Q. Why is it that I get so much junk mail, and how can I stop it?
A. There are many ways that you can end up on a mailing list: You buy products or services, fill out warranty cards or donate to charity. Your name, address and perhaps other details go into one organization’s database and then are sold to other, similar organizations.
See also: Should you give out your ZIP code?
So if you buy from one retailer’s catalog, expect mailings from others; buy a home and you’re likely to get furniture mailings. In other cases, your name is simply taken from telephone directories and public records.
The best first step to stop most unwanted mailings is to visit www.dmachoice.org and click on “Get Started.” You’ll have to provide your name and address, of course. The website pledges these won’t be used to generate more junk mail.
Within two months, mailings should stop from many members of the Direct Marketing Association. But not from companies that you already do business with — you’ll have to contact them directly. You can also mail opt-out requests with a $1 personal check or money order to:
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
Catalogs. To end mailings of select catalogs, contact the mail-order company or select individual companies from a menu at the nonprofit site Catalog Choice.
List brokers. These companies pool personal information from phone books and public records such as real estate documents, tax files and birth certificates to sell mailing lists to all types of businesses. Write to each listed below, requesting that your name be removed from all of their mailing and telemarketing lists; you can get preprinted forms at this website.
901 West Bond
Lincoln, NE 68521
R.L. Polk & Co. / Name Deletion File
List Compilation Development
26955 Northwestern Highway
Southfield, MI 48034-4716
470 Chestnut Ridge Road
Woodcliff, NJ 07677
Acxiom: Opt out through Acxiom’s website.
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Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer issues.