Junk Mail

“Did I even sign up for this?”

It’s a question that comes to mind as we sift through junk mail, our spam-filled email inboxes and even when we answer the phone. If you want to take action against this unsolicited advertising, you’re in luck.

You can put an end to junk mail and unsolicited phone calls and emails in a few simple steps. These opt-out services are free, FTC-recommended and each one will take you about a minute to complete.

Stop Junk Mail

The Direct Marketing Association created DMAchoice.org, an online tool to help you manage the promotional mail you receive. Here you can easily opt-out of unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for five years.

  1. Visit DMAchoice.org
  2. Create an account
  3. Login and select “Catalogs”
  4. Click the yellow button that says “Remove My Name”
  5. Repeat for “Magazines” and “Other”

Stop Preapproved Credit Offers

Preapproved credit offers aren’t your run-of-the-mill junk mail. If someone knows your Social Security number, like a family member, they can complete the preapproved application and receive credit in your name.

Avoid identity theft and fraud by opting-out of preapproved credit offers with OptOutPrescreen.com, a website provided by the major credit reporting bureaus.

  1. Visit OptOutPrescreen.com
  2. Click the button at the bottom that says “Click Here to Opt-In or Opt-Out”
  3. Select “Electronic Opt-Out for Five Years”
  4. Fill out the required information
  5. Repeat in five years

Stop Unsolicited Emails

The Direct Marketing Association also provides an email opt-out service on their website that prohibits businesses from sending you unsolicited promotional emails.

  1. Visit DMAchoice.org
  2. Click on “Email opt-out service”
  3. Provide your email address
  4. Verify your registration by clicking the link in your confirmation email

Stop Telemarketers

Opt-out of unsolicited phone calls by placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. While it is already illegal for telemarketers to contact your cell phone, you may still put your cell phone number on the list if you wish.

  1. Visit DoNotCall.gov
  2. Enter your phone numbers and email address here
  3. Verify your registration by clicking the link in your confirmation email

Unfortunately, there is a slight exception to this list — robocalls.

Robocalls are automated telephone calls that widely distribute prerecorded messages. You may have received one during elections on behalf of a political party with which you or someone in your household is affiliated. While this is a legal form of robocalling, it is illegal to use robocalling for unsolicited telemarketing.

If you receive an unsolicited telemarketing robocall, you should hang up and report your experience to the FTC online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

Remember, each of these methods will only prohibit unsolicited attempts to contact you. If you have previously signed up to receive marketing materials from an organization, you must contact them directly to be removed from their list.