Junk Mail & Telemarketing
Posted on 07/1/2009 by Daniela Baumgarthuber
What is Junk Mail & Telemarketing?
Junk mail, or advertising mail, issued by businesses include advertising circulars, catalogues, CDs, preapproved credit cards and other commercial merchandising materials. Its sole purpose is to gain customers by sending offers through either email or direct mail. Telemarketing, which is a variant of junk mail, is a method of direct marketing in which a sales representative solicits prospective customers over the phone. Although these two types of unsolicited marketing strategies may seem harmless, they actually place individuals at risk for identity theft:
- Pre approved credit offers allow thieves to open fraudulent credit lines
- Junk mail allow thieves to obtain personal information, like social security and account numbers
- Online spam mail can unleash viruses, allowing hackers to access confidential information
It is important to reduce these risks as much as possible by opting out of as many unsolicited offers as possible.
How to Stop Junk Mail & Telemarketers
To stop unsolicited emails, direct mail and phone calls, individuals can utilize services designed to eliminate, or at least reduce, the amount of junk mail they receive. Below is a list of companies and/or organizations that will help individuals to opt out of unsolicited offers free of charge, although Direct Marketing Association charges $1.00 per request.
Experian, TransUnion and Equifax's Opt-Out Option
All three credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, offer the option of opting out of all credit-related offers, including emails and phone offers, for a minimum of two years or permanently. If the permanent opt-out option is chosen, then individuals will need to fill out and return an additional form through the mail. Keep in mind that there is always an option of opting-in if individuals would like to receive offers again.
Opt-out number: 888-567-8688
Experian also offers an additional service that removes individuals' names from non-credit offers from their lists. This includes coupons, samples, catalogues and other spam mail.
Experian's opt-out number: 402-458-5247
List of brokers
Individuals can also opt out of receiving unsolicited offers by contacting the companies that sell mailing lists to businesses. In order for an individual's name to be removed from their lists, individuals must write to them directly, fill out an online form, or go through a government agency. It will generally take a few months to see a reduction in the amount of offers received. Below is a list of their names and addresses:
1) Direct Marketing Association
Direct Marketing Association, or DMA, is a direct marketing organization that provides over 3,400 companies, including half of the Fortune 100 companies, with advertising lists. However, they also provide these companies with opt-out lists for individuals who do not wish to be on any of DMA's marketing lists. It generally takes three to six months before being removed from their lists once a request has been processed. Individuals' names will be kept off DMA's lists for five years.
In order to be removed from DMA's direct advertising lists, individuals must either send a request through the mail, or through their online mailing list form. DMA charges $1.00 per request. Contact Information:Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service P.O. Box 282 Carmel, NY 10512
To be removed from DMA's telemarketing lists, individuals are instructed to go through the Federal Government's national Do Not Call directory, where they will be prompted to fill out an online form.
If individuals would like to be removed from DMA's email lists, then DMA provides a free online form to fill out:
2) Dun and Bradstreet
Dun and Bradstreet, voted by Fortune Magazine as one of America's most admired companies, provides businesses and organizations with mailing lists, market research, industry statistics, telemarketing lists and new product development. For individuals who would like to be taken off their advertising lists, please write to:Dun & Bradstreet Customer Service 899 Eaton Ave. Bethlehem, PA 18025
3) Metromail Corporation
Metromail Corporation is a leading provider of direct marketing, database marketing, and reference products. It provides businesses and organizations that engage in direct mail, telephone, and target marketing with information and software services. For those who would like to be taken off their lists, please write to:Metromail Corporation List Maintenance 901 West Bond Lincoln, NE 68521
4) R.L. Polk & Co.
R.L. Polk & Co. is the leading provider of automotive information and marketing. They collect and interpret global data as well as provide automotive business expertise. Specifically, R.L. Polk & Co. provides companies, such as car manufacturers and dealers, with marketing plans and lists. To be taken off their advertising lists, please write to:R.L. Polk & Co. List Compilation Development 26955 Northwestern Hwy Southfield, MI 48034-4716
5) Database America
Database America, one of the largest marketing list resellers in the U.S., provides companies with business and consumer lists as well as marketing services and data processing. To be taken off their marketing lists, write to:Database America Compilation Department 470 Chestnut Ridge Road Woodcliff, NJ 07677
In addition to calling the various credit bureaus, brokers and consumer associations, individuals can also confront telemarketers and incoming mail directly. Below contains tips on what to do:
- 1) When a telemarketer calls, all that needed to be said is, "put me on your do not call list," and then they will not solicit again. Federal law requires that telemarketing companies keep a "do not call list," and that they obey that list.
- 2) If individuals receive any incoming, unsolicited mail, then they should contact those companies and/or organizations directly, requesting that their names be taken off the lists. Individuals also have the option of refusing any incoming mail, by writing "refused - return to sender" on it, and handing it back to a postal worker.
- 3) Individuals can opt-out of unsolicited offers from companies they do business with and their affiliate companies by reading those companies' privacy policies, and following the instructions accordingly.
Identity Theft Protection Companies that Provide Spam Mail Reduction
- 1) LifeLock, one of the leading companies in identity theft protection, provides immediate mail list removal for junk mail, online spam, and pre-approved credit card offers. Their plans start at $9.00/month. Exclusive Savings Link
- 2) TrustedID, a newer identity theft protection company, removes customers' names from the most frequently used marketing lists and deletes all pre-approved credit card offers. Their plans start at $7.42/month. Exclusive Savings Link
- 3) Equifax ID Patrol, an identity protection service offered by Equifax credit bureau, also offers spam mail reduction, junk mail removal and pre-approved credit card offers deletion. Their plans start at $14.95/month. Exclusive Savings Link
- 4) IdentityTruth, another leading identity protection company, removes customers from major junk mail lists as well as credit card offers. Their packages start at $9.99/month. Exclusive Savings Link