Do you receive a lot of junk mail? What about annoying calls that interrupt your evening? If you do, you’re not alone. Read on for some tips for reclaiming your solitude.
An ounce of prevention
I used to work at a call center that tried to get people to try out a time share. I once asked my boss where they got the list of people to call, and he said that a lot of them were added through the contests at the mall.
Whenever you register for a contest, send in a warranty registration card, or otherwise hand over your contact information (name, address, phone number, and whatever else you might be asked for), there’s a good chance it will wind up in a computer database.
Often times, businesses sell these contact databases, thereby increasing the amount of junk mail and unwanted phone calls that you receive. Believe it or not, this can happen several times over, such that entering just a single contest can increase your stream of junk mail considerably.
How to get off direct mailing lists
Assuming that your contact info has already gotten out, what should you do? Set aside about an hour and work through the following tips to free up your mailbox.
- Contact the Direct Marketing Association. Many companies are members of the DMA, and will thus stop bothering you if you just ask. Simply send a letter to PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 15012-0643 and ask that you be removed from their lists. You can register online at www.dmachoice.org if you prefer.
- Valpak has an online option for getting off their list.
- Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes has a customer service line at 1-800-645-9242 (8:30 AM to 8:30 PM Eastern), or you can just send them an email to firstname.lastname@example.org asking them to remove you from their mailing list.
Once you’ve completed these steps, be sure to protect your information so you don’t get added back to any of these lists.
How to get your phone number off telemarketing lists
If you want to reduced the number of telemarketing calls that you receive, sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry. It’s quick and easy, and known to be effective.
Just keep in mind that it might take about a month to notice a difference. This is because telemarketing companies have 31 days to stop calling once you’ve been added to the list.
One last thing…
While you’re at it, you should opt out of pre-approved credit card offers, as well.
What about you? Do you have a problem with junk mail? Or telemarketers? Any tips for dealing with them?