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Friday, July 5, 2013

How to Reduce Unwanted Junk Mail

By Melissa Hincha-Ownby


junk mailDo you dread checking your mailbox because you know you will have more junk mail than personal mail? Ever since I moved into my new house, I have been inundated with junk mail. Although there doesn’t seem to be a way to completely stop unsolicited mail, there are ways to reduce the amount of junk mail that clogs your mailbox. Here are a couple suggestions to help get you started!

1. Opt-out: Do you constantly receive credit card offers, insurance pitches and mortgage refinance offers? If so, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you opt-out of prescreened credit offers. You can opt-out for a period of five years by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT or permanently, by visiting

2. Register with Direct Marketing Association (DMA): The FTC also recommends that consumers register with the DMA to opt-out of unsolicited commercial mailers. There is a $1 processing fee to use this service, but consumers that register will be placed on a ‘delete’ list for up to five years. Commercial mailers that use the DMA database will then remove your mailing address from their files. This won’t stop commercial junk mail completely, but it will significantly reduce the volume of unwanted mail you receive.

3. Find an app: In addition to the two previous services, there are several smartphone apps that can also help reduce unwanted mail. Simply search your smartphone’s app store for a program, download it and follow the necessary steps. I’ve had success doing this with a few different apps. As an added bonus, they were free and easy to use!

4. Third-party service: In addition to smartphone apps, there are several third-party services that will assist you in opting-out of catalogs, coupons and other unsolicited mailers. A quick internet search should lead you to the most reputable companies that provide these services.

What steps have you taken to reduce your unwanted junk mail?

Photo courtesy of Melissa Hincha-Ownby.

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