Junk Mail & Opt-Out
Our economy generates an enormous amount of data. Most users of that information are from honest businesses getting and giving legitimate information. Despite the benefits of the information age, some consumers may want to limit the amount of personal information they share.
Junk mail and telemarketing calls are often results of consumers providing their name, address, phone number and other personal information, which causes their names to be placed on calling and mailing lists. The following events often result in junk mail and telemarketing calls:
- Filling out warranty and product registration cards.
- Joining or donating money to clubs, organizations, and/or charities.
- Subscribing to magazines, book clubs and music/CD clubs.
- Listing your phone number and address in the phone book. Omit your address, or be unlisted.
- Avoid entering sweepstakes and other contests if you want to stay off mailing and telemarketing lists aimed at "opportunity seekers," often called "sucker lists". The purpose of contests is to compile names and addresses that can be sold to marketers for other solicitations, such as fundraising or catalog offers. Some contests and special offers are scams, especially those that ask you for money up front or which offer get-rich-quick schemes. Remember, many prize promotions or drawings are geared to gather your personal information. Often times, you are giving them permission to call or solicit you in the future.
Marketing Opt-Out. Many organizations are offering consumers choices about how their personal information is used. For example, many feature an "opt-out" choice that limits the information shared with others or used for promotional purposes. When you "opt-out," you may cut down on the number of unsolicited telemarketing calls, promotional mail and spam emails that you receive. Look for ways to "opt-out" of mailing lists to reduce "junk" mail and unauthorized solicitations. Many mail order forms, magazines and marketers now provide a box to check if you do not want your name(s), address and shopping habits to be shared with other companies.
Financial Privacy Opt-Out. Federal privacy laws give you the right to stop (opt-out of) some sharing of your personal financial information. These laws balance your right to privacy with the financial companies' need to provide information for normal business purposes.
If you shop direct - by mail, online, telephone or home shopping TV shows - chances are the companies you are ordering could be members of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).
DMA offers the right to Opt-Out of direct marketing mailings and emails by visiting http://www.dmachoice.org/. DMAchoiceâ„¢ is an online tool developed by the DMA to help you manage your mail/emails. When you register with these services, your name will be put on a "delete" file that is updated throughout the year and made available to the direct-mail marketers. DMAchoiceâ„¢ divides direct mails into four categories (credit cards, catalogs, magazine orders, other mail offers), to cut back on mailings you are not interested in. Two to three months after signing up for these services, you should notice a decrease in the number of solicitations you receive. However, your registration will not stop mailings from organizations NOT registered with the DMA.
To sign up for these services, go to http://www.dmachoice.org/ (you will be prompted to create an user account before using the services) and choose the types of mailings or emails you would like to opt-out of receiving. Registered for these mail preference services through the site is the fastest and easiest way to create an account. Email Preference Service registration is active for five (5) years, after which time you must register again. Mail Preference Service registration is active for five (5) years, after which time you must register again.
If you would rather send your information by mail, you can download a form on the website, print it, and send it along with a check for $1 (one dollar) payable to the DMA. You can find the registration form at https://www.dmachoice.org/static/pdf/registration_form.pdf Do not send cash. Your name will remain on DMAchoice for three (3) years. Mail request to:
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
The DMA also provides a Deceased Do Not Contact Registration for family members seeking to remove the names of deceased individuals from commercial marketing lists. Additionally, a Do Not Contact List for Caretakers is available for individuals who are in the care of another family member, friend or caretaker. When registering for either of these services, the individuals name, address and email address is placed on DMA's mail and email preference service lists. (Do Not Contact List for Caretakers is effective for six (6) years, after which time you must register the individual again.)