Tired of having your mailbox crammed with unsolicited mail, including pre-approved credit card applications? Fed up with getting telemarketing calls just as you’re sitting down to dinner? Fuming that your email inbox is chock-full of unsolicited advertising? We’ve all been there. The good news is that you can cut down on the number of unsolicited mailings, calls, and emails you receive by learning where to go to “just say no.”
The federal government has created the National Do Not Call Registry — a free, easy way to reduce the telemarketing calls you get at home. To register your phone number or to get information about the registry, visit www.donotcall.gov, or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. You will get fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering your number. Telephone numbers on the registry will only be removed when they are disconnected and reassigned, or when you choose to remove a number from the registry.
If you get a robocall, a call with a pre-recorded message instead of a live person, hang up. Don't press 1 or 0 to speak to a live operator and don't press any other number to get your number off the list. Responding will probably lead to more robocalls.
The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service lets you opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for five years. When you register with this service (for a $1 fee), your name will be put on a “delete” file and made available to direct-mail marketers. However, your registration will not stop mailings from organizations that do not use the DMA’s Mail Preference Service. To register with DMA’s Mail Preference Service.
The DMA also has an Email Preference Service through its subsidiary Interactive Marketing Solutions to help you reduce unsolicited commercial emails from DMA members. Your online request will be effective for five years.
The credit bureaus offer a toll-free number that enables you to “opt-out” of having pre-approved credit offers sent to you for five years. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com for more information. When you call, you’ll be asked for personal information, including your home telephone number, your name, and your Social Security number. The information you provide is confidential and will be used only to process your request to opt out of receiving pre-screened offers of credit.
In addition, you can notify the three major credit bureaus that you do not want personal information about you shared for promotional purposes—an important step toward eliminating unsolicited mail. Make sure your request includes your home telephone number, name, Social Security number, and date of birth. Send your letter to each of the three major credit bureaus:
901 West Bond
Lincoln, NE 68521
Attn: Consumer Services Department
Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123
Department of Motor Vehicles
The Drivers Privacy Protection Act allows states to distribute personal information only to law enforcement officials, courts, government agencies, private investigators, insurance underwriters, and similar businesses—but not for direct marketing and other uses.