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How to reduce unwanted email and other junk mail

Junk Mail

How to reduce unwanted email and other junk mail

Tired of a mailbox full of junk mail and targeted ad email? Just as consumers use a variety of ways to find information, businesses use different media to market themselves to potential customers. You may use some companies and want their information, and not others. Fortunately, you have the ability to influence and customize which businesses contact you.

Direct mail

The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service lets you opt-out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail for five years. Register at www.dmachoice.org, or mail your request to: DMAchoice, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY, 10512. This will not stop mailings from companies that do not use this service, Bulk Mail or Current Resident Mail, but it will reduce your junk mailings by quite a bit.

If you do not wish to receive prescreened credit card offers, you can opt-out at www.optoutprescreen.com, or (800) OPT-OUT. You will have the choice of opting out for five years or permanently. To opt-out permanently, you must begin the process at the website, then return a signed Permanent Opt-out Election form, which you will be sent when you register.

Online ads

Online marketers can track your Internet usage, gather data about you and tailor ads to you based on that information.

The Network Advertising Initiative has an online opt-out tool that lets you select member companies from which you wish to stop receiving ads. Visit www.networkadvertising.org. It won’t eliminate all of them, but you should see fewer ads. (If you go to the bottom of the list, you have the ability to quickly “Select All.”)

The Google Ad Preferences site lets you opt-out of all ad categories, or you can add or remove selected categories at www.google.com/ads/preferences.

Yahoo has an Ad Interest Manager that lets you do pretty much the same thing. Visit the Privacy section at www.yahoo.com.

Phone books

Research shows 7 out of 10 U.S. adults use Yellow Pages directories each year, but if you choose to get your local business information elsewhere, you can adjust or stop your print deliveries. Visit the National Yellow Pages Consumer Choice and Opt-out Site at www.yellowpagesoptout.com to select which directories you wish to receive, as well as to learn more about the industry’s sustainable production efforts and how you can reuse and recycle old directories.


The DMA also has an Email Preference Service that lets you opt-out of receiving unsolicited commercial email from DMA members for six years. Register at www.dmachoice.org.

Make sure your email spam filters are activated. Send the filtered email to a specific folder so you can check to make sure that non-junk emails don’t get automatically deleted.

—Family Features.com

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