5/30/2012 1:03 PM ET|
7 sure ways to stop junk mail
2. Take yourself off marketers' lists. DMAchoice.org, run by the trade association that represents direct marketers, promises to help remove you from the mailing lists maintained by the association's members. Basically, you'll be added to a "suppression list" that's provided to members to check against their mailing lists. Not every marketer participates in this program, but enough do that "it should reduce about 80% of the unwanted mail," said Senny Boone, the Direct Marketing Association's senior vice present for corporate and social responsibility.
Just ignore the website's advice about how you should "ideally" go about deleting yourself from marketing lists. It wants you to contact its hundreds of members individually. That way madness lies. Instead, use the button that allows you to unsubscribe from everything in each category: catalog offers, magazine offers and "other mail" offers. (The "credit offers" button takes you to OptOutPrescreen.com.)
3. Consider signing up with Catalog Choice. Once you buy a product from a retailer, chances are good you'll start getting its catalog, whether you're on a suppression list of not. Catalog Choice not only helps you get off those for free, but it also offers a $20-a-year MailStop Shield service that plucks your information out of several of the big databases, so it can't be sold to marketers. The company also has an iPhone application that makes getting off mailing lists relatively easy: You take a picture of the junk mail and send it in.
Catalog Choice has been a nonprofit since its inception a few years ago, although it's just been sold to TrustedID, an identity-theft protection company.
4. Pay attention to opt-out notices. Financial companies are required to send these once a year. The notices describe, in dry legalese, how the company collects and shares your information, and gives you a (usually cramped, sometimes tiny) form to fill out if you don't want your information shared. You're supposed to have to do this only once, despite the annual mailings.
5. Give anonymously. One big source of junk mail is solicitations for charitable contributions. Many nonprofits sell or trade donor information. You can opt out charity by charity, or you can give through a site such as Network for Good, which allows you to donate to any charity you choose without revealing your name, address or other details to that charity. Network for Good promises that it will use the information you provide only to make your donation and that it "will never sell, trade or rent your personal information to other individuals or companies."
Nordstrom, by contrast, "does not share customer information (including email addresses) outside the Nordstrom family of companies unless it is necessary to provide you with products or services available from Nordstrom. We may also disclose information when you tell us to do so, to identify or contact you, to protect your rights or the rights of Nordstrom or as required by law."
That doesn't mean you should stop shopping at Macy's. But if you don't want your information shared, you'll need to proactively opt out. You can do so by calling Macy's at 888-529-2254.
7. Support legislation that would give you some rights. The Direct Marketing Association believes self-regulation is working just fine, but consumer and privacy-rights advocates disagree. Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz., have introduced a Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act that says, among other things, that companies should have clear privacy policies and offer a way for consumers to opt out of information sharing. President Barack Obama's proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights is another effort to give people some say in how their information is used. If you want some choice in the matter, let your lawmakers know.
Liz Weston is the Web's most-read personal-finance writer. She is the author of several books, most recently "The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy" (find it on Bing). Weston's award-winning columns appear every Monday and Thursday, exclusively on MSN Money. Join the conversation and send in your financial questions on Liz Weston's Facebook fan page.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
The object of most spamcalls is the quick close. What is great fun is to start saying yes to most of the questions asked and if whatever they are selling requires reading a few minutes of back and forth ask for the braille edition.
Listen for a hollow sound or a pause after saying hello or mushi-mushi. Most of the time they will ask to speak to the name listed in the phone directory. Stall the caller, ask stupid questions, tell them to hang on and lay the pnone down. If the call is automated and requires entering a numerical, push anything but what they ask for.
Tell them you have Tourettes and use every foul epithet imaginable. No matter the gender of the caller tap the mouthpiece of the transciever and ask if they mind if you masturbate during the conversation.
Ask for the callers first and last name and have them spell it. Also ask for thier SSN.
Never buy anything from a phone source. If it ain't in writing it ain't worth a dime.
If everyone in the world would forward unwanted emails from companies back to that companies Officer's email accounts or whatever accounts are available on line, some of this would stop.
The other fun thing is to always state your birthday as 1/1/1900 or a fake street address or set up a never opened junk email address. Never give anyone information about yourself that you dont have to. While some companies will get real information out of necessity, the amount of false information about you that will eventually be floating around confuses everyone and makes the reason for collecting the information less valuable. It is really fun to put a fake social security number and a fake birthday or name out there. Always give false information whenever and whereever you can.
Cause confusion, this is the best way.
If you see a 800 number, or an area you don't recognize don't answer the phone. If you answer
it lets them know that this is a good phone number. They might not call you again, but they will
sell your number to other people. Sadly there is nothing we can do about this. Same goes
for junk mail. Never reply or opt out. This also works for collections agencies. Don't talk to them. Period.
Actually, stuffing the junk mail into their prepaid return envelope does work. I have done this with many of the ones I used to recieve, and now I hardly get any, maybe 3 a week.
As for telemarketers, especially those selling something for the home, I'll let them go through their entire pitch, then tell them 'Gee, that sounds great, but you'll have to get it approved with my landlord first.' Or those requesting donations for whatever charity, I tell them 'Gee, I'm kinda broke right now, but I could donate some time to help out', I always get told 'no, thats alright, we just need financial donations'. Do this a few times and tada, no more telemarketer calls. Both work like a charm.
i tap the return postage to abox and put full of rocks, and send 30 lbs of rocks gets the point by. i get no junk mail. it works. make sure they have your address.
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