Thursday, March 02, 2006

Stopping Junk Mail

I'm sure that most of you, like me, are absolutely sick and tired of receiving, sorting through, and tossing junk mail--not to mention screening telemarketers. The cumulative amount of time in dealing with this is quite significant. It's annoying, and it also could be disastrous (if you accidentally thought something was junk mail when in fact it was important correspondence from a company).

Here are some things to do:

Send two postcards to the addresses below. Include your name, address, zip, and phone number. Tell them to "Please activate the mail/telephone preference service." This will stop mail and calls from companies that you have ordered from.

DMA Mail Preference Service
PO Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

Telephone Preference Service
PO Box 1559
Carmel, NY 10512

You can also do this online (for $5) or print off their online form for free and mail it in. It takes longer if you submit it by snail mail. Don't give them your email address.

Use this free form to stop receiving
emails from companies you've ordered with:

Also, when you sign up with a new service--for example, a new insurance company, a new bank--be sure to get their little brochure on privacy that they will send to you. They include a 1-800 number where you can opt-out of allowing them to share your information with other companies.

1-888-382-1222, or go to, to be placed on the National Do Not Call Registry. (Note: telemarketers can start using your cell phone now, so be sure to register that as well.) When I do receive calls, I've found that the key is not to even listen to them identify themselves. Usually I can tell if it's a telemarketer because our Caller ID either lists the caller as an unfamiliar name or lists it as anonymous. If you do pick up, there is usually a one second pause before they speak. And when they do speak, they usually ask to speak with "Mr. Taylor" or "Justin Taylor." Before saying anything else, I politely ask them to put me on their do-not-call list. They immediately, politely comply and hang up. (The reason is that it's illegal for them not to comply with your request, and they could be sued if they don't do this.)

1-888-567-8688 or 1-888-5OPTOUT, which will stop junk mail sent by the following credit reporting companies: Trans Union, Equifax, Innovis, and Experian.

Stopping junk mail from companies you
have not ordered from is not quite so easy. According to, AOL is the world's worst offender. Call 1-800-827-6364 (6am-2am EST) and ask to be taken off of the list.

A few other major companies are:
  • ADVO: Call 1-860-285-6100 or send a postcard to "ADVO Consumer Assistance, POB 249, Windsor CT 06095-4176." To have your name and address removed from the ADVO list, fill out their online form or download the paper form, fill it out, and mail it to ADVO.

  • American Family Sweepstakes: call 1-800-237-2400

  • Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes (call 1-800-645-9242 (8:30 am to 8:30 EST); send a postcard to 101 Channel Drive, Port Washington, NY 11050. Or:

    "Send us an email with the Subject: REMOVE ME FROM MAILING LIST. In the body of the email include the name and address you want removed from the Publishers Clearing House mailing list. Please allow 8-12 weeks for your name to be removed.

Finally, JunkMailStopper says: "Remember that any time you give out your name, for charity or warranty cards or whatever- you are almost always putting yourself on some list that will get sold over and over to companies that send junk mail. Always politely ask that your information stay private and not sold to junk mail lists."

Note that with all the options listed above, they (a) won't stop all junk mail, (b) won't take place immediately, and (c) will only last for about 5 years. So you can mark on your calendar now to look at this post again in 2011!

Thanks to the following websites for the helpful information: