Information about you and your buying habits is tremendously valuable to direct marketers. That’s why every time you use a store loyalty card, subscribe to a magazine, sign up for a credit card or buy something from a catalog, it’s likely that your personal information will be shared with one or more companies who collect marketing data.
If you’re tired of getting junk mail, preapproved credit card applications and spam, there are a few resources that can help you reduce the number of solicitations you receive.
Reduce junk mail. If you want to be removed from as many national mailing lists as possible, the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service allows consumers to opt out of receiving most junk mail for a period of five years. You can sign up for free at www.dmachoice.org. Note: Companies that do not participate in the DMA must be contacted directly– this includes magazines and professional organizations.
Stop credit card offers. Major credit bureaus compile lists of consumer characteristics and sell them to various bidders. While they won’t disclose specific financial information, they do create categorical lists based on salary range, payment record, demographics and other general information. Consumers who receive prescreened or preapproved credit offers can take their name off those lists by opting out. Consumers who are tired of receiving these offers can either opt out for five years or indefinitely at www.optoutprescreen.com.
Ban spam. Unsolicited commercial email (a.k.a "spam") can be annoying, time consuming and sometimes damaging.
There are a few ways to limit unwanted e mail:
- NEVER reply to a spam email
- Always blind copy (bcc) your contacts on mass emails to protect their privacy
- Protect your computer with antivirus software to prevent malware and spyware from harvesting your personal information
- Use an email filter. Most email services provide a spam filter to channel unwanted email
- Don’t post your email address in public forums as chat rooms, newsgroup postings, websites or online service directories
- Uncheck preselected boxes before you submit online forms; a check mark often means you are consenting to receive promotional emails or have your information shared with third parties
Learn more from the Federal Trade Commission
Information For Businesses