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Reduce Junk Mail

Sick of sorting through piles of junk mail to find bills you need to pay or that magazine or letter you want to read? There are some simple steps you can take to limit the amount of junk mail clogging your mail box. Limiting certain kinds of junk mail can also reduce your risk of identity theft.

Here’s how to cut down on junk mail.

  • Opt out of credit card offers. Those pre-approved credit card offers you get are tempting to identity thieves. If you throw them away without shredding them, all a criminal has to do is fill one out in your name and change the address. Call 1-888-567-8688 (1-888-5OPT-OUT) or opt out online to stop the flood of credit card offers. You’ll be asked to provide some personal information such as name, address and Social Security Number, but that information will be used only to process your request.
  • Ask the credit bureaus not to share your information for sales pitches. You can write to all three credit bureaus and tell them not to share your information for promotional purposes. Include your full name, address, Social Security Number and date of birth in your letter, and send it to:
    • Equifax
      P.O. Box 74024
      Atlanta, GA 30374
    • Experian
      901 West Bond
      Lincoln, NE 68521
      Attn: Consumer Services Department
    • TransUnion
      Name Removal Option
      P.O. Box 505
      Woodland, PA 19094
  • Tell companies you don’t want their junk mail. Register with the Direct Marketing Association (which represents many but not all companies that solicit through the mail) and tell them you don’t want to get junk mail. This will stop mailings from any company participating in the DMA’s Mail Preference Service for 10 years. You can register with the DMA online with a $4 fee payment, or download a registration form and register by mail with a $5 fee payment.
    • Mail Preference Service
      Direct Marketing Association
      P.O. Box 643
      Carmel, NY 10512
      Note: If you register by mail you will need to include a check for $1 (along with your name and address) to cover processing of your request.
  • Block explicit mail. To stop unwanted sexually explicit advertising from being sent to you or your child, you can file what’s called a prohibitory order with the U.S. Postal Service. You’ll need to fill out the Application for Listing and-or Prohibitory Order form available via the U.S. Postal Service Web site. You can fill out the same form to report a piece of explicit mail that you or your child received.
  • Stop unwanted sales calls, too. Sign up for the Do Not Call Registry to cut down on unwelcome telemarketing calls. You can add your home and mobile telephone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry online or by calling 1-888-382-1222 within North Carolina from the number you wish to register.