Junk mail is a nuisance for many people who receive daily postcards, flyers, specially marked envelopes, and pre-approved credit card offers. Junk mail also presents an opportunity for ID thieves to steal recipients’ personal information.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive and the risk of identity theft.
To reduce the chance of junk mail being used for ID theft, shred what contains personal information before it is discarded and reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive by following the steps below. Depending on the type of mailing and opt out method used, it Can take anywhere from six weeks to six months to see a reduction in the junk mail
Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers
Discarded or stolen pre-approved credit card offers make it easy for identity thieves to open fraudulent accounts.
To opt-out of receiving pre-approved credit card offers for five years or permanently, call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com. You will be asked for personal information, including name, address, birth date and Social Security number. The information is used to process requests and will remain confidential.
Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is a trade group with member companies that use telephone, mail, and the Internet to pitch their products directly to consumers.
To stop receiving mailings from DMA members, go to www.DMAchoice.org.
If your mailbox is overrun with catalogs, it’s likely because you made a catalog or online purchase from a company that gave your contact information to associated marketers or catalog distributers.
Abacus is a company that warehouses and shares purchasing information about consumer and business buyers among catalog distributors and mail order companies. To remove your address from its database, complete the form at http://www.abacusoptout.com.
To stop individual catalogs, call the toll-free number provided to place an order and ask to have your address removed from the mailing list.
Offers Addressed to “Resident” or “Occupant”
With a database of 150 million U.S. household addresses, Valassis supports thousands of advertisers worldwide.
To remove your address from “resident” and “occupant” mailings, call 1-800-437-0479 or use the Valassis online form.
You can remove your address from the Valpak mailing list online through its mailing list removal request form. To get only the coupons you want, select and print coupons by geographical location at the Valkpak website.
Requests to opt out of other coupon packs can be directed to the sender on the envelope received.
Offers Mailed to Children
If a child under age 13 is being mailed advertisements or credit card offers, it could be a sign that identity theft has occurred. Parents should contact the three major credit reporting bureaus to provide details about the situation.
For more trustworthy advice to protect your identity, visit www.bbb.org