Recently my grandfather passed away so my grandmother has been under more frequent supervision. One of the first things our family noticed was the inordinate amount of unsolicited sales calls she gets. So we quickly signed her up on the National Do Not Call Registry (www.donotcall.gov) since it only takes about 31 days to go into effect.
The next thing we noticed was the amount of junk mail she was receiving in the mailbox. It was so copious it made it difficult to sort the real mail from the solicitations. If you’re like me, when you go to the mailbox you often feel like you’re just taking out the trash. You get those flashy “0% APR Introductory Rates” and pre-approved this-and-that.
Unfortunately a large source of identity theft comes from the solicitations you receive in the mail from credit card and insurance companies. Often crooks intercept those pieces of mail and use them against you. If you’ve ever had your identity stolen or know someone who has, it can be devastating.
After some research I found some of the best services I’ve found in a long, long time. Here’s how I helped my family take more control over our marketing preferences:
Step 1: Go to www.optoutprescreen.com
Step 2: Choose to either Opt-Out for 5 Years or Opt-Out “Permanently” (it is reversible if you hit your head someday and decide you want to receive these solicitations again)
Step 3: If you choose the 5-Year option you complete an electronic form and you are finished! Or if you choose the Permanent option you must complete an electronic form and then print a PDF, sign it and send it directly to them for confirmation. To be clear, this removes only your name from companies that use Consumer Credit Reporting Companies to compile their prospect lists. It does not remove you from those who use the Direct Mail Association (DMA) list.
Step 4: If you want to also remove yourself from the DMA list, register an account at www.dmachoice.org. You can selectively choose which catalog, magazine, credit and other offers you receive. Or opt out from all of it! Your registration is good for 5 years.
If you’re like me and feel like mail solicitations are bad for the environment and want to help protect your identity, use these quick tips to take control! Then go online and start shopping 😉