of births, marriages, divorces and purchases of homes or property that are available as public information. If a direct mail company has obtained your information from these public records, the only way to remove your name from their list is to call or write to each company separately and make the request. Save time by calling your local Department of Motor Vehicles for a form that removes your name and information from their lists. Many states also give you the opportunity to opt out of state lists when you renew your driver's license!
  4. Finally, next time you fill out an entry form to win a Dream Hawaiian Vacation for Two, think about what you're really doing: you're volunteering your private information to direct marketing companies! You're unlikely to win the trip, but you're guaranteed to end up with piles of new junk mail! Avoid entering these types of giveaways unless the entry forms clearly allow you to "opt-out" of future mailings.