If you receive any kind of postal mail, you will have noticed that unwanted catalogs, coupons, credit card offers and other junk mail arrives daily. Most of this mail comes from companies that bought your information from data brokers. Unfortunately you have to track down these companies if you want to get off their lists. Thankfully, there are a couple of online services that can help you stop these unwanted deliveries.
Catalog Choice is a free service to opt out of catalogs, coupons, credit card offers, phone books and circulars. You can log in to create a free account and register your opt-outs online. You can search for the offending companies, and submit a stop notices to them.
The Privacy Council
Update: I was just informed that The Privacy Council is another paid service, similar to Catalog Choice. They say:
Our $6.99 monthly fee covers the removals we do for our customers every month (many of which are done by hand to ensure accuracy), as well as the research that our staff does as we search for new marketing lists to add to our removal service. In addition, we help our members with specific, often-local junk mail that bothers them, and we encourage our members to submit descriptions (or even photographs) of this local junk mail so that we can be as effective as possible in helping them fight it.
Opt Out Prescreen
Opt Out Prescreen is a website created by “Consumer Credit Reporting Companies” or Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion. The site allow you to opt out of receiving offers of credit and insurance, also known as “Firm Offer”. You may request to:
- Opt-Out of receiving Firm Offers for Five Years – (electronically through their website)
- Opt-Out of receiving Firm Offers permanently – (you must send a letter containing a Permanent Opt-Out Election form available through their website)
Background Check Websites
There are companies called “Background Check Websites” that make a business out of gathering people’s personal information from public records and marketing companies, and then reselling the information in a convenient package. They collect public records like real estate transactions, arrest records, court cases, marriages, divorces, etc. and combine it with online data gleaned from web pages.
See my article How To Delete Your Personal Info From The Internet to learn how to remove your information from these sites.
Other Ways To Opt Out
- Use DoNotMail’s fomr to generate 17 ready-to-mail requests to different direct mail companies. DoNotMail will take the data you enter and create a PDF document with all 17 letters ready to print and send. If you don’t want to enter your personal info into a random site, you can use fake data and then download the PDF document for a reference to create your own letters.
- Email your removal request to Abacus Direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Remove your name from ADVO Inc. by calling 1-888-241-6760 or completing the form at www.advo.com/consumersupport.html
- Fill out the form on the Direct Marketing Association’s website at www.dmaconsumers.org/cgi/offmailing
- Email your removal request to Publishers Clearinghouse at email@example.com
- Get off Val-Pak’s list by filing out the form at http://www.coxtarget.com/mailsuppression/s/DisplayMailSuppressionForm
- To remove yourself from Acxiom’s list, you must request a mail-in opt-out form by calling 1-877-774-2094.