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Stop Junk Mail

Within an hour you can drastically reduce the amount of unwanted mail from your life. We believe the biggest reduction in junk mail was to be unlisted in the telephone book. There are many days we do not get mail! Of course the first thought is did someone swipe it?

Though we all despise junk mail, a potentially dangerous problem exists with unwanted credit card solicitations. They can be used to steal your identity since many of them have personal information on them. A good locking mailbox helps mitigate this problem.

U. S. Postal Service

When you fill out a change of address, the forwarding information is rented to "too many to count" private businesses licensed by the U. S. Postal Service. This is how list brokers, credit bureaus and others get your name in the first place. You might consider not filing a change of address form when you move. Instead, send out your own postcards to those whose mail you want to receive, and ask the post office to hold your mail for pickup until everyone knows your new address.

If you are interested, go to U.S. Post Office and read their privacy statement on 'Change of Address' page. In it is a URL that directs you to several lists of licensed businesses that will get your address information. There were so many we did not bother to count them.

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Credit Bureaus Main Opt-Out Line

Call 1-888-567-8688 and talk to the automated voice response system to opt-out of all credit-related offers for two years, or permanently. You can also call back later and opt back in if you want the credit offers to start coming again.

Opt out of preapproved and prescreened credit and insurance online either for five years or permanently from Experian, Innovis, TransUnion, and Equifax.

If you choose to opt out permanently, you will receive an additional form in the mail. Fill out this form and return it! If you don't, your lifetime opt out is reduced to 2 years.

Using this service will remove you from all pre-approved credit-related mail or phone offers coming from the credit bureau lists.

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Experian Consumer Services

Call 402-458-5247 to removes your name from non-credit offers coming from Experian lists. That means stuff like samples, coupons, catalogs, and local or national promotional flyers. Once again, the call will take about 30 seconds as you talk to the automated response system. You just have to tell them your name, address, phone number and whether you want to opt-out of mail offers, phone offers, or both.

Send complete name (including any name variations), mailing address and complete telephone number (including area code) to:

Experian Consumer Services
901 West Bond Street
Lincoln, NE 68521

Please specify if you wish to be removed from mailing lists or telemarketing lists.

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Direct Marketing Association Opt-Out

To remove yourself from the mail preference service (MPS) use the DMA Mailing List to make your request over the Internet or via mail.
Send your name and address to:

DMA Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512

The DMA is an industry organization for the more reputable direct mailers belong to. One service they provide to member companies and others, is to distribute a list of people who want to opt-out of mail campaigns. The DMA updates the list every month or so, but a company might not update their list for up to three months. In other words, it's going to take a while before you see a big decrease in your junk mail.

Another site that one can opt out of phone books, catalogs, coupons, credit card offers, and more is catalog choice. They have a premium service which monitors new data brokers and opts out in your behalf. Another service is you can mail your junk mail directly and catalog choice will take care of the opt outs.

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List Brokers

These companies sell mailing lists to businesses and organizations. Write all of them and request that your name be removed from all their mailing and telemarketing lists.

Dunn & Bradstreet
Customer Service
899 Eaton Ave.
Bethlehem, PA 18025

Experian Consumer Services
901 West Bond
Lincoln, NE 68521

Metromail is now Experian and has a National Consumer Database with information on everyone.

R.L. Polk & Co. - Name Deletion File
List Compilation Development
26955 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48034-4716

Database America
Compilation Department
470 Chestnut Ridge Road
Woodcliff, NJ  07677

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What to Do With Incoming Mail

First, directly contact those companies or organizations that currently send you junk mail using one of the following ways:

  1. Write to the company and ask that your name and address be removed from their mailing list.

  2. Mail that displays the message "address-correction requested" or "return postage guaranteed" can be returned unopened to the sender by writing "Refused - Return to Sender" on the envelope. However, writing "Return to Sender" on mail without this message will not work as the post office will not return it to the sender.

  3. If there is a postage-paid return envelope inside the solicitation, detach your mailing label from the envelope, attach it with a note asking that your name be deleted and mail it back to the sender. (They have to pay for the postage). Do the same with a postage-paid return postcard, by taping the mailing label to the card and asking that your name be deleted.

  4. Some of your junk mail (most catalogs) may include a toll-free number. Call and ask that your name and address be removed from their mailing list.
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Credit Cards

For American Express card holders, ask AMEX to remove your name from its direct marketing lists. You can be removed from their in-house lists, outside company lists, or both. Contact:

Customer Service - American Express
200 Vesey St. Tower C
New York, NY 10285

For all others, call or write to the customer service office for each credit card you own asking them not to sell, trade or lend your name and address to any organization for its mailing lists. You must do this for each card so that if you have three Visa cards with different banks/institutions, you would have to write each one individually.

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Phone Books

Many organizations use phone books as their national database. You may consider having an unlisted number, or list just your name and phone number, not your address. Note that if you are listed in a phone book your phone number is probably available on-line since it is considered public domain.

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Warranty Cards

It isn't necessary to complete warranty cards to be covered by a warranty. Most warranty cards request demographic information which is used to add your name to various organizations' mailing lists. The only reason to return a warranty card is to find out about product recalls. If you want to return the card for that reason, only provide your name, address and product serial number.
Write to National Demographics and Lifestyles to be removed from the lists created from warranty cards especially if you know you have filled one out in the past.

National Demographics and Lifestyles
List Order Department
1621 18th St. Suite 300
Denver, CO 80202

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